~Don’t sell your soul to the Devil at the Crossroads, you don’t have to give up the fluff to be competitive.~
One of the phrases I dislike the most in Warhammer 40k or any game really is the phrase “I just built this list for fun.” Or it’s sister phrase “This is just a fluffy list.” As though the player of that list needs to find an excuse for a possible loss he might not even have experienced yet. A story driven theme and a list that “pulls no punches” need not be mutually exclusive, we are all here to “have fun”. Too often in our hobby we fall into the trap of letting others intimidate us into believing that when we get to the crossroads of list building we only have two choices: Fluff build or WAAC build (WAAC being another term much maligned and misused but that will be another blog). We do in fact have a third choice, one that blends a story driven list with point efficiency and coverage of battlefield roles to take all comers. Clearly some lists do this better than others, but since we are here to meet the Devil, I will be discussing Chaos Daemons in their various forms and codices.
Tonight though we will turn down the lights and watch out for the monster under the bed. That thing that lurks in the closet of 40k, that hides in dark corners of the room…the fluff bunny. That guy who harasses you for playing more than one Wraithknight, Imperial Knight, Heldrake, or Stormsurge. Let me tell you, this Fluff Bunny has some serious teeth and can really make you rethink how you want to play the game. Don’t let him! Do not allow other players to cause to you buy into some false sense of what a “fluffy list” actually is. Often the “Fluff Bunny” isn’t actually concerned with the fluff at all. He is usually only concerned that his own list builds are inadequate, and plays on “fluff” as an excuse to assuage his own insecurities. Now I am not here to say that no list is ever made to be “Over the Top” or “Purely Competitive”. Obviously these lists exist, but too often many of us are made to feel bad for playing a list that is truly narrative, but does not sacrifice that competitive edge.
Chaos Daemons as an army have an incredible amount of flavor, coupled to some pretty devastating abilities. To be honest, Daemon players have it pretty easy when it comes to making an army narrative. We have the option to be “mono-god” or if we want to play multiple gods the story is clearly defined: Nurgle and Tzeentch are not friends, Slaanesh and Khorne hate each other, any mix in between (including all four) is good to go. The new “Decurion” style formations give us even better options for Daemonic armies that “feel” like oppressive, warp spawned incursions (but more on those later). Tonight I will leave you with a 1650pt Tzeentch Incursion List I played Last week:
Daemonic Incursion – Warhost of the Architect
Daemon Lord: Kairos Fateweaver
Daemon Lord: Lord of Change, Impossible Robe, Lesser Reward x2, Exalted Reward (Grimoire), ML: 2
Daemon Lord: Lord of Change, Paradox, Lesser Reward, Greater Reward x2, ML: 3
Herald of Tzeentch, ML: 2
Exalted Flamers of Tzeentch x4
11 Pink Horrors x2
3 Flamers x3
Daemon Flock: 5 Chaos Furies, Daemons of Tzeentch
This list hits hard, has a very narrative feel, and is tough as nails. The strategy is to keep the two lords of change on the ground to be wrecking balls, while Fateweaver rains fiery hell upon the earth. The obvious “go to” power for this list is Cursed Earth (as it will be for most daemon psykers…but not all!). The LoC with the Impossible Robe gains a native 3++ while using the Grimoire on the other LoC to bring them both to a 3++. Cursed Earth provides a 2++ invulnerable save with re-rolls for each of the Lords. Each LoC should also be using one of their Lesser Rewards for a Staff of Change, increasing their strength to 8 and allowing them to handle vehicle armor in close combat with ease.
The Warpflame host formation should see each Pink Horror squad holding key positions with 2 of each Exalted Flamer embedded in either squad (depending on powers rolled), with the Herald in the unit that most benefits from his powers. The standard flamers in this formation cannot be overlooked either. The +1 str to all warpflame attacks turns the much maligned flamer into a thing to be feared. Don’t be afraid of the “warpflame” drawback, it’s worth the wound output.
The LoC with the Paradox should have rolled all three of his powers on the Malefic Daemonology psychic table, this way he has a better chance at cursed earth, but he should also be trying for the “Incursion” power and, barring that, should trade one out for basic summoning. This way the LoC can use summoning as a weapon, and not just as a way to put bodies on the table. The best units for this are Flamers (from basic summoning) or Screamers (from Incursion). Both of these units are capable of dealing damage on the turn they arrive and fit the Tzeentchian theme.
The Furies are, by far, the weakest unit in the list and will probably die quickly. The idea is to make good use of their quick mobility and use them to corrupt objectives for point scoring opportunities.
This list pulls no punches, either in fluff terms or in sheer ability to brutalize the opponent, and has proved it several times, to Harlequins, to Grey Knights, Ultramarines, Iron Hands and Eldar. Wraithknights can be a problem but even standard imperial knights have a hard time hanging with 2 Lords or, if they get too close to 4d3 Strength 10 shots from the Exalted Flamers.
This has been my very first blog post, I hope you all enjoyed it and I look forward to meeting you at the Crossroads.
- Devil at the Crossroads – Dancing with Competitive Lists - July 14, 2016