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Secrets of the Warp: Chaos Daemons Unleashed! by Stephen Newman
With the new Codex; Chaos Daemons, some minor changes (such as stat increases and decreases, as well as points-tweaks) were expected, as well as a few new units and models. In short, there are a lot of changes from his book and the last, so much that the entire army feels and plays completely different from what it once was. Enough rambling from me though, let’s get a better idea of what I mean.
What I Like
Daemonic Loci: A new rule that will be very familiar to those who have played Fantasy Daemons. Daemonic Loci are an upgrade for Heralds (Special Character Heralds get one in their points cost now) that benefit them and the unit they hide in. Loci come in 3 stages (lesser, greater and exalted) ranging from 10 points to 25 points. These last as long as the Herald is still alive and provide buff in many forms, such as Hatred, Feel No Pain and Move Through Cover, among many others. However, beware that only one Loci can affect a unit at any one time, and that the bonus is lost as soon as the Herald dies.
Screamers: Those who had
the Daemons update book will be familiar with the changes that drastically
improved certain units (mainly looking at Screamers and Flamers here; Screamers
remain so, Flamers have not). The flying shark-mantas are now treated as Jetbikes
and come with 3 S4 AP- attacks each in close combat, as well as a special S5
AP2 Armourbane attack for opening
tanks with. They also get a slashing attack if they turbo-boost over an enemy
unit, making them one of the few units better off Deep Striking in the first turn.
Also packing eyes so creepy that even nose-less Voldemort looks quite normal in comparison
Shiny New Toys!: The new codex has done away with the previous armoury for the Daemons, which allowed one to tool up certain units with upgrades from a list for a certain points for each. Now Daemons are allowed to purchase “gifts” (either lesser, greater or exalted) for a set amount of points and randomly roll for a gift. This sounds rather bad, but first of all, I don’t think any of the results suck for the points you are paying for them. Most are special rules, but there are some special artefacts and weapons only attainable here.
Skull Cannon of Khorne: One of the
shiny new units that I really look forward to using. A new chariot and unique
in the fact that it has no rider and actually has a half decent armour value
(although it is open-topped), but what really makes me excited is the shiny gun
on the model itself. Unable to be disabled (since it’s listed as a gift rather
than as a weapon, although I may be reading this wrong), and a large blast to
boot at Strength 8 makes it fearsome to face (although having an AP of 5 does
neuter it somewhat). It also Ignores Cover
for those pesky units that hug terrain. What really makes it stand out is that
units hit by it pick up a “dreadskull” token until the end of that turn. Any
unit charging a unit with a dreadskull token counts as having assault grenades.
Might not be a good deal for those many Marine players, but those who love
xenos armies (especially Nid players) would kill for such an ability.
Plus, you know that it would make an awesome motor bike for a Daemon Prince!
Warlord Traits: Another no-brainer, as we all expected the new Daemons come with their own Warlord Traits table. The results range from all melee weapons having Instant Death to the option of re-rolling that dodgy Warpstorm table (Will explain this one later. It rather irks me). In fact, the only result I would not want is one that imposes a –1 modifier to Fear checks. Cause you know, it’s not like most armies just simply don’t care about it.
Heralds, Many, Many Heralds: Heralds became awesome for many reasons. I have already mentioned my liking of their shiny new Locus powers as well as their amazing points costs (mostly as little as 45 points). However, the designers have decided that if your primary detachment is from the Daemon book, then you may take up to 4 Heralds as a single HQ slot. That includes most of the special character Heralds (including the “new” ones such as Karanak and the Changeling). Definitely worth a look for me and a potentially better investment that the Greater Daemons (who lost out in many ways)
Things I Don’t Like
Loss of Eternal Warrior: …they also lost Eternal Warrior for no apparent reason, either. This makes Daemons very susceptible to many new threats they did not have to worry about before, like say Force Weapons and their ilk. This makes Daemons RIDICULOUSLY unbalanced against Grey Knights since every basic squad has the potential to take out even the best Greater Daemon with potential ease (remember they only get a 5+ save against said weapons and then all the Grey Knights have to do is pass a LD test, on a 8 or better). I get that Grey Knights are the premier anti-Daemon army and this should be shown, but when it gets to the point that it is this unbalanced I see very little reason why I should set up my army if I spot Grey Knights on the other side.
