Recap: Competitive Daemons

I'm struggling to fix the storage issue for pictures here on Strictly Average.  As most of you know, I'm a big believer in always giving the audience something to look at, so practically all of my almost 400 posts have had pics.

Big pics.  I also like giving you the option of clicking on them and zooming in!

Anyway, this post will take advantage of pics I already have on the server, plus I was inspired to write after reading GMort's comments on Yes, The Truth Hurts.

Here are the links in question:

GMort's Blog - it's in the links, of course.
Yes The Truth Hurts - was in the links; I had to update it.
The Daemons Forum at YTTH

As an aside, Stelek has made some massive changes to his site.  I'll admit, I don't visit or participate the way I used to, time being what it was this semester.  I like the forums, but he's taken down his external links... and I have mixed opinions on that.  On the one hand, I don't think anyone used them, since I never had someone visit after clicking it, but at the same time it's a nice gesture to the community.

Anyway, after some birth pains I think the man's site is a big improvement.  It doesn't seem there is as much daily content though - maybe the forums have most of that.  I don't know.

A History

Moving on, GMort and I both started Daemons lists around the same time - and check out his army!  Beautiful!  It seems we were both inspired by the same list, which was something like this:

I love this army.  Don't tell GMort, but it was a huge inspiration for me as I was building my own!
Herald of Slaanesh: Chariot, Might, Musk x1
6 Fiends x3
5 Plaguebearers x4
12 Hounds x3
Daemon Princes x4

Which came in around 1750.  What's interesting is GMort created his army almost overnight, following the format.  I went a different route: for those who've been around, I built up my list as a part of a project the local store was running.  We started at 750 and added points incrementally until we hit 2000.

All those many months and all those games and tournaments gave me invaluable experience playing the army.  It also changed the direction of the army.  These days, my army looks like this:

Herald of Tzeentch: Bolt, Breath, Gaze, Master 130pts (4-units)
6 Fiends: Might 190pts (3-units)
Horrors: Bolt 95pts (4-units)
Daemon Prince of Tzeentch: Bolt, Breath, Gaze 190pts (2-units)
Total:  1850

I actually make minor changes to the list from time to time, but this is the version I took to a nice little 20-man event in Dallas, winning 1st place.  I faced Eldar, Mech Guard, and Mech Guard...

...yup!  I regularly manage to get the win against the toughest tournament army out there.  It's not a fluke, for those readers who may be thinking so.


People believe Imperial Guard have a massive quantity of shots... that's not really true.  They have quality shooting, characterized by high strength, low AP shooting.  All of that is wasted against Daemons, who will always have a save and will never be insta-killed.  Fiends in cover can survive a massive amount of shooting, then launch multi-charges across an armored front.  Heralds and Princes can alpha-strike with Bolt and Breath... and even if they only Stun or Shake the opposition, that's enough.

I have yet to lose to Guard outside of my local store.  My record is close to 90% against them.  I've placed in tournaments - large and small - close to 10 times over a year and a half of competitive gaming... and most of those were 1st place finishes.  Now, understand, I'm not saying this from a place of ego, but I've learned that no matter how well I defend my variation of the Daemon's army it will fall on deaf ears.  The Blogosphere has pretty much made up its collective mind that Daemons can't compete.

I absolutely believe my army is a top competitor.  I'm putting it away for awhile, but I'm pretty sure it's the list I'll be taking to this year's Nova.

As an aside, the army I fear the most is the Vulcan+Null-Zone Libby combo list.  That's an uphill battle!

Subtle Differences

So in the forum thread I mentioned above, GMort acknowledged that the older version of his army needed updating, which he did, after getting some feedback.  I'll let you go look yourself, but the new version is much closer to my army with a few notable exceptions.

Breath:  I believe this is the major difference between my army and the newer version GMort came up with.  This one power changes the way the army plays, making it more aggressive and in your face.  At the same time, it offers a very effective anti-mech, since it auto-glances on a 4+.  I tell you three times: Bolt isn't enough.

