Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fighting Daemons: First Impressions

Hey readers!

My apologies for the brief hiatus, but the life of a college student often makes for a chaotic schedule, and it certainly hasn't helped that my computer crashed along the way! Well I'm back on the internet now, and I wanted to give my first impressions of the new (not so new anymore) Daemons book not from the perspective of their general, but rather their opponent. Now I only recently played my first game against the warp fiends, and my good buddy Xinz was itching for the dramatic showdown, challenging my Grey Knights. Now I decided to use a little bit of an unconventional, non-competitive list just so we could see what the Daemons book had to offer. Xinz took a similar approach, with minimal spam as to maximize the testing of the different gods (except for Khorne. Xinz really doesn't like Khorne.). Now to preface, I was very impressed with the way the new book played, and I though it offered significant challenges to my Grey Knight army without being insurmountable. Remember, this is meant not as a review of the Daemons book, but rather as a general tactica against daemons as an army. Now, onto my thoughts!

First off, it is important to understand that I was playing an army literally designed to fight daemons (although I forgot preferred enemy more times than I can count!) and they still proved a formidable foe, which is a testament to the competitiveness of the book. Now granted I wasn't using an incredibly optimized list, but I did have plenty of terminators, psyker support with Coteaz and a Librarian, and even a Dreadnight to bring some torrent flamer hurt. Furthermore, I had just about the perfect storm of psychic powers of the divination table. My Librarian had prescience and misfortune (ouch, right?) while Coteaz received prescience and the 4+ Invulnerable buff for his unit, which was perfect for defending my foot-knights against his AP 3 templates from the Soul Grinders and Burning Chariot. All of these factors made the narrowness of the Grey Knight victory that much more surprising, as the Daemons were able to hold their own against formidable odds.

So, in my opinion, one of the best new units the codex has to offer is the Nurgle Soul Grinder. Xinz fielded two, and those mechanical monstrosities definitely did work. They put out enough fire power to the point where they can't be ignored (including skyfire) but their size allows them to almost always take advantage of their shrouded cover save. Coupled with AV13 and 4 hull points, they are nearly impossible to eliminate from a distance, making my psyflemen dreads basically useless. I would say that close combat is a much more cost-efficient way of eliminating them as a threat, but even that is a risky endeavor as the Nurgle Soul Grinder can put out plenty of AP2 S10 attacks (which made short work of my dreadknight). My best advice, if you don't have a clear shot or a powerful close combat unit, is unfortunately to just ignore them. They don't put out ENOUGH fire power to warrant pouring all your resources into destroying them, and you're much better off eliminating other threats or enemy troop choices. Continuing with the trend of nurgle-awesomeness plague-bearers are INCREDIBLY hard to move. Even though they are only T4 now, getting through shrouded and FNP (if a herald is taken) is tough enough, and the herald makes the unit actually pretty decent in CC. You can bet your opponent will be sitting them on objectives, and your best bet is to get your dedicated CC units on them or just pour enough shots into them. Luckily, however, they don't present much of a threat on the board and I found that the best way to deal with them is to not deal with them at all, until the end of the game when you need to capture objectives and the other main threats are eliminated. Don't get me wrong, it's not a perfect strategy, but the Plague-bearers won't be doing any damage just sitting there, and you are most likely doing more damage to yourself by pouring all of your firepower into them. Take them out when they are actually relevant, at the end of games!

So, Nurgle yeah? The Great Unclean One is an absolute beast, especially with the right powers. If he gets iron arm off biomancy, look out, because there isn't much in the game that can take him out easily. Iron arm also mitigates the one weakness of Daemon MC's, the loss of eternal warrior. I got extremely lucky when Iron Arm didn't go off and I was able to insta-kill the grotesque monstrosity with only one wound from a S10 hammer. Even still, the great unclean one took out 7 terminators in one round of combat before going down. My best tactical advice is to simply outmaneuver the beast. It is relatively slow moving and has no ranged attacks to speak of, so you should avoid CC at all costs, and hope to strip wounds with concentrated fire and take advantage of open opportunities.

One of the most important lessons I took away from my first encounter with the new 6th edition warp was the importance of psychic defense. Whether it is denying an entire turn of shooting for a unit of horrors or preventing Iron Arm on the great unclean one, Daemons rely so heavily on psychic powers that it can make or break the army if they don't get them off. Also, aside from Monstrous creatures and the new Burning Chariot, and to some extent Soul Grinders, Daemons don't have that much access to reliable long range Anti-Armor weaponry. I'm planning a battle with my Dark Eldar against the Daemons soon, and I'm hoping that my transport-heavy list and poison weapons will allow me to outmaneuver and out shoot any and all of the warp entities. Remember, these are just my first impressions, but hopefully my experiences can help you deal with the more troublesome (nurgle) units that your opponent is sure to field! My philosophy holds that tactics and strategy help you win more than the best list, so I believe sharing these tactics can be applied to any list or army that you choose to field.

That's it for now, but remember, you can always comment or email me with suggestions or for advice. I'm always happy to help!

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