Flamers of Tzeentch: A unit also familiar to those with the Daemon supplement released in White Dwarf. However, unlike the Screamers that retained their awesomeness, Flamers were hit hard. And rather deservedly so. The current crop of the weird goons replaces the ignoring- armour-saving-template attack with another template attack that operates at straight up S4 and AP4 with the stupid Warpflame rule. They still keep the cheap points cost and 2W apiece, but I feel the poor guys provide little in the way of threat, unless playing hordes of cheap infantry like Orks.
Daemonic Instability: Yet something else that gimps Daemons for no apparent reason. Familiar to those who played older editions, Daemons that lost a fight have to take a LD test, and however much they fail by, they suffer an equivalent amount of wounds with no saves allowed. Not that it’s generally a bad thing, except that Daemons now have reduced LD values and reduced Toughness on most units, making them more vulnerable. No, I don’t care that I have a chance to restore all wounds to the squad, since even a bad roll can see your units disappear in a puff of brimstone.
Burning Chariot of Tzeentch: The Chariot has the potential for some serious firepower (either D3 S9 AP2 shots or 1 Template [with Torrent] at S5 AP3) BUT is over 100 points for a 3HP all-around Armour 10 vehicle which has the Warpflame special rule for its attacks (more on that later as well). It’s almost like GW wanted to make something that was more fragile than a Dark Eldar Raider. The model is nice, but with its rules I am not so sure about fielding it.
Tzeentch apparently makes his Chariots out of papier-mâché and hopes and prayers
Epidemius: I know some (like your dear Wicked Uncle Kenton) do not like to use Special Characters at all. However, I single good old Epi out because he was central to many players starting Nurgle armies when the new edition hit the shelves because of his ability to bless entire armies with bolter-wielding Death Guard who wounded on 2’s (with the occasional re-roll depending on target Toughness) and then ignored armour saves. Whilst this army held itself well in the tournament circuit, I heavily doubt it will work so well now. The benefits have been strictly kept to only Daemons of Nurgle that have units within 6 inches of the guy are now affected. This topped onto a much weakened table for the Tally special rule means I see little point in taking the poor guy now.
The Fluff: I bring the fluff here because not much of it has changed at all since the book. Although to be fair, the old book had some great fluff pieces in it and the majority of stories have been kept. Also, the writers found a way to make the Changeling funnier than before (which I did not think was possible) with new stories, including an impersonation of Lord Commander Solar Marcharius as well as planting Nurglings on the throne of Khorne in a daemonic equivalent of a whoopee-cushion prank. In short, if you enjoyed it before, you will do so again, but if you weren’t a fan before, you will be little-pleased by what is in the book.
Plague Drones: Nurgle’s new Fast Attack unit, using a fancy new unit designation (Jet Pack Cavalry, which baffles me) and being rather sturdy at T5 and 3W each. However, the unit does not hit that hard (although they do have the option for 3+ poisoned attacks) for quite a weighty sum of 42 points each (not to mention the impact on your wallet). Drones leave me very apprehensive about them. I guess I would have to see them on action on the table before coming to a decision, but as it stands, they look all right on paper, I suppose.
Hellforged Artifacts: A new part of the armoury. When rolling on the exalted gift table, instead of accepting the rolled result, the Daemon can take an object called a Hellforged Artefact. There are four to choose from, and to be frank I would only pick one of them, and even that can be unreliable at times. The themes behind each of them are cool and certainly worth a look, but I feel they are mostly either too situational or a canny opponent will simply negate it before it has a chance to prove its worth.
Posted March 2013. All images are copyright 2012 by Games Workshop and used for review purposes.
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