Might on Fiends:  Evidently, Stelek isn't a believer... I have to say, I couldn't disagree more.  Fiends have 6 attacks on the charge, so that's 6 dice of Str. 6!  It's a good buy for only 10 points.  Further, you can play allocation games on the extra model, since Fiends have 2 wounds apiece.  It's very common for my unit to have a wound each in the unit and on the champ... that's 6 dice difference.  Lastly, Str. 6 is better against Mech, especially Russes which have Armor 11 on the rear.

Bloodletters:  I don't think this is a problem, just a difference.  Personally, I think the army has enough close combat power, but I see where they're going with using 'Letters.  Myself, I value 5-man squads of Horrors or Plaguebearers; the former brings another Bolt and the latter is the best Objective squatter in the game.

What GMort's version does better is cost-control, since he saves points without expensive upgrades.  I understand that and practice that myself in optimized armies... but I'd argue points aren't wasted if the upgrade is consistently effective.  My Heralds and Daemon Princes are more expensive, but they're resilient and extremely efficient... and nothing upsets assault troops like the Fiends leaving combat with the enemy all clumped up, primed and ready for a Breath template!


It's worth saying, there are no super-lists.  Certainly you'll want to play with an efficient, optimized army, but differences don't mean something is 'better' or 'worse' - sometimes it's just a different way of playing.

Practice is the most important element some players are missing.  If you change your army the way you change your clothes, you simply won't have the experience necessary to compete at a high level through an entire weekend of games.

Obviously, and again it bears saying, some folks have no interest in tournament games or optimized armies - and that's a perfectly viable point of view!  You should enjoy the game your way, regardless.

More Pictures


GMort. said...

The new version of my army is working much better. My issue now is that the new models for units need to fit the theme of the rest of the army. I'll have to come up with something soon though as proxying models is lame...

Brent said...

I'm looking forward to seeing your updated units - you've got one of the tightest schemes I've seen, even now.

I look forward to seeing it, man.


Spaguatyrine said...

I play with 4 daemon players that mainly use the Fatecrusher style. You have obviously done well with your list. I am interested to see if you have played Space Wolves? I play space wolves and the very competitive Daemon players have difficulty with my Space Wolves.

Brent said...

Spaguatyrine: Er... I was hoping someone wouldn't mention that!

The answer is, it depends. I have problems against balanced Space Wolves lists. I've lost the two times I've played the local player, who uses the standard three Long Fangs backed up by lots of Grey Hunters in mech.

In a strange way, I'm always glad to see Thunderwolves. I've yet to lose to 'elite' Wolf builds.

I'd say balanced Wolves are behind Vulcan Marines in the lists I know are going to be a slog. To put it in order...

Vulcan, Space Wolves, Guard, Blood Angels, Eldar, and so on. It depends on the build, of course.

To be fair, Daemons are my most successful army since 13th Co. in 3rd and Orks in 4th.

Brent said...

(Meaning maybe it's just a good fit.)

The_King_Elessar said...

Brent, I needed Stelek's link to get my first experience of Digital Head (No Homo)...but since then, if you aren't in a tab somewhere alongside, then it's because I visited you first (or wasn't interested by the thread title, but that's not common...)

Black Blow Fly said...

It's a common misperception that Daemons are not competitive. I'd go so far as to say they are at the top. Thing is most people can't figure out how to play them. I watched some top players fielding them then it finally clicked. Any army is going to be hurt by bad dice, any army.


GMort. said...

@ Black Blow Fly - The problem I've found with Daemons is that they are slightly more vulnerable to bad dice due to the way your forced to deploy by the 'Daemonic Assault' rules. Part of the appeal of the 'Cavalry' version of my list was that I could deep strike a safe distance from units and still be able to charge them the next turn due to the massive threat range.
Many people at my FLGS were amazed that a so-called competitive gamer (myself) was doing a Daemon army at all. 20+ wins and a draw or 2 later they were forced to reassess their opinions, lol.

Spaguatyrine said...

The reason daemons were made is to beat Space Marines. They take what 90% of space marine players do, and flip it upside down, making it easy for Daemons to wipe out Space Marines. I am kind of the anti-daemon expert in my area. Fatecrusher is one of the most difficult builds for any player not matter how good they are to fight against. I won't discuss tactics here, but I wish I could see more daemon list like yours instead of fatecrusher all the time. :)

Thunderwolves don't do as well against your bloodcrushers, but pop Daemon Princes like balloons.

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