Thursday, April 7, 2016

Daemon Engine Pack

The Daemon Engine Pack is one of the leaked formations from the updated Black Legion codex.  It stands out as a very competitive option, and today I am taking a look at how it stacks up against an Imperial Knight.

First off, the pack consists of two maulerfiends or forgefiends and a Warpsmith.  Each turn, at the beginning of the shooting phase, one of the daemon engines can use the Warpsmith's weapon skill and ballistic skill.  The deamon engine has to be within 12" of the Warpsmith, but that isn't too big of a deal.  One other nice thing is that the only model that is required to take Veterans of the Long War is the Warpsmith, so the Black Legion 'tax' is relatively minimal.

The main advantage of this formation is that the ability is declared at the exact same time as an opponent must declare the facing of a knight's ion shield.  When two things happen simultaneously the player of the current turn, you, get to decide the order.  You can make your opponent choose the direction of their shield first, and then decide where you want the bonus ballistic skill to go.

As a result, if you have two Forgefiends in two different shooting arcs on a knight you can always ensure that your bonus ballistic skill will avoid the shield.  Combined with the daemonforge ability, this formation is going to start putting out a lot of damage.

Here is the information for two Forgefiends with hades autocannons shooting a knight.  One of them fires at normal ballistic skill in the arc with the ion shield.  The other shoots at BS 5, with daemonforge, and avoids the ion shield.

With one turn of shooting we find the following:

Hull PointsChance

I wouldn't expect to down an Imperial Knight in a single turn, but we are clearly starting to put out some hurt.  Now let's see what happens when we combine the results of two turns worth of shooting.

Hull PointsChance
Now we are thinking with portals.  We are starting to provide a serious threat to an Imperial Knight.  

Admittedly, this is an idealized situation.  Cover is not taken into account, and I assume that you can get into two firing arc for two successive turns.  Even if you can get into two firing arcs for two successive turns there are a few issues.  If your opponent is clever, then they will face their ion shield to the same forgefiend both turns.  This will mean that the second forgefiend won't get to use their daemonforge ability without hitting a shield, and all of this assumes that both forgefiends survive, and don't have any weapons destroyed.

If I were allying this formation into a Khorne Daemonkin army, then I would probably have the Warpsmith run with the possessed.  I don't expect them to do anything anyway, so they might as well babysit the Warpsmith.

I don't expect this formation to push Chaos Marines to the forefront of the tournament scene, but we now have a new solid option.  Combined with melta bikes, deep striking obliterators, or combi-melta terminators Chaos Marines are getting better at taking down big vehicles.  I would expect to see this formation regularly in tournament lists.


  1. I wanted to know if this formation was all that better than simply taking 3 Forgefiends as part of a CAD and the simple calculations I ran yielded surprisingly similar numbers.
    I found that 3 forgefiends (at BS3) will always output 12.5% more expected hullpoints than the formation does (1 forgefiend at BS5 and one at BS3). For example, if you unleashed Daemonforge on every Forgefiend you are expected to deal 9.0 hull points to AV 12 by using 3 Forgefiends whereas you only deal an expected 8.0 with the two. On the flip side, three forgefiends cost 12.9% more than 2 Forgefiends + Warpsmith. So the cost to firepower ratio is almost exactly the same if you are simply looking at expected hullpoints.
    Of course there are some key differences this math doesn't take into account:
    1. Three Forgefiends have a wider variety of outcomes. Have a higher ceiling but are less consistent because none are BS5.
    2. Three Forgefiends represent more targets for your opponent to deal with.
    3. Three Forgefiends can shoot more targets if they're having a good turn.
    4. The formation allows the Warpsmith to repair the Forgefiends if need be.
    5. The fact you get a Warpsmith along with similar cost-to-firepower ratio means you're getting his special abilities for almost no cost.
    6. The formation doesn't require using all three Heavy slots in a CAD solely on Forgefiends.

    So to me, it's hard to say whether this formation is better than what we had before. If you really want a Warpsmith in your army or you can't afford the CAD slots, the formation is a no-brainer. But simply taking three Forgefiends is going to give you a better amount of firepower, a wider threat range, and more targets for your opponent to deal with.

    1. Nice work on the numbers.

      At least for me, the deciding factor is the heavy support slots.

    2. Very interesting. What if you run 2x of this formation alongside something like R&H zombies to hide the Smith's in with sun heavy alot support. That's alot of dakka then right? Also the way I read it you can substitute in both shooting and assault phase once each. What if you bring 2 formations of 1fiend mauler warp so the mauler can protect the fiends and finish knights or wraithknight. I'd they die no biggie you still have fiends.

    3. That wouldn't be a bad idea, but I think I would still shy away from Maulerfiends with this formation when possible. The Warpsmith is almost the exact same cost as a basic fiend (more if you give him any sort of upgrades). Considering he only increases them to WS4 (and only if he is in range when they charge) I would much rather take the extra fiend rather than the extra WS.

