Mono-God Daemon Tactica - Warhammer 40K Fantasy

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    Senior Member Dr. Paris's Avatar
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    Mono-God Daemon Tactica

    Intro: Guide to the Guide

    This guide is designed to give a brief overview of the Daemon units, and then discuss how to build a mono-god army. This guide really encompasses four distinct army types, and as such, is quite long. I've color coded sections by god to make it easier to navigate to what interests you. The first part is a unit overview, the second discusses some particular units, and three goes into a full blow mono-god analysis. Enjoy!

    Part 1: Unit Analysis

    In most armies, the HQ, Elite, Troop, FA, and HS groups govern how that unit is going to perform. Codex Daemons is slightly unique in that a Daemon's god will have just as much impact on that unit's utility as its unit type. As such, picking what god you want will have just as big an impact (if not larger), than what kind of unit types you place.

    Here's a quick and dirty way to remember the focus of each god:
    Khorne: Power
    Tzeentch: Range
    Nurgle: Toughness
    Slaanesh: Speed

    Mixing and matching these gods will give your army very distinct tactical roles, depending how much of each god you use, and what troops type. It's interesting to note that each god has a 5 types of Daemons: a herald, a greater daemon, elite unit, lesser daemon, and fast attack* (except Nurgle who has Nurglings). The heavy support slots are omni-god choices. In general, each Chaos god has decent heralds, 3 very good units, and one unit that isn't very useful. I guess you might be asking what makes the 4th unit a bad pick, but do that, we'll first look at the three good units from each god.

    Good units: Bloodletters, Flesh Hounds, and Blood Crushers
    Why: Bloodletters are by far the best MEQ killers in the army. Blood Crushers are basically a stronger version of Bloodletters with a 3+ armor save. The excel at taking down other elites, MCs, and vehicles. The two go well together because Bloodcrushers are pretty expensive, and can quickly become overkill. They do have more longevity than the BLs. Bloodletters prove the extra numbers necessary. Flesh hounds round the group out by adding a 24" charge, allowing you to tie up your opponents in time for the rest of your minions to engage.
    Note on HoK: This guy is more expensive than other heralds, but provides a decent priced HQ and can dish out a lot of hurt. Useful in regular games, devastating in small games.

    Good units: Lord of Change, Flamers of Tzeentch, and Horrors
    Why: All of these units essentially have different shoot rolls. Horrors provide the raw firepower, a LoC provides heavy support, and flamers provide special weapons. Flamers in particular are considered especially good due to their small unit sizes and ability deepstrike in small units and deliver and incredible amount of punishment.
    Note on HoT: These guys can provide cheaper tank busting shooting and can plug in gaps you see in the list.

    Good units: Great Unclean One, Plague Bearers, Nurglings
    Why: The GUC is a cheap GD that can wound anything on a 2+ and has FnP. Here's great for that alone. PBs are the only really durable unit Daemons have for under 40 pts. They are really great at just sitting there, which is far more useful than one might imagine. With objectives, PBs can simply sit on a point and easily weather any fire that comes their way short of a demolisher cannon or a torrent of lascannon fire. They also provide a fantastic "anchor" if they're given an icon to bring down the rest of your army.
    Note on HoN: This guy has access to a couple of Nurgle powers you would normally only get with a DP or GUC, as such they provide a nice alternative for getting BoC or Nurgle's rot.

    Good units: Keeper of Secerets, Fiends of Slaanesh, Seekers of Slaanesh
    Why: The KoS is an hth monster, and cheaper than a BT. With a couple of abilities, you will have a frag grenade armed, hit and running GD than can shoot. Because of that and fleet, it's mobile enough to do a lot of damage and hop between combats as needed. Fiends are amazingly tough for a Slaanesh unit, and not too pricey. Three of these will be enough to put a dent in almost any unit. 6 will kill a mob of 30 boyz in 2 round of combat (just in time to charge again!) without suffering too much damage, and will likely cost less. Seekers are similar to Fiends in utility, but cheaper. They're good against armies where like Tau, IG, and Nids where the hoard units are weaker, but still need a lot to take out. A unit of 10 seekers is less than 200 pts and has 50 rending attacks on the charge. Both Fiends and Seekers have 24" charges, allowing you to DS them in or behind cover and still be in range.
    Note on HoS: This herald is probably the best one of the lot due to the incredible power a chariot gives them. for less than half the cost of a basic KoS, you get a herald that will be just was strong, have just as many attacks, and will be able to hit and run. It's so good it's almost broken.

