I've spent a little time with the new 40k Daemon Codex now. I've spent far less with the WFB Daemon Army Book...primarily because I got frustrated with it and set it aside to save myself heartburn.
I'm going to ramble a bit about both, in a Bob-typical incoherent, disconnect, and babbly stream of consciousness style. You've been warned!
Fantasy first...my overall opinion: it sucks. The things I like got worse and more expensive (Horrors, Tz Magic, Bloodletters, Fleshhounds, to name a few). Go figure...the new models are really good and cost relatively few points. It's almost as if they want me to go spend more money on new shit!
I'm playing Daemons in a local 'escalation league campaign' thing. I'm completely at a loss on how to use this army now. I'm going to aim for lots and lots of Soul Grinders (which comes out to two, sadly) and some...stuff? I don't know. I really just don't know. The Nurgle stuff looks really solid, but I have enough poop, vomit, and snot with my 3 kids...don't want any more! Khorne stuff...sigh...I guess I'll try it. Maybe can do something cool with...hell, I don't know. Help! Can I switch back to Vampires?!
Enough of that...on to 40k! I'm actually overall very happy with the 40k book. There are a lot of fun and useful options in there. I'm actually feeling spoiled for choice now on what I want to include! Some thoughts, in no particular order:
I like the Greater Daemons. All of them. I can see having fun and being competitive with any. I like the DPs too! They cost a ton of points, yeah, but with some canny play and good use of the psy powers available, I think they have the potential to be very useable.
The Gifts are decent. The Lesser one has some things that make me go Meh, but having the option to at least take a master-crafted AP2 weapon for 10 points is not horrible at all! Most armies are paying 15 for AP3! Khorne guys get AP2 with ID on a 6...that's pretty damned decent! I like the Greater Gifts as they seem to add survivability. The Super Big Gifts all seem hilariously fun.
The one big thing, though, is that you never know what you're gonna get (thanks, Forrest!). There are decent #0 options for all, but...sometimes you just don't need AP2, right?
I like all the Heralds. They all have good access to Gifts, all have a Locus (or two) that I think is worthwhile...though I'm really grumpy that they limit the loci effects to one per unit. Why? Would Rage and Hatred make Bloodletters just too terrible to contemplate? Or Horrors with S6 shots AND random Str? Seekers with +5 init and re-rolling misses? Who cares...I say if you've paid for three loci on your herald, you should get the effects of all three. Not a fan of that rule, but...it is what it is.
Masque has fun rules, but I expect you'll never see her: still not IC, still dying on turn 1. Sorry, hun, back to the basement to collect dust with you! Scribes are kind of in the same boat, not only will they kill over first turn, their ability is kind of garbage anyway: far too random. Skulltaker...he's been touted as the one thing with Eternal Warrior in the book...to which I say who cares if he has EW, he's T4 with W2, he'll die to bolter fire before he gets to take heads...and his AP3 weapon does not impress me.
Karanak, now...him I like. He's pricey, but got quite a bit meaner. T5 W3 makes him pretty tough to take down; WS5 S5 A4 with Rage helps him dish out some wounds...but that's now what I like about him...it's his sexy dog collar that I like! Any enemy psyker within 12"suffers Perils of the Warp on any doubles! And more tricks, he has Scout, so any unit he joins will Scout/Outflank with him. Scouting Crushers? Flanking Bloodletters?
The Elites don’t thrill me much. Fiends, Flamers, Beasts...all are really meh to me. I can maybe see 69 points spent on a few flamers to help clear out stuff, but really, I'd not bother. I can see Crushers MAYBE being used, as they're fast and should bash MEQ (or vehicles, or anything that's not a Big Herd). The downside is they're pricy models that will die to a S8 pop, and no armor save anymore, relying on that 5++ is no fun!
Holy troops, batman! I feel like we've gone from some of the most worthless overcosted troops in the game to completely spoiled as every option seems to have some value...except maybe Nurglings, which of course I want to like...but...too much ID :(
Horrors CAN be devastating...paired with a big Locus Divination-wielding Herald, they can really dish out a lot of S6 shots. The negatives are the stupid Warpflame rule, which means while dishing out the hurt you're handing out FNP like candy. The other is they'll be of greatly limited value when facing Runes of Warding (and Shadows of the Warp to a lesser extent), but rumors abound that 'passive anti-psy power abilities' like that will be going away. Even so, I can see packing a unit of these with a Herald to supplement a fast hard force. They'll do nicely to open AV12 or less (Mathhammer: Herald spends 1 warp on Prescience, the other 2 on Tzeentch-shot; Horrors spend 3 Warp on Tzeentch-shot. 3d6 from Herald; 4d6 from Horrors. Easy (and Conservative) call them all BS3, that's 24 shots, 18 hits after rerolls, that's 3 glances on AV12, or 6 glance/pen on AV11. 3 wounds on a MC. 5 dead MEQ.) Not incredible, but not bad, plus the Herald will surely have access to other powers to supplement the rest of the army instead of just the Horrors.
Bloodletters I think have a lot of potential too. Not particularly fast (Scouting with Karanak will help!) but dishing out the S5 AP3 attack when they charge. Very one-dimensional, easily shot down (hell, everything in the army is!), and fairly weak if they don't get the assault off. I don't think they're worth the extra point of cost over the other troops, but what do I know?
