Monday, February 15, 2016

On Daemon Formations



There are a lot of upcoming changes for daemons, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts.

Here is a link to the two sections of screenshots:
One
Two


Daemon Incursion: 
1+ Core Formations
0-4 Command Formations
1+ Auxiliary Formations

This is your decurion style detachment.  Taking this makes it so any objective you control counts as being controlled by you for the rest of the game, you can and or subtract one to your roll on the warp storm table, and you can re-roll daemonic instability.

The second two make the random elements that plague daemons a bit more stable.  Continuing to control any previously controlled objective is a game changer.  The caveat is that I have not seen any way to gain objective secured.  You aren't really able to drop in and 'steal' objectives, but this does mean that you don't have to babysit your objectives.  Units that have scout/infiltrate can grab objectives early, and move on.  You can deep strike units on objectives and then actually move to engage the enemy.  No more leaving 10 bloodletters in the middle of nowhere.


Murderhoard:
Herald of Khorne or Skulltaker
8 units (in any combination) of Bloodletters, Flesh Hounds, and Blood Crushers

Your herald for this formation extends the benefits of any locus to benefit any unit (from this formation) within 12".  Also, when a unit from this formation is within 6" of another unit from this formation both units get +1 attack.

This core formation wins out over all of the others, not because of the bonuses, but because of the units included.  Flesh hounds are amazing, and blood crushers running with icons for deep strike accuracy is solid.  All three options work well together.


Tallyband:
Herald of Nurgle or Epidemius
7 units (in any combination) of Plaguebearers and Nurglings

Your herald for this formation extends the benefits of any locus to benefit any unit (from this formation) within 12".  Enemy units cannot fire overwatch against units in a tallyband.  At the start of each assault phase enemy units must pass a leadership check or reduce their strength and toughness by 1.

The benefits of this formation are awesome, but it is hard to get excited about plaguebearers and nurglings.  Large blocks for feel no pain daemons are going to be difficult to remove.  The wording of the last benefit makes me think that it should work on space marines.


Warpflame Host:
Herald of Tzeentch or Changeling
9 units (in any combination) of Pink Horrors, Flamers, and Exalted Flamers

Your herald for this formation extends the benefits of any locus to benefit any unit (from this formation) within 12".  Add one to the strength of all Tzeentch flame weapons and psychic powers.

The benefits here are incredible.  Combined with the exalted locus of conjuration you can get strength 7 warpfire.  With access to divination, basic horrors could put out some serious hurt to anything other than a landraider.


Flayertroupe:
Herald of Slaanesh, or Masque
6 Units (in any combination) of Daemonettes and Fiends

Your herald for this formation extends the benefits of any locus to benefit any unit (from this formation) within 12".  Enemy units in combat with units from this formation reduce their weapon skill and initiative by 1.

The weapon skill reduction is significant because it means that all units that are WS3 are going to be hitting your daemonettes on a 5+ and all units that are WS4 are going to be hitting your herald on a 5+.  Getting to combat is still going to be an issue, but this will make you more survivable once you get there.

Infernal Tetrad:
Four Daemon Princes (each of a different daemonic allignment)

The daemon princes gain benefits as more of them are on the battlefield.  When there are 4 they gain +1 toughness, with 3 +1 Strength, with 2 re-roll failed to hit rolls of 1, but with 1 there is no benefit.  If one of the daemon princes is your warlord then ALL of the princes get the warlord trait, even if they roll of the warlord traits of a different god.

This isn't that exciting at first, but I am fairly certain that there is a way to exploit the multiple warlord traits.  One possible exploit would be to roll on the tzeentch warlord traits and hope for the "+1 to invulnerable save for all daemons of tzeentch within 9 inches"  Stacking several of them on top of each other would give your tzeentch daemon prince a 2++ as well as any other tzeentch daemons.

If you can think of any other good combinations with this formation leave a comment.


Gorethunder Battery:
Herald of Khorne on a blood throne
3 Skull Cannons

Your herald for this formation extends the benefits of any locus to benefit any unit (from this formation) within 12".  When firing the three skull cannons have the option of shooting a single apocalypse blast rather than three large blasts.

