Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pondering the Daemons, and a Digression, and Raptor Builds a List While You Watch

Again, I've dropped the Daemons for a bit, and I find my thoughts returning to them as I ponder armies.

On the one hand, the not-so-well-written codices usually have one cream-of-the-crop per slot. I mean, Tau, for example. HQ? I have a beefier Crisis Suit, I have a guy that lets my enemy run me off the board, and a couple of expensive, quirky HQ choices. Elites? Crisis Suits > Stealth Suits, as far as I'm concerned, for the gaps they fill. Troops? Kroot > Fire Warriors, except the FW are compulsory, so I deal. It does a hell of a job of taking some of the thought out of an army.

Back to Daemons, then.

I think I'm about done with the Heavy Support section of the codex. I think the Soul Grinder is a sweet model, but with it being the only tank in the army, and one of potentially 5 large targets? If the other guy brought enough anti-tank weapons, it's going to get smoked.

Daemon Prince? He's expensive, still one of potentially 5 costly monstrous creatures, and...just not that mobile. There's only so much I can do for durability; do I go for T6 with a 3+/5+, or T5 with a -/4+? One dies to anti-tank weapons en masse, and the other can get gunned down by small arms.

When you get down to it, monstrous creatures usually have more durability than they do lethality, and it's an issue of making it cost-effective to spam them and have a durable army. Wounds w/ invulnerable saves and high toughness often beat out armor value.

The Greater Daemons are sweet, but bloody expensive. I've toyed around with double-Thirsters and some small units of Bloodcrushers, but the former are bloody costly (285 a head) and the latter are...slow. Like, real slow. Then it was Soul Grinders and/or Daemon Princes, and a few troops to suit.

Bottom line? 5 expensive monsters just isn't enough to base an army on.

So, what then? As far as the no-brainer part goes, Fiends are ALWAYS in my army. They just win for the elite slot for their speed. I don't feel bad about trying to make daemons as nasty as possible, just because all the issues they can have with dice. So, Fiends knock out about...lesse, I take 15-18 of them and at 30 a head, it's 450-540 points of the army.

Then there's HQs. Chances are it's going to be a Herald of some sort. I like Tzeentch heralds for shootiness/speed, but the Slaaneshi herald isn't bad for speed.

Troops? Plaguebearers. If it's not them, then it's spam of something else; probably Bloodletters. Daemonettes are far too reliant on the rend, and aren't exactly durable. Horrors are...neat, but not really that durable. Plaguebearers don't do much more than take up space, but they are very good at that.

So, what's my army look like with 3 maxed-out Fiend units and four 5-man plaguebearer squads?

840 points. I usually play 1850, so I've got a little over a thousand points to play with.

I've got a couple troop slots left, my HQ slots, and my fast attack. Daemon Princes and Soul Grinders just have 'SHOOT ME HERE' signs on them, and I sold off my Grinders. I like 'em; I just don't play them.

Well, the current Stelek tech on daemons involves Khorne dogs and Slaaneshi heralds in addition to the fiends and plaguebearers.

Here's a Digression For You, and perhaps Food For Thought
This is something I've kicked around a bit. I don't want to be a purely a parrot here. My goal with this blog is to contribute to the 40k Blog-O-Sphere and occasionally entertain. Contributions include my own analysis, links to useful information, interesting things I've done, and the like.

But, some people just have well thought-out reasons for doing stuff. My Eldar have been pretty well influenced by folks like Elessar, Dverning, and probably others I'm forgetting. Stelek is obviously an influence. Yet, sometimes I wonder if I'm just sponging off others.

I try to really kick around and analyze what I read. I mean, why would Dverning recommend the DAVU (Dire Avenger Vehicle Upgrade) and Holo-Fields? I thought Holo-fields were a waste for a while. Then...I tried them, and they're staying. (Plus, if you write about what the guy knows, he's good for a critique. God knows both Elessar and Dverning have kept me honest on Eldar articles I submit to FTW).

But, I find myself often agreeing, and I feel occasionally like I'm 'net-decking.' The term is "I STOLED TEH TECH FROM TEH INTERWEBS!" But, the right list is only part of the equation.

Realizing why it's built the way it's built, and figuring out how to play it is a totally different affair, one that only comes from practice.

