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So I've been running the numbers, and to me, I can't see the point in fielding a Daemon prince with any gifts, at all.
The cheapest upgrade combination I see worth using (from a competitive standpoint) is Using a DP with MoN, IH, and NT. That's a 150 pt, 3+ save, T6 critter that wounds on 2+. Or, for 10 more points, I could just have two monstrous creatures.
If you do the math hammer, 20 MEQ bolter shots (a DP's worst nemsis) will do 3 wounds to a plane DP and 1 wound to a powered up one. Obviously special weapons would up the wound count and have a greater impact on the powered up DP. With those numbers, I don't see a reason to not just field 3 Daemon princes plane for 240 pts. for any reasons other than fluff.
Anything else is better done by a Greater Daemon, who, point for point, are tougher and more versatile.
Sure naked DPs are cheaper, but they can't tear through Carnifexes like paper, blow away tanks at range, move enemy models around, and all the other specialized things gifts are for.
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Mandatory caveat before every Daemon post: I'm a mono-Tzeentch player.
I'm not a big fan of DP's. Certain ones have their purpose, and while they're generally "pretty good" at what you want them to do (be it CC, shooting, moving units, etc.) none of them do it as efficiently point for point as the GDs. Further, they're taking up a valuable chunk of points better spent on other choices.
Soulgrinders just seem to perform better in the Heavy slot in most cases.
Even a naked DP isn't all that hot. Sure, it's cheap; but you're not getting a lot of bang for the buck. It lacks the strength, toughness, and save to win combat by itself when naked, and becomes a support CC model; resembling Necron Tomb Spiders (albeit not quite that bad.) And while the numbers on MEQ bolters is apt, that's not the kind of weaponry typically shot at DPs; giving them nothing is just giving your opponent 80 points and a killpoint target.
Further, when naked, they won't move fast enough or have the extra abilities to remove or contest objectives.
That said, DPs can serve as more of a specialty unit. I think the overall point is that you pick what you want your DPs to do and give them just the bare minimum number of gifts to pull it off. If you want them to move units, Pavane is enough. If you want to pick off marines, just give it Gaze. If you want it to be a CC monster, IH, Flight move are a minmum, Strength bonus, MoN, NT and Breath go a long way as well. (Especially true if you're playing an Epidemius list - high cost Nurgle DPs are GREAT for increasing the count and provide a contrast to the super-slow army)
It's all about choices. And, honestly, if you're thinking a naked DP is best for your list, it's time to look at no DP at all.
In my 1500pt list I run 3 DP's woth IH only. This makes them much better at surviving. They are only there for anti tank/dreadnought but mostly to take fire off of my 'letters. People always shoot lots of guns at it which takes the heat off my boys. Sometimes I give them gaze but they start to get a little expensive but my list is based on "if I put enough on the table they can't shoot it all!" If a dreadnought gets into CC with my 'letters you can kiss that squad goodbye
Everyone is corrupted by Chaos, myself more than others!
I actualy never use Dp's with chaos deamons, because bloodcrushers are almost always more usefull then the DP. The only reason why you want too use a DP is that they can use ranged attacks.
the only time i use DPs is to take MoN, IH, NT and DG and use him to up the Tally in an Epidemius list
anything else and i use the Soul Grinder, he's too awesome
In my nurgle list I run 3 fairly expensive princes, as I do with my tzeentch/slaanesh.
I just find that almost any opponent i've faced can crack a soulgrinder seemingly at will.
With 4 wounds I find a soulgrinder priced prince to be more valuable in the heavy slot.
And of course all those great gifts are wonderful on nurgle princes to get the tally rolling.