    Part II: Particulars to Starting a Mono-God List

    Many players like to run mono-god armies because it is very fluffy. The Chaos gods all pretty much hate each other (a lot), and only work together when it's too good for them not to. GW, realizing this, added some filler units for each god so you can have a decent mono-god list.

    The Filler Units (i.e. bad units)
    These are the units I mentioned before that are not very useful. They have little flexibility, and only have limited aptitude at whey they're designed to do.


    What's wrong: It's not that this guy is bad, in fact he's good, really good, too good. For the most part, there's nothing a BT can do that can't be accomplished for cheaper. As such, BTs will often find themselves with few useful targets, and will be in the crosshairs of every large gun on the enemy line.
    Why it's useful in a mono-god list: The BT can overcome with brute force and toughness what Khorne lacks in ranged attackes and speed. A bit is fast enough to reach the back of the enemy lines, tough enough to shrug off hits, and fierce to kill whatever it reaches. He's a good landraider or Wraithlord counter, and can reach that basilik in the corner that's killing all your units.

    What's wrong: This unit is terrible at its job. It's designed to be a meltabomb on a jet bike. Not bad as you can rip right through that back armor. However, these guys are pricey, fragile, and can't do what they're meant to the first turn. Also, as most vehicles are AV10 in the rear, a charging BL can also penetrate and has multiple attempts at doing so. Also, they're not worth their points unless there's armor on the table, and many other units, especially GDs and DPs, can tear a vehicle in two. Screamers also will be hard pressed to kill walkers.
    Why it's useful in mono-god lists: I've seen a Leman Russ get shot at by Str 8 weapons all day and not even get scratched. While the KoS is an MC, his T5 makes him woefully fragile to bolter fire. The same goes for Tzeentchy DPs. Both of these MCs are better off fighting troops and shooting. A couple of small units of Screamers can fill that niche. Also, with their 24" move, they can assault support or distant units at least tie them up or contest objectives.

    What's wrong: As slow as a PB, double the cost, and not scoring. Just not much you can do with them a PB can't do just as well.
    Why it's useful in mono-god lists: Nurgle units, overall, cannot put up a lot of attacks. Beasts can. They'll average 3~4 attacks a pop, and that can add up very quickly. When you just need to pile on the wounds, these guys help immensely. The poisoned and nox touch help as well.

    What's wrong: Even with fleet, you have to hope you get a great DS role or they will be too far away to assault in a turn, or too close and be in rapid fire range. Daemonettes are like guardsmen with a 5+ invlun when they're being shot at, and if you've seen guardsmen get shot, you know they don't last long. It doesn't help your Dameons are also more than double the cost. Daemonettes are a little too slow and fragile. For just 3 more points you can make take the uber good Seekers.
    Why it's useful in mono-god lists: You have to have troops. Pure and simple. You need scoring units. Take big mobs of them and stay in cover. If you're facing a horde, they're also not bad at countering numbers.

    Making a Mono-God Army that Works
    Daemons were designed to be competitive as a mixed god army. There's no real way around this. If you're going for a list that is going to win you a tournament or league, you're probably going to have to mix it up. However, that does not mean you still can't make a winning list that will be competitive, or at least challenge, most opponents.

    To that end, these are some general guidelines and ideas to help you build a good Mono-God list. Again, look to the Daemons forum or specific army lists for particulars. This is framework to help you start thinking in the right direction.