My Daemons started out as a conversion project, and will remain one. On the other hand, I want a nasty build. I started out with Skarbrand + Fateweaver, and then...well, Fateweaver got shot up and ran away, and I realized that made me sad. (Hey. Look. When YOUR 333 point guy falls off the board after one wound and a botched ld check, you see how it makes YOU feel). They went through MC-Spam time. They went through Bloodcrusher spam. (DEAR GOD IS IT SLOW? IT IS. IT IS SLOW)

But, I'm getting back to things...

Wasn't I talking about Daemons a minute ago?
Yes. Yes, I was, and talking about where to go with them. With my hardass scoring core and my little choppy things, I have 1010 points left. If you're visual, the list looks like:

6 Fiends (180)
6 Fiends (180)
6 Fiends (180)
5 Plaguebearers (75)
5 Plaguebearers (75)
5 Plaguebearers (75)
5 Plaguebearers (75)

Total: 840

So, those headquarter units...
Well, right now I have a running, choppy core. I'm not taking Greater Daemons, because they're just freaking expensive, and big targets. Much as I'd probably enjoy converting up another one, there's always the part where they get shot to bits and stuff. Sad day, I know.

So, Heralds. Khorne Heralds are killy but slow. Nurgle Heralds are...not to be spoken of in this blog. They are crap. Not in the sense that Nurgle is pestilent, pustilent nastiness and fecal matter, but crap in terms of rules. They're slow, expensive, costly, not very lethal, and cannot score. That leaves me with the Tzeentch Herald and the Slaanesh Herald.

Tzeentch Herald
-Chariot + Bolt of Tzeentch + Master of Sorcery + Soul Devourer

What's he do? Move fast, put out a torrent of fire, maybe menace vehicles, and sling a power weapon around with furious charge and a truly stupid 5 T4 wounds. I could take 'We Are Legion' over Soul Devourer and save 10 points, but sometimes hiding in melee and/or cutting down lightweight troops on the charge is probably worth more in terms of capability than multi-targeting. Big whoop, I tried to shoot a vehicle and tried to light up your infantry.

Slaaneshi Herald
-Chariot, Soporific Musk, Unholy Might

What's she do? Move 6", Fleet, then charge 12" (like a FIEND!) 6 attacks base, up to S4 with the Unholy Might (S5 on the charge with Furious Charge), five T4 wounds with a 4+/5+, and a respectable WS5 and I7(8). Oh, and GRENADES. Keep that I8 on the charge. Basically, she's a heftier Fiend that costs as much as 3, but can do the all-important lockdown. She might even beat up a dread before ping-ponging away from it. Huzzah!

So, these are my HQ choices. Basically, it's 2-4 of either one, just for sake of redundancy and capability. This is kind of a toughie, so...I'll hold off. Honestly, I like how my Tzeentch heralds do, and folks get scared of their shooting. I mean, it' Shooting?

That leaves me with 3 fast attack slots. They'll pretty much be clones of each other. I have four fast attack choices:
-Khorne Dogs (...ok, ok, Flesh Hounds)
-Seekers of Slaanesh (Glad this is a conversion project...)
-Screamers of Tzeentch (...not versatile enough, but it would be funny to convert them as cruise missiles)
-Furies (...short-bus assault marines, anyone?)

So, choices...
Flesh Hounds are 15 a head. WS4, S4, T4, 5+ save. They have Furious Charge, and are beasts, so they're pretty swift. T4 with a 5+ is about as durable as it gets for this army, honestly. One guy can get Rending, and one squad can get Karanak for some Move Through Cover lovin' and more rending action.

Seekers are 17 a head. WS4, S3, T3, I6, 4 attacks, and 5+. Less durable than Flesh Hounds. Again, we get the slaaneshi reliance on rending. However, the Fiends and Heralds actually have a slightly more respectable strength. For the same reason as I'm leery of Daemonettes, I'm unlikely to take them. THey're on par with Flesh Hounds for speed, but more costly and less reliable with wounding. Hounds can at least try to beat down regular vehicles with S5 hits to the rear.

Furies? Different type of speed; they get a 12" move and 6" assault. Beasts/Cav get 6+d6+12, which is potentially longer, but potentially hosed in terrain. That aside, though, Furies are more craptastic in melee. WS3, S4, I3, 2 attacks. At least they're T4 with a 5+, but still....I really am not feeling them. They can attempt to glance up vehicles, and maybe sling enough wounds to drop troops, but...nah.