Plaguebringers are not as tough as before, but with Shrouded and non-Fearless can go to ground anywhere for a respectable save. 90 point deck-chair unit that rocks the 2+ cover in ruins...what's not to like?
Daemonettes are fast (extra 3" run) and dish out a mess of I5 rending attacks. I can see them being a very effective "second wave" to clean up after the beasts & cavalry have their way with the enemy.
All these troops have access to cheap champs that can take a 10 point AP2 master crafted weapon. Damned decent troops!
The Fast section has lots of fun stuff too...
Screamers are still viable. They have their great Slash Attack; Jetbike shenanigans to contest objectives endgame; still a fair number of attacks to deal with T3 guys with little armor. Can pop open vehicles pretty well still. Maybe not the best Fast choice, and certainly not the auto-include they were...but right where they should be, IMO. Poor Flamers.
The plague-bugs...I've not given them much thought. I like the models, I like the idea of them, but haven't theory'd about them much. T5 W3 seems pretty spiffy, especially paired with 3+ poison attacks. Pricey though...a full unit is taking up 1/5 of your army. And...too much puss and snot and poop and vomit.
I'm really liking Fleshhounds. They gained a Wound and Scout. They come in vast numbers, dish out a fair amount of attacks, and are blinding fast. Perhaps not as damaging as Seekers, they're far more resilient (T4 and W2). I like these guys as a home for a Khorne Jugger Herald, with Scout getting him up the table super fast!
The star of the Codex for me, Seekers of Slaanesh! Cavalry, extra Slaanesh movement (6" xtra run), A3 Rending with WS5. Stick a Herald in here for rerolls to hit. Throw in a champ with a Lesser Gift for more AP2 attacks. Squishy with T3 and just the Daemonic save...but the whole damned Codex is squishy, so nothing new there. A full unit with a Herald wipe an MEQ squad just with Rends, kills any MC in the game, blows up anything short of AV13...then dieing when the rest of the enemy army shoots at them...but hey, what can you do. The whole army is squishy! You could take a bunch of Slaanesh psykers and hope to get invisibility, I suppose...but that seems really Meh to me. I'd rather save the points for all the psychic randomness and just buy more Seekers!
The Slaanesh Chariots I haven't even glanced it. I know they're fast like all Slaanesh stuff, and have the potential to hit REALLY hard on the charge, but I have no interest in buying them, so didn't even bother to read.
Soul Grinders will probably be my go-to choice for Heavy. A modicum of anti-air, a S6 torrent template for beastpacks and xenos and blobs, hard-to-pen AV13 with a 5++, and very respectable melee attacks...these guys solve a lot of problems that the rest of the codex may struggle against (Land Raiders, Necron Flyer Spam...though not so much a solution as potential mitigation...Paladins...Beastpacks).
The Khorne Cannon has some potential too. Note all these super fast melee units are all lacking Grenades...if what they're charging has been popped by one of these beauties, then normal Init is used. Definitely something to consider!
The Tzeentch Chariot I really want to like...S9 shots are nice; Ap3 Torrent Flamer is nice...but AV10 Open-topped is NOT nice. I've had a bit of experience here, and I can say categorically that AV10 Open Topped sucks ass. Still, at only 100 points, and the potential to drop enemy Ldr, these don't seem to be completely worthless.
More Slaanesh chariots that do nothing for me.
How come Nurgle doesn't get a Heavy? Some big plague booger that rolls around spreading disease or something? A giant Plague Engine that pumps out clouds of toxic vapor as it drives over the disease-ridden corpses of its victims? Snot catapult? Something? Oh well, it's only Nurgle.
So what am I thinking about? First, and foremost, is not giving GW any of my money. I enjoy their models, and I enjoy playing the games, but as a company I really am growing to dislike their policies and price increases and wish to speak with my wallet.
So something I can do with ease is FMC spam. Maybe a BT with some gifts; a Lvl 3 Lord of Change; 3 Flying Armored Tzeentch Daemon Princes rolling on Biomancy...and some troops? I like the idea of Daemonettes, maybe some Seekers, to help kill off Herds that the MC get stuck on. Maybe some Horrors for a modicum of shooting. Shrug. I'll kick this concept around. It's very Rock/Paper/Scissors...probably not a super-strong army, but fits my style!
I tried a list on Vassal that was almost all fast stuff. Very fun, perhaps not terribly effective, but certainly imposing speed: Karanak with 5 Crushers (scouting); a loaded Khorne Jugger Herald with a big herd of Fleshhounds (scouting); 9 Screamers (turboing); a Slaanesh Herald Mounted with a big herd of Seekers; a big herd of 'nettes'; a Tz Herald with a big herd of Horrors; and some deckchair Plaguebearers. The idea was to get Karanak in range to hope to shut down enemy Psykers fast and assault the highest priority things to kill them off on turn 2. This plan worked great until I hit the Paladin deathstar and everything of mine died to Daemonic Instability! Ha!
Yet another is three Soul Grinders, who as I said above seem to solve a lot of problems, combined with a similar (but less prolific) speed display and a lot of troops.
Then another idea is only two Grinders but with a Khorne Chariot in there to sling skulls at the things the Seekers want to charge so they'll be swinging at their sexy I5!
How about Fiends, Tz Chariots with Blue Horrors, and that Exalted Gift that forces folks to take Ld test or lose 5 ld? Dropping things by 2LD first seems like an interesting combination?
So what about you? You as excited to see what fun combinations you can put together with this book as I am? Let me hear what you've come up with!