So, as well as the variety of Traitor Guard upgrades available, the Stigmatus coven also has access to a host of different Daemonic upgrades ranging from the innocuous but essential Daemonic Pacts to the War Engine sized Chaos Altars. In this post I want to look at the way in which the Daemonic Pacts and Icon Bearer upgrades work first, before moving onto looking at the upgrades which add models to the formation. Personally I enjoy using the more daemonic side of the Lost and the Damned list, as it differentiates it further from the bog-standard Imperial Guard list – after all once you strip out the ability to summon Daemons and use Daemon Engines, Lost and the Damned are really just a poor version of Baran Siegemasters / Steel Legion.
Daemonic Pact: The Daemonic Pact upgrade is a +25pts for a formation, allowing it to summon up to 2D3 summoning points worth of daemons of its faction from the Daemon Pool. This effectively means that so long as you have bought Daemons for the pool, you can choose to add 2D3 stands of them to whichever formation has the Daemonic Pact at the start of its activation. Depending on the faction chosen for your Coven, these can be any of Plague Bearers, Bloodletters, Flesh Hounds, Daemonettes, Seekers, Screamer, Horrors or Flamers. If you manage to roll high enough for 8 summoning points then the formation may chose to summon a Great Daemon of their faction, either a Lord of Change, a Great Unclean One, a Bloodthirster, or a Keeper of Secrets. Each of these daemon types and how you should align your covens will be covered in a later post. For only 25pts, and synergising well with the Demagogue character upgrade discussed here, the Daemonic Pact is a staple in my army as it allows the formation to become a much greater threat to the enemy than expected – even when reduced down to only a single stand. It means that any Coven, anywhere on the board, that you have given a Daemonic Pact to can suddenly be reinforced by up to six stands of Daemons (or twelve if it contains a Demagogue) – allowing to suddenly threaten formations the enemy thought safe or hold on much longer than expected. For 25pts, I find it a bargain!
Icon Bearer: The Icon Bearer costs twice the Daemonic Pact at +50pts and is more specialised in its use. Normally summoned Daemons will be removed from the summoning formation at the end of the turn, meaning that they return to their normal size and can break if they then have enough blast markers on them. The Icon Bearer, which also comes with the Leader and Invulnerable special rules (something I always forget…), allows the summoning formation to choose to keep its daemons or to return them to the Daemon Pool. This choice gives you greater control over the number of Daemons in your pool by allowing you to return daemons to it if they are needed elsewhere, or to keep them with the formation if necessary. This is especially useful in a unit that is planning on summoning a Greater Daemon, as it removes the need to keep rolling 8 or more on 4D3, but can also be useful if your battle plan revolves around a particular formation. My friend Ben from Forgot My Tea seems to be a bigger fan of this upgrade in his 1000 Sons than I am, as I feel it gets too pricey too fast and is too situational to be worth its cost.
These two upgrades, in combination with the Demagogue character, provide the distinctive flavour of the Lost and the Damned list, as well as giving it a tactical advantage. While in, say, the Chaos Space Marine list, Daemons are secondary and not really necessary to putting together a decent list, in the Lost and the Damned list they are the key to victory. While your infantry may be quite weak and poorly armoured, Daemons allow you to plug gaps in their capability and to plug gaps in your battle line. Unless you are very tight on points, I would recommend giving every Coven a Daemonic Pact and, if you are planning on using a Greater Daemon, giving one or two formations an Icon Bearer. The flexibility Daemons give to the Lost and the Damned really is excellent.
Chaos Spawn: Chaos Spawn are another interesting upgrade available to the Coven. At +25pts, you are only allowed to buy one per Coven, but you get a FF -, CC 3+, 3+ Armour Save infantry stand with +D3 extra close combat attacks and the Fearless and Invulnerable Save special rules. Basically the Spawn is a slightly more expensive, slightly worse, Big Mutant – it has the same armour save, slightly better CC values and, on average, 3 regular attacks, but lacks a FF value and the macro-weapon ability of the Big Mutant. However, the redeeming feature is the Fearless special rule, which means that the Spawn will often be the last thing left alive of a formation. This is particularly important for your BTS formation and could mean the difference between victory and defeat in some cases.
Chaos Hounds: Each Coven can buy up to three stands of Chaos Hounds at +10pts each. Chaos Hounds are a FF -, CC 4+, 6+ armour save, infantry stand with a 30cm move. At ten points a pop they have quite good stats and give the opportunity for both a longer engage move and a long counter charge move, both of which can catch an unwary opponent off guard. They are also interesting in combination with a Coven mounted in Chimeras as although the Hounds cannot get in the tanks, they can keep up.
Chaos Altar: Last up is the Chaos Altar, a +150pts upgrade that can be taken once per Coven. For the pretty hefty price you get a 3DC War Engine with a 4+ Reinforced Armour Save, a FF 4+. a CC 4+, and a 45cm D3xAP4+/AT4+/AA4+. In addition to this the Altar has the Invulnerable Save, Fearless, Inspiring, Daemonic Focus (the Icon Bearer special rule), and the Augment Summoning (+2) special rules. This means that the Altar adds 2 to any dice rolled for summoning Daemons, as well as being able to hold onto any Daemons it has summoned. It also adds plus one to the combat resolution for its side as well as being able to tank the first three hits suffered on its 4+ reinforced armour so long as it is the close unit to the enemy. This protects your vulnerable Cultists from CC and long ranged hits, while it is quite handy in CC and FF. The shooting it provides is decent, being the only place apart from the Hydra where the Lost and the Damned can pick up some ground AA, but also gives the formation a little ranged AT firepower which can sometimes be lacking. Overall, although the Altar is expensive, it does provide a lot to a formation, making it more resilient, more aggressive and more able to easily summon and keep Daemons.
Demagogue, 11 stands of Cultists, 6 stands of Big Mutants, Daemonic Pact, Chaos Spawn – 460pts
This formation makes a good BTS, being able to threaten in combat, while also having a fair crack at summoning enough Daemons to be really dangerous. The Chaos Spawn adds a little bit of extra CC oomph, but is mostly there to provide Fearless on the cheap (take a Daemon Princ eif you have the extra 25pts) and possible save you your BTS victory point.
Chaos Space Marine Aspiring Champion, 6 stands of Cultists, 5 stands of Mutants, 3 Chaos Hounds, 6 Chimera – 380pts
Fast and hard hitting, this formation moves at 30cm and throws out a decent amount of firepower on the move. In combat the Chaos Hounds can race ahead and engage in CC while the Cultists and Chimeras sit in FF. It could be improved with the use of Tzeentch daemons to provide extra firefight support, or Khornate flesh hounds for some help in CC.
Demagogue, 6 stands of Cultists, 5 stands of Mutants, Chaos Altar, Daemonic Pact – 375pts
This formation is built around summoning Daemons, using the 4D3 from the Demagogue and Pact and the +2 provided by the Altar to have a fairly good shot at summoning a Greater Daemon when needed. Even without the Greater Daemon, the formation can claim cover from the Altar, while using it to take the first three hits on its armour save. This can be particularly annoying for the opponent if the formation is sat on an objective, making it hard to shift / suppress, while the Altar uses its AA.