So, it comes to Seekers and Hounds. Let's compare...I'll take 9 hounds at 135 to 8 Seekers at 136. I'm sure that one point's a big difference.

So, on the charge:
Hounds: 27 WS4, S5 attacks
Seekers: 40 WS4, S3 Rending attacks

So, hitting on 4+:
Hounds: 13.5 hits
T6: 4.5 wounds
T5: 6.75 wounds
T4: 9 Wounds
T3: 11.25 wounds
AV10: 2.25 Glances, 2.25 Pens

Seekers: 20 hits
T6: 3.33 rends
T5: 3.33 rends
T4: 3.33 rends, 3.33 wounds
T3: 3.33 rends, 6.66 wounds
AV10: 1.11 Glances, 2.22 Pens

Hmm. Seekers win against monstrous creatures, just based on the rending. Against T5, seekers get the rending love, but also are reliant on it. Hounds crank out a reasonably respectable 6.75 wounds, which might mean a couple get in on stuff without FNP. With it? Ugh. So, T4...depends on the armor. Hounds inflict more wounds, but seekers crank out more rends. If it's Orks, you want the Hounds. If it's armored folks...Seekers might do better. Vs T3, hounds do slightly more wounds, but there's that rending again.

So, after the charge...since we have Furious Charge to account for.

Hounds: 9 hits at S4
Vs T6: 1.5 wounds
Vs T5: 3 wounds
Vs T4: 4.5 wounds
Vs T3: 6 wounds
Vs AV10: 1.5 glances

Seekers: 16 hits at S3, Rending
Vs T6: 2.667 rends
Vs T5: 2.667 rends
Vs T4: 2.667 rends, 2.667 wounds
Vs T3: 2.667 rends, 5.33 wounds
Vs AV10: 0.88 pens, 1.6 glances

Without the Furious charge, the hounds are worse off against more durable targets. Rending carries Seekers through a bit more, and lets them still penetrate vehicles.

So, durability? Simple. Hounds are cheaper, and more durable. If it wounds you on a 2+, you have the same save, and Hounds can get more wounds.

Speed: Equal (Unless Karanak grants Move Through Cover)
Durability: Hounds
Cost: Hounds
Initiative: Seekers all the way, including grenades.
Dependance on Charge: Hounds
Reliance on Dice/Rending: Seekers
Lethality: Close; Depends on Charge

So, they're a bit neck-and-neck. However...I'm kind of leaning towards the hounds. It's the durability that's probably doing it. I mean, the enemy has a turn of shooting at you, and can potentially tag a heap of you with a template if you don't get a good run roll on the landing. The Hounds are similarly lethal, cheaper, and more durable.

And, hounds are NOT going to epic-fail as much if I can't roll sixes. I can always get it on the Seize the Initiative, though. Great talent when playing daemons, isn't it?

So...let's say I go the assaulty road. I have a heap of points to add to the list.

So, I add 3 Heralds of Slaanesh, and three 12-strong Khorne Dog units (one of which takes Karanak. Just because).

The List So Far...
Herald of Slaanesh (Chariot, Unholy Might, Soporific Musk) 90
Herald of Slaanesh (Chariot, Unholy Might, Soporific Musk) 90
Herald of Slaanesh (Chariot, Unholy Might, Soporific Musk) 90
6 Fiends (180)
6 Fiends (180)
6 Fiends (180)
5 Plaguebearers (75)
5 Plaguebearers (75)
5 Plaguebearers (75)
5 Plaguebearers (75)
12 Fleshounds, 1x Fury of Khorne (190)
12 Fleshounds, 1x Fury of Khorne (190)
12 Fleshounds, 1x Fury of Khorne (225)

Total: 1715
13 Units

Hmm. I have 135 points to play around with. What can I get with that? I could always bulk up the Khorne Dog squads. I could probably stand to get another score-bearer squad, which eats up 75 points and leaves me with 60 points. I could alternatively get Herald #4, which takes 90/135, and leaves me with 45, which gets me 3 more Khorne Dogs, and neatly closes out the list. Either option puts me up to 14 units, giving me 7 in a wave. I could almost go for some symmetry here in the way the list is set up.

