Lessons Learned: Chaos Marines & Chaos Daemons

Chaos StarI don’t often play a list more than once, at least not the exact same list, yet in prepping for the Standoff this year I played my list a lot and I came away with some insights that some may find useful with Chaos Marines.

Last month I went over Chaos Marine squads so I won’t reiterate everything I said there. In short, they are a cheap (relatively speaking), scoring unit that does their job well. Check out that linked article for more info on my thoughts with them.

Daemon Prince Ghostwrath
Daemon Prince Ghostwrath

Daemon Princes are still viable, at least the flying variety. One of my favorite setups in the last codex was two Daemon Princes. They just scream Chaos to me. I did this in 5th before they were flying and continued briefly into 6th until the new Chaos codex. With the new codex and the loss of eternal warrior I sadly set them on the shelf. For this tournament though I brought them back out and they did very well for me.

The big thing with these guys is to make sure they are not the only fast threat to your opponent. If your whole army sits back and shoots and you have one flying Prince, well that Prince is toast. If you have two Princes then the odds get better. If you add in other fast moving threats then the odds are very good the Princes will do their job.

Chaos Marines vs Orks
My Daemon Prince Darktide taking on a ton of Boyz.

Speaking of the job of a Prince, it’s simple, smash things. I have run the super expensive variety that’s M3 with all the trimmings and though it’s fun, it’s not the most efficient use of points in my experience. If you want some psyker support then grab a Sorcerer. My Chaos Marines Prince gets his mark, I’m fond of Tzeentch, armor and wings. His job is to get into units and destroy them or smash a tank or two and that’s all he needs for that job.

I also found I really like the setup of Princes from the Daemons codex, especially in the role of being a melee threat. Daemons get access to rewards so you can easily, though randomly, get rewards to increase your survivability. Getting the extra wound with it will not die is great, a that 4+ FNP or the Grimoire. Overall you can’t go wrong with rewards and they go a long way to keeping a Prince alive. If you want a psyker Prince though then I suggest the Chaos Marine Princes for the spell familiar.

HeldrakeA big deviation for me in running this list was not having a Heldrake. I had come to rely on that bad boy. By not using the Heldrake I had points to spend in more fast unit saturation to help ensure something of mine hit the enemy lines and caused havoc, ultimately being more valuable with this particular list of mine. I already had two flying Princes to try to deal with enemy flyers and I may not have had the ability to nearly wholesale remove entire squads with a baleflamer but I could keep squads locked up in combat, thus allowing me to position my scoring units. So, while I do love the Heldrake I did find I can survive without it too.

Disciples of TwilightMy other big take-away from all this was using Daemons as allies. I avoided it forever for various reasons I’ve mentioned but they work really well with Chaos Marines, unsurprising I suppose. With access to lots of cheap bodies, and some very effective for their cost (IE: Flesh Hounds of Khorne), it helped offset my very top-heavy list. I’m going to be looking more in-depth at Daemons going forward and continuing to try to use them to fill gaps in my lists.

I’m sure I could ramble on and on but I’ll leave it there. It was nice to play a list enough to really come to understand the nuances of it and I did much better gaming as a result. I took away a lot in play testing and now I’m anxious to work on some new lists and apply what I’ve learned.

  • khorneinquisitor

    I agree with your analysis of Daemon Princes. I have trouble dumping that many points into them though… I like psykers too much and then they just cost too much.

    Daemons are a tough balance, they really are. I think a squad of plaguebearers would have been better that way you could have something to tear down those really high T monsters. It’s one of those things that takes practice. Luckily, between me and hippie, we have enough t field any kind of Daemon force you could ever think of. :P

    • You often field a Thirster @ 250pts base and that’s what a Prince runs me with armor, wings and 2 x greater rewards. I’m not comparing the two with regards to which is better, just showing you that you spend similar points, more if you’re getting rewards, as a relatively tooled up Prince. The only difference is the Prince starts off cheaper and then you’re adding on 100pts to him where the Thirster starts expensive already and you’re adding a few points. Matter of perspective I guess.

      I think my next Daemon investment will be Daemonettes. It’s hard to field Bloodletters when I can field Daemonettes cheaper and they fit my style of play more. Plaguebearers are useful, no doubt, but they don’t fit into my typical army of lots of fast stuff. I could see using them when I go for a more Nurgle theme with my Plague Marines but not my typical lists.

      • khorneinquisitor

        Yes, I just have trouble limiting the daemon princes. Lack of self control…must.put.everything.on.prince. :).

        Yes, I have daemonettes. They haven’t hit the table in months. I keep them as a “maybe someday” unit and they will probably in the future. Just tough to keep my khorne theme with daemonettes…y’know.

        I think my next daemons I buy will be Be’Lakor (because he IS an awesome model) and start experimenting with new stuff- ie fiends, beasts, flamers, and drones. However, there are still a LOT of CSM stuff I need to try. My next big thing, which technically is a daemon, will be a defiler.

        • I like Defilers but they aren’t the most point efficient choice. Then again, who cares? Most of the stuff I enjoy fielding isn’t point efficient anyway. My advice is to use him for the battle cannon and hold him back for counter attacking. He may have fleet, a ton of attacks (for a walker), and a 5++ but that AV12 is his undoing.

          • khorneinquisitor

            I know they aren’t the best. However, I do like walkers. Plus a ton of conversion options. I have seen some pretty awesome soulgrinder –> Defiler conversions that can work as either, however I like the dark mechanicum look of GW defilers. Have you ever run him with 4x powerfists as he cannot fire anything but the battle cannon in a single turn.

            • He comes with 2 x power fists and you can add a third on for free by replacing the reaper. Additionally you can replace the heavy flamer for a power scourge. I’m just being nit-picky :)

              When I first started fielding him with the new codex I ran him that way but lately, though I have not fielded him much these days, I kept the reaper on him. Remember, you can still snap-fire the reaper when you fire the battle cannon. Not great but not terrible with 2 shots that are twin-linked. I also keep it as a chance at shooting flyers.

              The Power Scourge just isn’t worth it. It’s 25pts and situational. But, if you wanted a bit more punch in combat then getting that 3rd first isn’t bad, swapping out the reaper. I just like having options and keep the reaper.

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