    Part III: Mono-God Army Analysis

    Blood for the Blood God! Mono-Khorne List

    FoC Breakdown
    HQ: Khorne HQ, despite how strong they are, is really best thought as "what kind of defensive counters will I need to face my opponent.". As I stated previously, Khorne HQ is the brute force of your army you need to overcome something nasty your opponent throws at you, like a couple of Wraithlords for example. These guys aren't elegant, tactical solutions to your opponents troops, they're just so big and mean they kill anything. The trick here is to not hamstring yourself on points. Two BTs cost 500 pts, or a third of your army. HoKs are a good substitute and add more attacks, but aren't the catch-all counter of a BT. It's weird to think of a BT as a defensive unit, but that's really what it is, a catch-all counter to your opponent. The spearhead of your unit is going to be....
    Elite: BCs are very nasty, and should scare the crap out of your opponent. In an assualt, these guys are the tip of the spear. Because of the Eternal Warrior rule, W2, T5, and good armor, these guys make an excellent shock unit. A couple of these units carrying an icon are a good candidate for the first wave of your daemonic assault. They'll likely survive the turn of shooting mostly in tact, and even if they take heavy casualties, will still be force to be reckoned with. The icons will allow you to strategically D/S your BLs where you want them to form the second wave. Be wary of a bad BC deepstrike though. These guys move at normal speeds and cost as much as terminators. If done correctly, they will provide your foothold and anchor for the main assault.
    Troops: BLs are the backbone of your force, and will probably end up doing most of the killing. You want to set these guys up such that they will take minimal casualties, and most importantly, BLs must get the charge. FC adds so much to your BL's abilities, especially against MEQs. The BL's lake of assault grenades can be an issue, so be aware of charging units in cover.
    FA: If BCs are the tip of the spear, FH's are the hooked edges that get your blade dug in. As a flanking unit, heir real forte is not so much in their killing power, but in their speed. 24" charge will be vital toward tying up enemy support. Your BLs will gradually roll over an army, but if your opponent has split his force or uses small units, you'll find your BLs stranded and at the mercy of support fire. FH's can move fast enough to plug this gap. Their lack of power weapon attacks makes them less lethal though, so be aware they will not be taking down much.
    HS: SGoCs are a good choice for a Khorne army. They will add badly needed fire support you won't have otherwise. DPoK aren't bad, but a herald on a chariot is really just as good and cheaper. Since you can't take shooting attacks with the MoK, DPs become redundent next to BTs. Consider these guys if you want Demonzilla.
    Special Characters: Khorne has 3 characters to choose from. The Skulltaker is very costly for what he does. He was amazing in 4th Ed, but with the rending nurf, he's best left if you think you'll be facing big stuff you want to wound easily or insta-kill. Skarbrand is very costly. His power is very cool, but can hurt you as much as help you. If you want a particularly bloody game, he's a good pick, but don't expect the win. Karnak is great. He's a touch expensive, but will give a kick to your hounds, and his "Move Through Cover" rule will come in handy when your trying to make that long charge through cover to the enemy.

    Mono-Khorne in Action
    Daemonic Assault: It's your prerogative as always, but I feel that BC and HoK with icons, then BTs should be at the top of your list for turn 1 dropping. FH's third, and BLs last.
    Battle Plan: You want the BT/BC/FH combo to tie up and distract as much of the army as possible. When your BLs come in, that's when you begin to massacre your opponent. There's really nothing as good as Khorne in hth point for point. If you can deliver your BLs into combat with 75%+ of them in tact, you will likely win the game.
    Weak points: You are totally at the mercy of your opponents shooting. You can hope for a good D/S or poor rolls on his part, but ultimately, you just have to grit your teeth and weather the shooting. Hopefully the BT and FH groups will get through. Once you have your foothold, it's all over, and if you don''s all over. Highly mobile armies like Tau, Eldar, and Veiling Necrons can also leave you high and dry. Remember, lock your opponent down in HtH and get the charge, and you will win.

    Everything leads to change. Mono-Tzeentch Army
    Special Note on Tzeentch: Tzeentch armies are not my forte. This is complied by lurking on the forum and advice by other people. I also consider Mono-Tzeentch to be possibly the toughest mono-god army to play. Hope this helps, but take it with a grain of salt.

    FoC Breakdown
    HQ: LoCs are like a giant MC gunboat in my mind. They come kitted out with enough powers and speed to put a lot of nasty firepower into just about anything. Consider for these guys BoC, BoM, and maybe WaL if you want to be able to shoot at multipul units. Watch the points cost. LoCs are the weakest of the 4 GDs and cost just as much as a Bt. Heralds give you more mobility and the same amount of shooty for the price. These guys work well on disks or chariots and allow you additional spells. In your mono-god list, if you go heavy on DPs, HoTs are a good choice, otherwise you'll want/need a LoC.
    Elite: Flamers are a phenomenal Tzeentch unit. This will provide you the MEQ killing you need to do well. Because of their cost and the way these guys DS, you want to consider small groups so your BoC templates can all be used, or large groups for power and survivability. I wouldn't go mid-sized. You'll always want to max out your elites with at least 3 squads of 3 flamers. They're too good to pass up and give you MEQ (and 2+ armor) killing you won't have otherwise.
    Troops: So horrors are a tough unit to use as the backbone of your force. This is what makes Mono-Tzeentch difficult. These guys are more support than core. That being said, you do have the advantage of being able to DS and stay on objectives while still shooting. If you place some objectives strategically in the open, your Horrors will be able to hold them (due to their lovely 4+) and create a wonderful no man's land for your opponent. You need your horrors to always be more than 12" away, otherwise you'll be assaulted or rapid fired to death. Don't be afraid to retreat with these guys, you want to maximize the firepower they're putting out. BoT is a good choice if you feel that screamers won't be enough, but otherwise leave it at home.
    FA: Screamers are your anti-tank, pure and simple. Use them as an insurance plan against armor. Be aware that you'll need 6's to hit walkers, so bring an MC for that. Also, with screamers, you can forgo using BoT, which is an expensive spell.
    HS: This, in my opinion, is the section that will make or break you Tzeentch list. You need something to serve as a meat shield and hth counter. Unlike the other armies, Tzeentch cannot fight well in hth, and a DP is your only affordable recourse here. Shooty DPs are also good, consider BoM and DGaze, just keep them below 150 pts. You want quantity, not quality with them.
    Special Characters: Tzeentch has 3, and they're all pretty good. The Fateweaver can make an army. If he is flanked by a gibbering hoard of Horrors, you will have an amazing shooty army. If he gets shot and bolts, you're out a lot of points. Blue Scribes are unpredictable, but fun and well priced for all the spells they possess. Good with a squad of horrors. The Changling is a must. He's dirt cheap and has a cool power. Always take him unless you have an aversion to special characters.