I haven't use Skull cannons before, but this seems useful.  It would be fairly easy to his several units with an apocalypse blast.  Any fans of Skull cannons out there?


Burning Skyhost:
Herald of Tzeentch (on a disk or chariot)
9 units (in any combination) of Screamers or Burning Chariots

Your herald for this formation extends the benefits of any locus to benefit any unit (from this formation) within 12".  Chariots can make D6 S5 AP 4 hits against unengaged units that the chariot moves flat out over.  Screamers' slashing attacks cause D3+1 hits rather than just D3.  Both of these attacks have the soul blaze and warpflame special rules.

This doesn't end up being that exciting.  None of the loci for the herald are good for the screamers, and the chariots are too fragile to be much use.


Rotswarm:
Herald of Nurgle
7 units (in any combination) of Beasts of Nurgle or Plague Drones

Your herald for this formation extends the benefits of any locus to benefit any unit (from this formation) within 12".  All units gain hammer of wrath, which has 4+ poison.  If the herald passes a leadership check, then one unit can re-roll failed charges and gets +3 attacks this turn.  If the check is failed then the unit has to charge the nearest enemy.

This could be really good, but it is going to be hard to pull off.  The herald can't go as fast as all of the other units in this formation, and he is going to be dragging behind.  With that being said, seven units of beasts/drones with feel no pain would be hell to deal with.


Grand Cavalcade:
Herald of Slaanesh (on a steed or chariot)
6 units (in any combination of) Seekers, Hellflayer, Seeker Cavalade

Your herald for this formation extends the benefits of any locus to benefit any unit (from this formation) within 12".  All units get +6 to their run/flat out moves.  Chariots do an additional D6 S4 hammer of wrath hits.

Seekers moving 12 in the movement phase and 12+D6 in the shooting phase is absolutely insane.  As always they will melt under pretty much any kind of firepower, but this would be fun to try.


Forgehost:
3 Soulgrinders

Each time a Soulgrinder inflicts casualties in the shooting or assault phase all others re-roll hits and wounds until the end of the phase.

Give one baleful torrent or phlegm bombardment and give the other two warp gaze.  Now you have (semi) effective ranged anti-tank weapons.



Overall Thoughts:
I am very happy that Daemons got this update, and that the update to include formations is also becoming separated from updating the codices.  The power difference between non-formation and formation armies is significant, and this helps lessen it.  There are a few formations that are particularly strong and being able to use them as an ally to a combined arms army would likely be very powerful.

Overall though, the formations are disappointing.  The Daemon Incursion forces you to play a horde style army that doesn't mix and match between the different gods.  I have at least 2000 points of daemons and I am not even close to being able to field any of the core formations.  The sheer volume of units required forces you to not only play a horde style army, but also forces you to play with multiple small units rather than large units.

More disappointing is that these formations just don't feel fun.  Sure, the benefits are useful, and the extension of a herald's locus makes a lot of sense from a fluff standpoint, but these formations are just encouraging unit spam.  Unit spam can be effective, but it is generally boring.  Even in playing a horde style army you are going to want to bring diverse units.  Limiting yourself to one type of troop isn't interesting for you or your opponent.

47 comments:

  1. Dang. I might have to buy myself one of the "Start Collecting: Daemons of Khorne" kits at this rate. I think I have 40 Bloodletters and 20 hounds, but no Bloodcrushers or heralds yet (I only got the letters and hounds for KDK). Don't have quite enough to take 8 units yet. These formations look really cool!

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    1. I will say, I do agree with your last part about being spammy, though. I have at least 3k points of Daemons (probably more) and I can maybe field one of these formations. Almost all of them require 6-9 units of the exact same thing... I really wish that was three or four. I could do without spamming 9 choices of the same troop just for one bonus.

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    2. If these formations were 3-4 units, I would be all about them. The Tzeentch formation especially would work really well with Chaos Marines.

