Saturday, November 13, 2010

Am I..."Anti Chaos Daemons"?

by Spaguatyrine

I play with 4 Chaos Daemon players in my home store alone and am I anti Daemon....? The answer is absolutely YES!

At Games 2 Die 4 it is almost a regular Saturday to see 3 daemon armies on the tables playing at once. I am used to playing a particular build which is really tough to deal with for most players. We like to travel together for tournaments around the area and it never seems to amaze me how many people still don't realize how nasty Daemons can be. In the past 4 tournaments I have been to which include 3 single player tournaments and 1 doubles tournament, Daemons have placed in the top 3 every time! In the most recent 28 player tournament Daemons placed tied for 1st with me and 3rd. The internet will tell you the Chaos Daemon Army is not competitive, and that all you have to do is take down the big guys with lots of shooting. Well I am here to throw a big pile of poo on that concept. Obviously the internet doesn't play the fatecrusher build that I have to deal with on a regular basis.

What is fatecrusher?

Fateweaver-Has a 3+ Invol save and allows all units within 6" to re-roll all saves.

2 to 3 units of bloodcrushers that are all given different wargear to allow for maximum wound allocation. 3+ Armor/5+ Invol

A Daemon Prince, Soul Grinder, etc usually run in pairs to make them more effective. I see more Daemon Princes.

Either fast attack fiends, screemers, or seekers.

Troops that can change from Horrors to Plague Bearers to bloodletters depending on the need. Basically the player either chooses near impossible to kill objective holders like the plague bearers, stupidly incredible close combat units like bloodletters, or awesome shooty pink horrors.

Looking at this list or combinations of such and a normal person would think, "No big deal" Right?


In our game of 40K things get shot and die, or stabbed and die. Not with Fateweaver. Fateweaver is exactly what his name suggests. He takes the game that 97% of us play and turns it upside down on it's head. He changes the normal rules of how the game of 40K is played. He changes the math. Math that should work with fateweaver seldom do. A blood crusher who takes 3 crack missles to the face should have to take an average of 2 5+ involuntary saves. He should fail 1 or both and die in 1 or 2 turns. With fateweaver he has nearly a 75% chance to not even take a wound. Now my math may not be exact, and Dodger3 corrects me everytime on this, but this is not normal. Daemon's were made to wipe out Space Marine armies. I have seen really good players get wiped to the man in 3 turns and stand at the table not knowing what hit them. I got wiped my first game as a strong player and the whiplash still hurts to this day.

Yes I know:
Fateweaver can die by 1 bolter on turn 1. But the chance of that is nearly impossible. As Dodger3 how explained it takes 27 wounds to kill Fateweaver on average. That is 27 wounds against a Toughness 5 monstrous creature. Really? Stupid! If he does take an unsaved wound he has to pass a leadership test or fly away.

It is a boring list. Who cares, when Dodger3 can loose Fateweaver on turn 1 and still own most other players it still curb stomps most people. Now one could say Dodger3 is a phenomenon, but I have seen all 4 of the Daemon players do the same thing to unexpecting players.

Chaos Daemons shouldn't mix thier Gods: Again who cares if it helps them win.

Chaos Daemons don't have long range shooting:They don't have to, they drop next to you and if you have the Lord of Change or Fateweaver of both, they can split fire to 3, count it, 3 different targets and assault any of the three. They can also turn your Marneus Calgar into a Chaos Spawn on a 5 or 6.

Getting back to this article, I picked up Daemonhunters to combat the aweful Chaos Daemons and cannot wait to get my hands on the new Codex whenever it comes out. I will be publishing a few tricks I have learned to help in the fight against Chaos Daemons. These are just suggestions from my point of view from fighting Daemon's on a regular basis mostly from mistakes I have made.

#1. Undestanding Daemon deployment. The Daemon player must split their army into 2 groups and roll randomly to determine which half they get. On a 3+ they get their preferred half. Really think about this. Even if the Daemon player goes first, he can deploy his army after you deploy yours and gets to choose who has the best ability to criple your army on his first drop. (A little overpowered all by itself)

#2. Choosing to let the Daemon Player go 1st in any game with Dawn of War deployment is a MUST!!!

This accomplishes 2 things. You of course should not deploy anything and bring all your units in on your first turn and allow the Daemon Player to choose how to split their army as indicated above on no information which is what normal armies do, and GET 1 LESS ROUND OF SHOOTING AND ASSAULT. Essetially the Dawn of War can flip the strategy back in your favor for deployment.