Honestly, I think I'd rather err on the side of scoring units. So, 5 more Plaguebearers, and 60 points remaining. I should spend all 60 on more Hounds, probably, but...I'm going to probably be converting the Hounds out of Dire Wolves or Chaos Hounds, which are 10 per pack, and that would put me just over the 40 hounds I get out of 4 boxes. So, y'know what? BAM. Transfixing Gaze on the Heralds.

Maybe the Final List? Maybe.
Herald of Slaanesh (Chariot, Unholy Might, Soporific Musk, Transfixing Gaze) 95
Herald of Slaanesh (Chariot, Unholy Might, Soporific Musk, Transfixing Gaze) 95
Herald of Slaanesh (Chariot, Unholy Might, Soporific Musk, Transfixing Gaze) 95
6 Fiends (180)
6 Fiends (180)
6 Fiends (180)
5 Plaguebearers (75)
5 Plaguebearers (75)
5 Plaguebearers (75)
5 Plaguebearers (75)
5 Plaguebearers (75)
13 Fleshounds, 1x Fury of Khorne (205)
13 Fleshounds, 1x Fury of Khorne (205)
13 Fleshounds, 1x Fury of Khorne (240)
Total: 1850
14 Units; 5 Troops, Lots of Speed.

If I went instead with Seekers, I would have 38 Seekers and some change. 38 Seekers vs. 39 Khorne Dogs. Big difference? One body, LOTS of T3 wounds vs T4. No, I think I'll keep the Khorne Dogs instead.

So, building the list...gonna be some conversion fun.
Khorne Dogs = 4 boxes of Vampire Count Dire Wolves
Plaguebearers = I Already Own the Dryad Conversions
Fiends = Something No Doubt Epic That I Have Not Yet Thought Of
Heralds = Probably Some Kind of Bizarre Tyranid-Based, Taloned Monstrositiy with Daemonette Upper Half.

And it's early now. Gonna go.


jabberjabber said...

Can't go too wrong with plagebearers. The final list has such a strong component of speed, its frightening! I like it :)

Raptor1313 said...

Yeah, Plaguies just...unless I'm spamming large units of another type of troop (like, 10-15 of them in 3+ units) then there's just not enough wounds to go around, and they're stuck doing the heavy lifting and taking the heavy fire.

I think Daemons honestly kind of need the speed. Fiends and Khorne Dogs (and the Heralds) can all cope with a bad drop. No transports means you need either speed or range to cope with sub-par deep strikes.

6+2d6+12 is the movement of a Beast (or Cav) 2 turns in a row. With canny attempts at deployment, you should be able to get there fast.

The_King_Elessar said...

Admittedly, I skim-read a lot of that, because it's long, and I start work again in 8 hours and should be asleep.

What I read was very interesting, and enjoyable.

FYI, I come here second-most, after YTTH. Danny Internets doesn't upgrade enough to warrant more frequent viewing, and I usually go on most others only every other day, except FTW, Imperius Dominatus, and obvs my own.

There's a bunch of content produced by you, and being influenced is never a bad thing, you have more than enough capacity to do the other thing if you disagree, and enough intelligence to disagree for the right reasons.

Raptor1313 said...

Yeah, it was an epic post because it was 3-4AM and I'd miscalculated the impact of gunning down a couple large cups of coffee earlier in the evening.

Part of the reason I'm so prolific is that I've got the time. I've been unemployed since the end of February, and part of the lost time is due to being more or less told I'd have a gig come summer....which has somewhat failed to materialize.

It's just the occasional early-morning pangs of doubt of 'Am I really not parroting?' thing, as I notice I haven't done as much heavy lifting on creating my own army lists.

On the other hand, there's a bit more of learning what works, and when others know what works, stuff looks similar. I figure as long as I cite, it's all good. (Nothing so terrible as failing a course for plagiarasm happens, but there's rep and such).

I'm honored mine gets hit up that frequently. The feedback always helps, and I think most of the 'tactica' articles I cobble together to send to FTW get a few days of editing.

The_King_Elessar said...

Well, knowing I can refer people to your articles saves me time trying to explain something you've already said (probably better) and allows me more freedom in posting, so I'm happy. lol