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    3. At least the nurgle core is only 360 points. TBH 7 units that infiltrate and corrupt objectives while hiding in ruins with shrouded that then can charge units causing them to be unable to overwatch (HAHA DIE DSCYTHES DIE) to either tarpit or allow your important killy unit to go in and finish the job sounds fantastic. You can also give all these little guys FnP or... possibly even better the loci where 6's give 2+ poison. Have you seen how many attacks these little nurglings get??? mwoiahahaha.

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  2. I believe that you missed some very good elements. I have tried a game against a friend that plays Daemon and it was a hard and fun game. The core of his army was the
    Warpflame Host:
    Herald of Tzeentch
    9 units of Exalted Flamers
    + daemons of tzeench, and pink horrors for 18 Warp dice.
    All 9 exalted were in reserve, then appeared and shot their d3 s10 vp2 or their flame. This is rally good against, for instance the scaring eldar jetbikes (!) vehicles, troops.... almost everything that do not relay on an invulnerable save...
    with the daemons and pink horrors summing other pink horrors and exalted, or with the daemons shooting the s D power of changeling, yes, tis is a very scary list. the downside are kill points (I did 15 KP at the end of the 1st game)

    I am a huge fan of the skull cannons in a assaulted oriented army so I think that this formation + the Murderhoard:
    Herald of Khorne or Skulltaker can be really great.

    Soulgrinder are really really good. Maybe it's not too difficoult to handle a soulgrinder, but if you can field 3 of them without paying any taxes, this is really really good.

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    1. Exalted Flamers are cheap enough, where they could make good suicide units. Some conversions would be required, but it would probably be easier to field instead of 90+ horrors.

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    2. A few units of Horrors are good as warp batteries. I usually take them in squads of 11 (or 16 if it works out). Maybe take 3-4 squads of 11 horrors to sit on objectives and give you free warp charges and fill the rest with flamers. The formation certainly seems really awesome if you have the units for it.
      And yeah, Skull Cannons are great (especially for assault armies). Taking that formation + the main Khorne one would be a good backbone to an army that you could complement with a CAD from the normal Daemons codex to fill out the ancillary units. Or just take the three Soul Grinders to go with them since, in my experience, Soul Grinders are pretty strong all-around.

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    3. Hmmmm, thinking more about skull cannons. I am just starting my Daemonkin army, and I really don't like the model. Perhaps some conversions are in order.

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    4. Really? Personally I like it. I haven't used them much but my friend also has a Daemons army and he uses them. They seem to always work pretty well. I wish I had some especially as an option to drop down mid-battle using blood points.

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    5. This could also be the paint scheme used by GW. There have been plenty of times that models look better in non-traditional paint schemes.

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    6. Exalted Flamers on foot don't get Relentless and only have Heavy weapons. They don't get to use the torrent on drop and the D3 lascannon thingie must snap shot.

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    7. Does being summoned count as having moved? I'm assuming yes since the demons use the rules for arriving by deep strike?

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    8. OMG I've been fooled! thank you "unknown February 16"!!

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    9. Beau: Yes, dummoned daemons and other DS units absolutely count as moved.

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  3. The more I think about it... the less I like the Skull Cannon formation unless you're playing a giant game. The Herald on Blood Throne is a 130 point (minimum) tax that can't justify his points cost in CC (mostly because he'll just die before he gets there) and doesn't synergize well with the Skull Cannons. Khorne's loci are useless for them. I'd rather just get a fourth skull cannon than force myself to take that formation for the Apoc template. With that being said... I'd much rather take the Skull Grinder formation as my secondary formation in the overall detachment. Something like this in a 1750 game:
    Murderhoard
    Herald (Greater Locus, Lesser reward [Axe of Khorne], Bloodcrusher)
    Flesh hounds x 10
    Flesh hounds x 10
    Bloodcrushers x 5 (Blood banner, Blood hunter)
    Bloodletters x 10
    Bloodletters x 10
    bloodletters x 10 (instrument)
    Bloodletters x 12 (icon of Chaos)
    Bloodletters x 12
    Forgehost
    Soul Grinder (Phlegm)
    Soul Grinder (Warp Gaze)
    Soul Grinder (Warp Gaze)
    Keep a couple of the Bloodletters in reserves if you want and you'll have an instrument to pull one squad in free with two icons on the board to drop them near. The Blood banner ensures the crushers will get their on the first try. I'm still concerned these formations are way too big for a small game and you don't have enough viable threats on the board. The Murderhoard alone is 1200 points and I'm afraid my opponent will just focus the crushers and kill them before they can unleash pain. Granted... if they get to close combat they should have the locus for rage and +1 attack from the formation bonus. Soul Grinders are good anti-armor support and anti-air.