    Mono-Tzeentch in Action
    Daemonic Assault: Unlike the rest of the gods, Tzeentch armies are able to deal damage on the turn they drop. So what you choose isn't so important as how you place it. Bad scatters can put you in hth or rapid fire range. Try to get your horrors in that sweet 12~18" range. Flamers you want as close as you feel comfortable. The rest can be dropped at range with no issue. I'd say what you choose is dependent on the opponent. Hoarde armies are going to want the horrors down first, MEQs may require the MCs. I think Flamers are always a good candidate for a first turn drop as they can decimate fire support squads and force your opponent to deal with them rather than the bulk of your force. They're a good bait and switch, and the bait has one hell of bite.
    Battle Plan: More than any other army, you have to be think very tactically and look ahead a few turns (very Tzeentchy) . The trick will be keep your opponent from assaulting your horrors and getting max damage from your flamers. The horrors have enough firepower to whittle down your opponent, and flamers do more damage the long they are around. Your screamers have set mission. If you take gunboat MCs, use them carefully. They can do a lot of damage, but die just as fast. Some things to consider are spamming Boon. If you have 5 or 6 models that can cast it, you can drop Chaos spawn left and right. Very useful.
    Weak points: Tzeentch is the most ancillary of the gods. His units are really designed to shoot and soften up your opponent for the other Daemons. Using him straight means you have to be very clever with how you use this army, otherwise it will fall apart quickly. This is a challenging list to play, but it will definitely make you a better player.

    Embrace Father Nurgle. Mono-Nurgle List

    FoC Breakdown:
    HQ: The GUC is really where it's at for Nurgle. Being the cheapest of the GDs, having Nox Tough, and FnP makes him great for his cost. All you really need is to drop the 5 pts for the off/def grenade option and you're good to go. The GUC is your standard catch-all for a Nurgle list. Nurgle suffers from a lack of killing power, and a GUC helps with this. He's also great against MCs or other very tough critters. The Herald is good for his points, and the palanquin helps a little. Heralds will add some extra power to your PB untis, but I feel that unless there's some chaos power you want, go with two GUCs.
    Elite: Beasts, like the GUC, will add the attacks you want in a mono-nurgle list. While somewhat unpredictable, these guys will help you pile up the body count.
    Troops: The great thing about running a mono-Nurgle list is that you get all the PBs you can handle. These guys are one of the best scoring units in the game. Fearless, with FnP and an invuln save make them incredibly difficult to kill. They're also good in kill points for the same reason. You'll want 3~4 untis in your list. Nurglings are wondeful little swarming units that can't be insta-killed. While you should be typically able to kill most thing with a Daemon army, being able to tie your opponent up with Nurglings is never a bad call.
    FA: None! If you really want a flanking unit, consider Furies, though I feel they're terrible for what they do. Use only for fluff reaons.
    Heavy: Nurgle DPs are great. T6 and Nox Touch are a cheap combo to add on. DPs with the MoN are considered by many to be the best type due to the T6 giving your DP much more longevity against bolter fire. This is one of the few times I'd consider giving a DP wings. Since Nurgle is all SnP, it helps them immensly to have a fast unit. SGoCs are ok, but I feel the DP really overshadows them in this case.
    Special Characters: Nurgle gets 2 with Kulgath and Epidemius. I have a special section devoted to Epidemius below due to his Tally ability. Kulgath is a mixed bag. He spawns Nurglings, is a better GUC, and has Necrotic missiles, which are great. Problem is he costs almost as much as 2 GUCs. Consider for larger games.

