So, as well as the Stigmatus coven formation having a host of options to do with its basic makeup, being able to choose its size and variety of Cultist, Mutant and Big Mutant stands, it also has access to a variety of different character stands. Each formation has access to one of the three options, either a Demagogue, a Chaos Space Marine Aspiring Champion, or the mighty Daemon Prince. Each character stand fulfils different role in the formation, allowing you to pick and choose between them depending on what it is that you visualise the Coven doing in the wider army – want to summon lots of Daemons? Take a Demagogue. Want to kill stuff in CC? Take a Daemon Prince etc.
When choosing between the leaders, the formation originally comes with a Demagogue included in its price of 200pts, which can then be swapped for free for an Aspiring Champion, or upgraded to a Daemon Prince for +50pts.
So, onto the choices:
Demagogue: Coming stock with the formation, the Demagogue is a FF 5+, CC 5+, INF stand with a 6+ armour save and an macro-weapon extra attack in close combat. Not exactly stunning is it? The macro-weapon attack is nice, but remember, in order to use it you will have to be in close combat where your 6+ armour makes it likely that your stand will die a quick death, and you still only hit on a 5+. The Demagogue also comes with an Invulnerable Save (6+ save allowed against anything) which is nice, but the real gold is that is also comes with the Augment Summoning (+2D3) rule. This means that a formation with this character may roll an extra 2D3 to the number of daemons it can summon in any one turn, in addition to the 2D3 provided by buying a Daemonic Pact for +25pts. 4D3 averages a total of 8 – meaning that summoning a Greater Daemon is reasonably likely, or just a boatload of lesser daemons. This is a massive force multiplier for the Lost and the Damned, turning pretty weedy Cultist formations into something to be feared. This Daemon summoning potential is the real reason for taking a Demagogue, as in most other respects he is strictly inferior to the Aspiring Champion, and while it may be tempting to upgrade him to an Arch-Heretic, his armour save and weak stats make him far too vulnerable when compared to the other choices.
Chaos Space Marine Aspiring Champion: The second option available to the Stigmatus Coven formation is the Chaos Space Marine Aspiring Champion, a free swap from the default Demagogue. The Champion is a FF 4+, CC 4+ INF stand with a 4+ armour save – pretty standard Space Marine stats. The stand also comes with an extra CC macro-weapon attack, an Invulnerable Save, and a 30cm AP6+/AT6+ Heavy Weapons shot just like the Cultist stand. All of these are pretty reasonable and compare well to a normal traitor or loyalist Marine stand, but the real key for the usage for Aspiring Champion in the Lost and the Damned list is that they also come with the Commander and Leader special rules meaning that they can be used to call combined engagements and allow the formation they are part of to remove an extra blast marker whenever it successfully regroups or rallies. This means that the Aspiring Champions help the formation they are in to shed blast markers faster, giving them a better chance at winning engagements / remaining useful to the battle. Personally, if not taking a Daemonic Pact on the Coven formation, Aspiring Champions are my go-to leader choice as they give a decent CC attack with a decent armour save, while also helping the rest of the formation / army with their special rules all for the same price as the more specialised Demagogue.
Daemon Prince: Last up in the leader selection is the Daemon Prince, costing an extra 50pts on top of the formation. Its base stats are impressive – FF 3+, CC 3+, a 3+ armour save, two extra CC macro-weapon attacks – while its special rules only make it better. These are Commander and Leader, which are the same as those available through the Aspiring Champion, as well as Fearless, Reinforced Armour and Teleport. While the Teleport seems wasted (it can’t be used as no formation that can take the Daemon Prince as an option can Teleport – it is a hangover from the Daemon Princes in the CSM lists where they can teleport with Terminators), the Reinforced armour and Fearless make the Daemon Prince an absolute nightmare to kill as with a 3+ save that is normally re-rollable, the Prince has the best save of any unit in the game – titans included. Even if the opponent does manage to win an engagement, the Prince is still fearless and can hang around making a nuisance of himself for a long time. This isn’t all though (can you tell I am a fan?), you also have the option of wings which gives you the benefit of Jump Packs (ignores dangerous terrain and friendly models during moves) and a 30 cm move in return for dropping the armour down to only a 4+ Reinforced save. This option might seem a little silly in a formation of 15cm move infantry (compared to a formation of 35cm move Chaos Space Marine bikes for example…), but the combination of both rules allows for a neat little trick. While most stands can only counter-charge 5cm and this charge must avoid friendly stands, the wings allow the Daemon Prince a 10cm counter-charge that ignores intervening terrain or friendly models. This allows the Daemon Prince to hop further into CC than the opponent expects, bringing his three attacks ( 2 macro-weapon ones, remember?) to bear on stands the opponent thought were safe. For fifty points, I think the Daemon Prince is an absolute steal, being by far the best stand on which to place your Arch-Heretic upgrade (the armour save and Fearless), the meanest in both combat and fire-fight, as well as providing the Commander and Leader traits of the Aspiring Champion. The Prince is really only held back by having to be in a pretty mediocre formation of Cultists and Mutants and lacking the Daemon Summoning augment of the Demagogue.
