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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.