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    1. MSU fleshhounds are the way to go with the Murderhorde. Crushers and letters not so much... The dogs have 2 wounds, 12" movement and scout. A single big dog unit for the the Jugger Herald of course.

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    2. I only did it that way because I don't have a million flesh hounds unfortunately... That's what I could make with the forces I have (although I would need to buy a Daemons of Khorne starter kit to fill it out). I would love to have 40-80 flesh hounds so I could only use them, but I don't.

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    3. How big would you go on the flesh hound squads? In my experience 5 man squads never seem to do anything, you need at least 10. But I guess this is the first time you would be able to spam 8 units of them easily with a single formation.

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    4. I think Goatboy's list looked pretty solid with
      Juggerherald with weap and loci
      20 hounds
      5 hounds
      5 hounds
      5 hounds
      5 hounds
      5 hounds
      5 hounds
      5 hounds
      karanak
      Dthirster
      Dthirster

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    5. Agree with beau (and by extension, Goatboy). To make the formation work you need a big dog unit, but the other 7 units need to be small so you can afford something else. You can't win all matchups with just dogs, so you need to get something else as well. Dunno if you really should go with the thirsters though. Maybe something that shoots. Like 3 flyrants ;)

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    6. For the price of two Dthirsters you could get yourself the Skull cannon formation or the Soul Grinder formation and still have some leftover points. I'd lean toward the grinders since anti-tank is probably more necessary than anti-horde in this list. Give one phlegm bombardment or the flamer and the other two Warp Gaze and you'd have decent anti-tank.

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    7. That seems like a more reliable option. At the very least you will be a able to (hopefully) open up some transports before the hounds are ready to charge.

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  4. So gonna be trying out this list 1500 points against an Eldar/DE brotherhood on Sunday

    Herald of Nurgle ML1 Locus fecundity (FnP)
    7 units of nurglings
    Herald of Nurgle ML1 Locus fecundity
    7 units of Beasts of Nurgle
    Nurgle DP with wings and Balesword ML3
    Nurgle DP with wings and Balesword ML3

    My goal is to infiltrate and tarpit for the beasts and DP's to come in and clean up the combats... take out his seer council asap so I can summon, tie up all his Dscythes with nurglings, the wraithknight could be tough... I'll try to feed it summons and/or pray the dice gods are on my side and have both my DP's Smash attack it at the same time (I would need to roll 3, 2, then 5-6 twice).

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    1. I'm interested to hear how this turns out.

      If I am reading this right, your chances of both smash attacks going through are 1/81.

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    2. If you're going with DP's anyhow, get the -1 LD bell on a herald and have the DP's get Psychic Shriek. You're much more likely to kill the WK with those than with the Smashes.

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    3. Well the game did not go well at all even though my buddy brought a "Nice" Eldar list. All Venoms and scatbikes, only 1 farseer, then a wraithlord with bright lances. No WK. We made the game 1500 points instead and I squeezed in 4 mastery levels (on the DP's) and a ADL with ILC.

      Table is hammer and anvil (boooo) and he goes first. All my dudes are in cover and he fires every scatbike and venom he has and takes out 1 unit of nurglings and 3 HP off a jinking DP. On my turn 1 I summon a PB unit and perils on 6 dice, then roll 1 for result then roll 9 for heralds leadership... that gives my opponent Slay the Warlord lol.

      Rest of the game he dances around shooting me while dogs tenaciously chase after him. Both DP's fall to the poison spam. Beasts bring his wraithlord to 1 wound before his D weapon chops them all down. Nurglings make a hundred saves but the str 6 scatbike instant deaths them down. I'm tabled on turn 4.