    4. But it would be an interesting concept with the mauler/forge combo if only for the fact it would essentially give you 2 forgefiends that are always BS5 and two extra maulerfiends that are good on their own even if they don't get much of a benefit from the formation.

      The alternative would be 1 formation (so only one BS5 forgefiend and only 1 warpsmith), but you get 3 maulerfiends instead of only 2. It's plenty easy to get 3 maulerfiends if you're playing a KDK army since you can take up to 8.

  2. Crimson Slauhgter leaks are out now by the way. The formations are awful and very uninspired.

    The only decent one is the Cultist one just because it's a really easy way to spam LD10 Cultists that can come back from the dead. Other than that... I'll hard pass on all these formations.

    1. Thanks for the heads up.

    2. Yup all garbage but I do like the cultist one. I have 300 cultists so that's like 1300 points. I'd probably run it along tallyband incursion for warp shenanigans and around 450 wounds on the table. Question... If I CAD in Typhus can he make the formation cultists zombies?

    3. Actually, that might be legal. Here is what the entry says,

      "Any chaos cultist units in the same army as Typhus can be nominated as plague zombies."

      All those fearless, feel no pain bodies just getting back up after they die....

    4. Thanks to the fact our codex is so old, you could argue you could legally make the zombies with the formation. As Andrew said, it says "army" because our codex is from before the days before you could legally ally with yourself so GW probably didn't really think about it when they said "army" instead of "detachment."

    5. Just double checked the FAQ and you guys are right. Just made a list that looks like this: 1849 points

      Daemonic Incursion- Tallyband
      Warlord- Herald of Nurgle on palanquin with ML 2 (prolly try to summon?), Fecundity, Doom Bell (since your whole army has fear sometimes this works against those pesky eldar and necrons)
      20x PB (herald goes here)
      6 units of 3x nurglings for infiltrating those objectives
      5x Nurgle Furies

      CS CAD
      10x zombies
      7x PM

      CS Cultist formation
      Nurgle Apostle (goes with Typhus and the PM)
      8 units of 16x zombies

      The goal is to infiltrate the objectives, have the PB hold the backfield and summon while Typhus, apostle, and around 139 zombies (129 that get back up when they die) march forward towards your enemy deployment. All while the warpstorm hopefully bombs the HELL out of enemy forces. Operation tarpit with a few hundred wounds and hopefully score some maelstrom. Thoughts?

    6. I don't think I have ever had the warpstorm table bomb the hell out of anything. Realistically, you are going to have a hard time removing anything from the board, but your opponent is going to have a hard time removing you from the board as well.

    7. I had the same thoughts... Even with the +/-1 from the new Daemon book, I wouldn't count on the warp storm table. Only working on 1/6 of your opponent's units doesn't do usually do anything for me.

      This will probably just be one heck of a stalemate list that hopefully enables you to win just by capturing 1 more objective than your opponent, but I don't think it will be able to take anything off of the board seeing as Typhus is about the only real threat in all 1850 points. If you're going to take that many zombies, I would throw a bunch of Soul Grinders/Heldrakes or other big guns in with them for support.

    8. I get pretty lucky with the warpstorm and slaanesh power popping transports usually.

      I am absolutely looking to troll with this list, and my main opponent is THAT guy who will field 5 wraith knights, or 45 warp spiders, or all scatbikes. He does usually support them all with like 5 venoms and WWP D scythes though. I love looking for as many ways to annoy Eldar and poop on their whole day. He will also never concede either so the game may drag out 5 hours... last game we had I beat him with Nurgle incursion 30-10 because I had lucky draws and maelstrom mission (the one where you draw cards = to number of objectives held is so great for daemons)

  3. Hey... So this is kind of random but something I just noticed that made me rather disappointed. In the 40k FAQ update GW did back in December they added errata to the BRB that extended the "independent characters without the infiltrate special rule cannot join a unit of infiltrators during deployment" rule to also say "and vice versa." So that officially killed any chance of creating an infiltrate bomb with Huron or using Cypher to do anything useful...

    1. They added it back in the FAQ when I started in like 2014. Which also made Ahriman instantly not as cool as well. Sad day.

    2. Hmmm. I hadn't seen it before and it's in colored text to represent it was added this round of FAQs. Was it an FAQ for the 6th ed book which went away when 7th was released?

    3. Correct. 7th edition FAQ is up but there was a 6th edition FAQ once upon a time as well.

    4. And there's the rub with Games Workshop's rule writing. As soon as they release a new edition, they take down the old FAQ and it becomes invalid as an official ruling (since it applies to rules that no longer exist). Usually they're smart enough to incorporate it into the rulebook itself so the wording is less ambiguous, but in some cases - like this one - they aren't. So now you have a rulebook that still doesn't cover the original issue and you no longer have an FAQ/errata that covers it either. At least after a few years they finally came around to fixing that.

      I'm just hopeful for this new round of FAQs where they actually asked the community to give them feedback and they got a few thousand questions on Facebook. Hopefully a couple hundred of those are legitimate, non-repeats and GW takes the time to answer them. There are so many outstanding ambiguous questions with this edition that they just never answered...