    Mono-Nurlge in Action
    Daemonic Assault: My personal preference is to have the PBs drop first. With icons and their natural resilience, they should hold up and help bring down the rest of the army. GUCs next, then Beasts, and Nurglings last. Epidemius should always be held in reserve if you take him.
    Battle Plan: This is a very straightforward army. You're tough, you're slow, just move toward the enemy.
    Weakness: You're slow, very slow. As such, Nurgle can be easily out-maneuvered. You will also fine very strong elites tend to give Nurgle issues, especially for PBs. I've seen a Dreadnaught and a chapter master with a powerfist kill and entire unit of 20 in 4 turns of combat.

    Special Note on an Epidemius List:
    So this guy is unique among special characters due to his Tally, which effectively legionizes your army. While most Mono-lists I don't consider super competitive, this one is if played right. Things to keep in mind for this one is you want to get that tally up as fast as possible. One way to do that is drop 3 DPs with MoN and DGaze in the initial assault. You'll start racking up casualties very quickly. The other thing to remember is that Nurglings become gods once you reach the upper body count levels. Epidemius should be kept out of the action as much as possible. He's an ok fighter, but if he dies, the tally is over. Use DPs and GUCs to get the body count rolling, and then spam PBs and Nurglings hard to mow your opponent down. Once you hit that magical 20, your opponent will either have to run or pray for victory.

    Your Desire Will be Your Downfall... Mono-Slaanesh List

    FoC Breakdown
    HQ: Slaanesh HQ is some of the best in the Daemon army. Both the KoS and HoS can have the hit and run ability. This allows you to selectively charge and disengage your opponents such that you can hop your way through an entire army under the cover of HtH. Aura will also be very helpful. In think in a Mono-Slaanesh army, one KoS is a must to get those MC attacks and to have something tougher out there. The HoS is a real monster in a chariot. For the price, two of them are not a bad deal at around 200 pts. Your opponent will be horrified at how good they are.
    Elite: Fiends will end up being your shock units, but require more finesse than BCs. Because of the 24" charge coupled with the hit and run, Fiends should be considered units who will soften up the army enough to let the Daemonettes take over.
    Troops: If your Daemonettes get to CC, they're fine, but you have to get them there first. Their frailty will mean you'll have to be very careful with how you DS them, and I would consider putting them far enough away from combat to avoid being rapid fired. As they're a little cheaper, you should be able to field more of them, and their attacks make them very good against hoard lists.
    FA: Seekers are vile for what they do. These ladies will put serious hurt on your opponents flanks. Slaanesh has the best FA in the army, use them in abudence.
    HS: Since all of Slaanesh has rending, high toughness isn't an issue. Slaaneshy DPs can add shooting, or Paven if you feel up to spending the points. Their toughness will also help the army. SGoC aren't as useful because the army will quickly outpace them and has enough attacks that SGoCs aren't as immediatly useful. I think DPs are a better choice due to their toughness.
    Special Characters: The Masque is Slaanesh's lone special character. Her ability to paven half an army isn't bad, but compared to how obscene a regular HoS is, she's not that great in Mono-Slaanesh. DPoS can also hit with a 2+ on Paven. She's better in mixed armies that don't move as fast.

    Mono-Slaanesh in Action

    Daemonic Assault: You want your quick units, Fiends and Seekers, down first. With musk and aura, both units will be fine on their own with second turn charges. DPs and KoS's next. Daemonettes last. Hopefully your crab ladies won't have to worry about being shot too much at this point.
    Battle Plan: You are faster, your army can hit and run and has offensive/defensive grenades, meaning you will go first and have no fear of being charged. All you have to do is deny shooting and not get outclassed by high toughness units like Plague Marines. Paven can help, but is very overpriced and weak compared to its brother in the CSM army. Like Khorn, lock up the army, then have your troops move in for the kill.
    Weaknesses: Lasguns are dangerous to your units, bolters are deadly. Avoid shooting like the plague. If you get caught by even a couple of enemy units with rapid fire, your daemons will fall quickly. You're fast enough not to let this happen. Finesse will be very important in the early turns of the game.

    End Note: Mixing and Matching

    Daemons is really about taking very disparate units and turning them into a machine of destruction. This little guide highlights those units that are good at what they do and why, and how to use the not so good ones to make a decent mono-god army. Other guides into more depth about mixed armies.

    Remember, we are from the nightmares of mortals, and they are just pawns for our masters.

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    Member Meetha's Avatar
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    nice work. issit finished? or still in progress?

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    Herald of Chaos Tyrius's Avatar
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    This is pretty biased(in that its only in theory not actual game play). If you want a very in depth look at daemons check out Stelek's Daemon review.

    Stelek's 40k Daemons of Chaos Review
    My upcoming blog in the works:

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