      So sad :( I feel like skipping Psychic and just bringing some PB blobs would have been better. Hard to deal with the shooting in turn 1 and 2 though when Eldar go first.

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    4. Interesting. I think what you experienced is going to be the downfall of the Nurgle core formation. They just can't seem to catch anything.

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    5. That's the problem with Nurgle anything... They can never catch anyone. Slow n Purposeless is awful if you're not a shooty unit. I'd like the Nurgle formation if GW didn't have to make everything Daemons so thematic and forced you to take 7 units. If it was like 4 or 5 that could be a decent way to field some Nurglings to infiltrate around the field and be a nuisance. But 7 is too many points in a smaller game. Can't field enough other useful things.

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    6. Eventually I'll try it again at 1850 points... maybe 2k but I think it will be the same results. I just feel like the first 2 turns of shooting you have to endure will murder your heavy hitters and then your core that you are left with cannot do anything but score for the rest of the game.

      I pretty much play only Nurgle and Tzeentch daemons now (no faith in CSM) but I am losing faith in those guys too. I'm kinda blown away the Tzeentch core formation doesn't let them harness the warp easier/better. I think I have completely given up on harnessing powers as mono Nurgle... that just doesn't work and Ghosthelms just deny you anyways.

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    7. Tzeentch core would have been outstanding if it had included the ability to take exalted flamers on the chariot. +1 strength on the exalted flamer attacks is amazing... If they're on a platform that allows them to use it. I could totally go for a combination of like 4 units of horrors and 5 units of chariots.

      As it is, they put the chariots in the formation with the Screamers and the bonus is not very good for them... Works pretty well for the Screamers but you're stuck taking at least 675 points of Screamers to even take the dang thing.

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  5. Couple things I noticed reading the formations for myself:
    1) Unlike in the normal Daemons codex, the loci granted by the herald STACKS with the units other loci. That could make for some good combos.
    2) Not only does the formation with the Skull Cannons give you an apocalypse template it also increases it to S8 AP3 instead of AP5 like normal which is HUGE. That might make it worth the Blood Throne tax in a bigger game. It would obliterate any MEQs and even Eldar jetbike armies (would get through their armor AND cover).
    3) Some of the new relics from the relics table are awesome. Imagine the herald in a 20 flesh hound unit with a Crimson Crown (+1 attack to all models), the murderhoarde bonus (+1 attack as long as another unit is close), and the loci for rage. 6 attack flesh hounds on the charge? Yes please.

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    1. /facepalm I had been thinking that skull cannons were always AP3. I guess it is good that I hadn't actually played with them and accidentally cheated.

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    2. Ha, I wish! 125 points for a BS5, S8, AP3, Ignores cover blast would be awesome. As it stands, that apocalypse template is looking more and more worth it. You would erase whole swathes of Marines, Eldar, and Necrons with that thing. Just need a way to keep the squadron alive which has always been an issue for Skull Cannons. Might be worth taking a small Allied Detachment from the regular Daemons codex to pick up a Grimoire and give them a 3++.

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  6. This new supplement is awesome. People talking and playing again with daemons, and not just summoning list.
    But have you seen the wolfen, on the other half of the supplement? They look... crazy

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    1. The wulfen ain't that crazy really, but the new Start Collection Space Wolves formation fives the run+charge to a Thunderwolf unit as well. Combine with Azrael's warlord trait and you have 12" + d6+3" + 2d6+3" threat range. First turn wolfstar charges anyone?

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  7. Andrew what would your opinion be piloting an 1850 list that looks like:
    Tzeentch Core
    ML3 Herald with Loci
    9 units of 11 Pink horrors
    3 Soul Grinders of Tzeentch auxiliary 1 flame 2 with warp gaze
    Belakor

    I want to try this list, but have 0 experience playing as Tzeentch and would like your opinion before I go buy 2 Soul Grinders please.

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    1. I think that would work. Your biggest problem is likely going to be deathstars and high toughness units. It would be very easy to accidentally 'stack' feel no pain on an opposing unit. Roll some divination powers and get those soul grinders re-rolling their misses.