#3. When choosing what table quarter, side of the table etc, don't always take the side that gives you the most cover, but the area that gives him the least amount of cover. I.E. make him move through open ground to get to you. Fateweaver also allows allows cover saves to be re-rolled.

#4. If you want to get rid of Fateweaver, concentrate or dedicate a large amount of shooting to do so in one turn or until he is done. Like Dodger3 says, 27 wounds should do it. The more he has to roll, the more he will fly away or just die. Isolating Fateweaver can also be usefull as the bloodcrushers need him for the first 2 rounds to get where they are going and then they can move on using cover saves and such.

#5 Bunching up in one big blob is not always the best tactic. Mech armies can be very troublesome if you keep moving. Daemons do have a hard time catching fast moving armies if they don't stop you on the drop. Don't be afraid to run to fight for another turn or so.

Obviously there are many more Anti-Daemon Tactics that we will go into in the future as well as other strategies to deal with difficult army builds. How can we rise together to fight the Chaos Daemon tide?

What are your thoughts?


  1. I played 2 games against Dodger3's Daemons a few weeks back and lost them both. Though I did do much better in the second game as I figured a few things out.

    The secret seems to be to tank-shock the hell out of Fateweaver. He's only S5, so Death-Or-Glory is a bad bet against a Rhino and suicide against a Chimera. Which means you can push him (and his 6" re-roll bubble) away from the units he wants to protect with one or two shocks. Then you can kill that unit of Bloodcrushers with the icon and spoil his day.

    You could also bring along an Elite Inquisitor with a Psycannon and Sanctuary for just 65 points for some "Nayh nayh, can't touch me but I can kill you!" fun.

  2. Lol, well tank shocking and psycannons are all grand for some armies. ::glare:: others, get rolled when they hit our lines. Sigh, my poor nids.... didn't stand a chance.

    But the new GK book should help stall the Deamonic tide.

    Though my Tyranids will be no less better off.

  3. Just want to throw out that, at least what I've seen on the interwebs, the Fatecrusher is the Leafblower of the codex. Deamons as a rule offer a challenging play experience, but you can always pull out this gimmick if you want to go to a hardcore tourney.

    My answer to it, though, would be probably two things.

    The first, as you said, is speed. Deamons aren't a fast army. Use this against them. With DE in particular, any mech force not-in-particular, or just good run rolls (which yeah, they can match, but no assaulting) you can keep them on the run and deal with them as you wish.

    Secondly, and this goes hand in hand - the power that makes this army work has a 6" range. Combined with the lack of speed (Ol' Fatey can fly, but then he's leaving things out of his bubble) it seems that you could manipulate this to your advantage.

    The build still has the generic Deamon weaknesses - most units being assault-only, giving you a turn to say hello/run after they DS in, and the aforementioned speed of said assault units (with some exceptions, of course).

    And maybe I'm spoiled with all the fancy new poisoned weapons, but 27 wounds doesn't scare me. That means, in theory, I need to get my warriors (3 units) in range and he's gone. Of course, then my warriors are out in front of a deamon horde, so further tactics are required to prevent a retaliatory slaughter, but that'll happen.

    I think the biggest downfall to this build is that, if you want to make use of it (ie, be within 6" of Fateweaver), you become predictable. That's a pretty small bubble to pack everything in. Nid players will recognize this, especially if you run Nodes instead of just a Web of synapse. You have groups that can move around and do things, but those groups have to stay together. And we have double the range. It does pigeonhole you a bit.

    This all said, I don't think I've ever played against a really competent Deamons player. None of this is meant to say that the army is made of fail, but I think like anything else it has its Achilles heel.

  4. Most informative, spot on (as a daemon player myself)

  5. Like you said in the article, mech is your best friend against this list.

    I split my force into two parts and try to lure part of the army away from Fateweaver while I use the "back up and shoot" method.

    My last game against this army used Spearhead deployment, and the Daemon player had to chase me along the long board edge, taking shots from Vindicators, a Land Raider Crusader, and shooty Terminators all the way.

  6. The 4-5 times I've faced Fatecrusher builds, I've circled my Inquisitorial wagons up, and when Fateweaver shows his face, pelted him with everything I've got. I usually end up wishing I'd put Psycannon bolts on my WH inquisitor, but I take him down.
    but that's usually 32+ bolter shots, a half dozen meltas, and a few Hflamers, plus Multilasers.