Just a last note on the Arch-Heretic upgrade. Any of these character stands can be upgraded to an Arch-Heretic, which is the Lost and the Damned Supreme Commander character. Like Orks (and others), this upgrade to Supreme commander is free so should always be taken, even in the smallest of games, but only adds the Supreme Commander special rule with no other benefits. When thinking about where to place this upgrade in your army, always bear in mind that he is likely to attract more firepower than a regular formation would. Given the Daemon Prince’s armour, and Fearless special rule which make him very difficult to wipe out, I personally find it a good choice for the Supreme Commander, but if you cannot spring for the +50pts required then the Aspiring Champion would be my next choice. Unless it was for distinct fluff reasons, I cannot see myself ever choosing to place the Supreme Commander on a Demagogue stand – the armour save is just too poor and there are no real mitigating factors to this.
So, I think you can probably tell that I prefer the Daemon Prince, but that doesn’t mean that there are not a good variety of different ways that these leader options can have an impact on the formations you take.
Demagogue, 11 stands of Cultists, Daemonic Pact – 225pts
Already looked at in the previous post, 225pts for a formation able to summon a whopping 4d3 daemons every turn is a pretty good deal. Although fragile, slow and easily destroyed, it cannot be overlooked by the opponent because of the threat it poses – no one wants 12 stands of Flamers or a Bloodthirster suddenly appearing on a flank they thought was safe.
Demagogue, 5 stands of Cultists, 6 stands of Big Mutants, Daemonic Pact – 345pts
By combining the CC macro-weapon and hit soaking abilities of the Big Mutants with the daemon summoning of the Demagogue and Pact, this formation can be an absolute nightmare to face, especially when present in a Tzeentch themed list as the Big Mutants synergise well with summoned Flamers.
Aspiring Champion, 6 stands of Cultists, 6 stands of Mutants – 200pts
Again, having already appeared in the last post, this formation is cheap and does a little bit of everything, forming the basis for mots of my Lost and the Damned army lists. The 4+ CC from the Mutants along with the Champions MW attack poses a decent threat, while the Cultists provide blast-marker laying potential and some FF support. Again, easily destroyed and slow, these are key weaknesses for infantry in the Lost and the Damned list.
Aspiring Champion, 8 stands of Cultists, 3 stands of Big Mutants – 260pts
Still cheap, but with a little bit more utility, this formation is probably the closest thing to a stock lay-out in my Lost and the Damned lists. The big Mutants provide their usual armour and CC abilities, without going the whole hog and buying six stands worth. The Cultists provide support, while the Champion keeps them in the fight a little longer using his Leader ability to shed blast markers. Plus a formation or two in a combined engage using the Commander rule can really make a dent in things.
Daemon Prince, 6 stands of Cultists, 5 stands of Mutants – 250pts
Another formation commonly found in my lists, this is a good all-rounder coven with good CC from the Mutants and Daemon Prince. Use it to advance up the board and threaten engages, taking heat off some of the more fragile support formations. Even if the engagement goes badly, or the formation comes under artillery fire, the Daemon Prince is likely to be left standing by himself due to his armour and the Fearless special rule. While a single stand may not normally seem all that great, a lone Daemon Prince (especially with wings) can cause real issues – preventing the enemy from claiming They Shall Not Pass, picking on already or nearly broken formations which if they are not too big he is likely to beat in combat, or racing to claim / contest objectives.
Daemon Prince, 11 stands of Cultists, 6 stands of Big Mutants – 460pts
Weighing in at a pretty hefty 460pts, this formation takes the point of the previous one and takes it to a higher level. By including the Big Mutants, and placing them at the front of the formation, the formation has up to seven 3+ saves before hits are placed on the armour-less Cultists. It does have problems though, including no way to really influence the game beyond 30cm and a vulnerability to enemy formations that have decent fire-fight values, but these can be off-set to a certain degree by placing the formation centrally (preferably garrisoned to start further up the board) and supporting it well.