      I'm not convinced that Belakor is necessary, since invisibility tends to benefit fewer stronger units. Your mileage may vary. You might try out having the herald or a daemon prince/lord of change as your warlord. The Tzeentch warlord traits are fantastic.

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    2. I would concur with dropping Be'lakor since invisibility is really only useful on him in his list. My wulfen book is still on the way but I assume the daemonic rewards are the same in it (correct me if I'm wrong).If so, a LoC with ML3 and 2x greater / 1x lesser reward is always a strong choice. Lesser reward turns into the +2 Str staff that explodes characters/MCs. Greater rewards can provide some great survivability if you can manage to grab 3+ armor or FnP. And some of the divination powers (like the self-cast buff) can turn a LoC into a wrecking ball in close combat. You could always grab Fateweaver for more witchfire spells but I think you probably have enough in that list and the "re-roll one die" isn't all important when you don't have a grimoire and the book already allows you to better control Daemonic Instability/Warp Storm which were some of the best uses for Fateweaver in the original book.

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    3. I agree! Hmmm I'll try not to get overly excited here. I will indeed be using the Herald as my Warlord for the fun new traits. Indeed the target for invisibility would be Belakor himself as I send him into melee against other heavy hitters with prescience on him. He also has powers that Tzeentch Daemons cannot get, and that is first Shroud to put on my Herald Warlord (who may go on a Disk) and also Psychic Shriek which I have grown to love.

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    4. Andrew, almost 1 year later I necro this... I want to use this list with splitting....

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. Not necessarily related to the new Daemons book... but what do you guys think of this 1,000 point list for a partner tournament at our FLGS this weekend. Rules for the tournament are 1k points each partner, no model may be more than 250 points. I think only one detachment as well (per person). All armies will be, at worst, Allies of Convenience. Hence I will partner with my friend who will play a seer council Eldar list.
    Daemons CAD:
    Lord of Change (ML2, greater reward)
    Herald of Tzeentch (ML3, exalted reward, disc)
    Herald of Tzeentch (ML1, exalted reward)
    Pink Horrors x 11
    Pink Horrors x 11 (instrument)
    Screamers x 6
    Soul Grinder (Tzeentch, Warp Gaze)
    Lord of Change will go for Divination powers to buff himself. Herald on foot will also go for divination to give Soul Grinder or a horror squad re-rolls to hit. Herald on screamers may go for divi or daemo, not sure yet. Horrors will go for daemo to summon more units. Eldar buddy doesn't need many of his warp charge points so he will donate them to me. Screamer herald will grab grimoire while the other herald will grab portalglyph for the OP warp charges from spawning horrors. Icon is for deep striking summoned units (also because I had 17 extra points so I spent 15 on banner+tzeentch for grinder).

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    1. That looks pretty solid. As long as your friend has some ranged anti-tank, then you should be set.

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    2. Yeah I'm not sure exactly what he's bringing yet, but a little range would be nice. Warp Gaze is only 24" and my only other options for vehicles are CC with the grinder, LoC, or screamer squad (their armourbane attacks are quite good). If I had the units for it, I think this might be a fun all Tzeentch list with the new book for a 1000 pt game:
      Burning Skyhost
      Herald (ML3, Screamer, exalted)
      Screamers x 6
      Screamers x 3
      Screamers x 3
      Screamers x 3
      Screamers x 3
      Exalted Chariot
      Exalted Chariot
      Exalted Chariot
      Exalted Chariot
      Screamers would have serious map coverage potential and the formation gives them each D3+1 instead of D3 bladevane attacks. Formation bonus isn't that good for the Chariots but taking 4 of them in a 1,000 point game might be enough target saturation to fly up and unleash their flamers or S9 shots.

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    3. Burning Chariot* not exalted

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  10. Some mistakes:
    The grand cav. does NOT get +6 on a charge, only run/flat out moves.
    You Cannot stack warlord traits of same god on Infernal tetrad, cause each d. prince MUST have a different mark.

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