    I'm actually one of the few armies that can pump out a whole lot of shots, and stay in my ring of cans.

    It's one of the most annoying lists for me to play against though. Throw in some screamers and flamers of tzneetch, and some changelings, and I'll grumble while I work.

    I find it annoying enough that a single psycannon toting elite inquisitor's almost found his way into my, and Sandwyrm's lists for the Team tourney. (which actually probably would have helped us in general anyway)

  7. I will throw in another wrench into the mix.

    Yes Foodie, there needs to be a 6" bubble, but a Daemon player has a lot more speed than people think. If he adds:

    Fiends and Seekers into their list. Fiends and Seekers have a 12" charge ability with 5 and 6 attacks each model on the charge and Rending. That is speed!

    Screamers, Daemon Princes, & Bloodthirsters. All of these creatures fly and can hop transports to wipe out troops and vehicles.

    A Lord of Change to go with Fateweaver. This is one of the most effective and disgusting combo's in the game of 40K.

    So.. yes they need a 6" bubble.... for 1 or 2 turns only. By then it will be over.

    @Farmpunk I vowed after the doubles tournament to always bring something for daemons, but I feel I might loose that ability with the new codex coming out with my Space Wolves or Guard. Fortunately Space Wolves have good anti Daemon abilities with Jaws of the World Wolf, Tempests Wrath, Murderous Hurricane, and Runic weapons.

    All of this being said, who can explain if the Daemon Codex is just a gimmick army how they have such a high winning percentage in tournaments.........

    My theory is that they are overpowered than people will admit.

  8. I think that non-Fatecrusher Daemons have real problems with Mech in the same way that Orks do. There are solutions but, like Orks, they require some luck to pull off.

    Fatecrusher is mean though. I also think the $$$ expense of the army is something of an advantage. In that they're rare enough that most people haven't ever encountered Daemons before. So they don't have the experience required to beat them when they pop up at a tourney.

  9. "Chaos Daemons shouldn't mix thier Gods: Again who cares if it helps them win."

    This strikes me as unfairly bitter.

    I run mono-God (Khorne) and, frankly, the codex is meant to be run with multi-God lists. Mixing gods isn't an expression of a WAAC mentality: it's using the tools in the book.

    Running mono-God is, quite literally, like running nothing but Assault Marines. Sure, you can do it, and it can be fun, but it's such a far cry from competitive it can be extremely unfun. At this point, I don't even think I should put my models down against an IG or DE player: we know who's winning before the first die roll.

  10. I think a major problem with the Daemons codex is the randomness of it. You can't really rely on it to do what you want every time, so it isn't competitive.

    Maybe you'll win every game that you get your preferred drop, but you can't guarantee that. Or even if you do get it, you can't guarantee that it will scatter how you want. And then there are reserve rolls. It just isn't reliable. Sure they can be quite powerful, but sometimes you just won't win a game because of bad reserve rolls.

    Do you want a list that will win ever time 50% of the time? Or a list that can win 80% of the time regardless?

  11. @Zheilt,

    With Fatecrusher even getting flipped doesn't often matter. Yes it hurts, but the list still has the ability to be very hard to deal with.

    The non preferred side is often 4 bloodcrushers, plague bearers, and a fast attack choice, along with horrors. I do agree flipping a Daemon player can hurt them, but it is not crippling.

    Sandwyrm has a great point. Bloodcrushers cost $53 per 3. To have 12 bloodcrushers that is $212 and that is just a part of the army.

    I get the same thing with my Thunderwolf Calvary. They are very expensive to buy. That is why I have converted 9 of the 10 I have. And they really do look like Thunderwolves, not chaos jugs or bears, or whatever.

    All great comments!

  12. Daemons are a great army. Plenty of hard hitting power in the army.

    Inexperience in the army is what most people tend to see that makes them think the army is not as solid as it really is.

    An experienced player doesn't need any of the fatecrusher elements to make a competitive army, though these are the easiest elements of the book to use.

    I personally though have never had an issue with the army, I've had a couple very rough games but never have I been walked over by them. Not to brag but I've also never lost to them.

    Of their downsides, certain builds do suffer much the same as orks do against vehicles but they have more solutions for vehicles than orks do. Their deep strikeing ability does make up alot for their lack of speed but as mentioned there are certain units that are faster than expected. Flamers are jump infantry, same for screamers. they have several beast units that can charge 12" as well.

    Just for those who still think them a weak army. Beware, they are a force to be reckoned with.

    So says Da Archfiend of Dezdemon


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