Welcome to the next post in my ongoing Lost and the Damned tactica series (available here), which deals with the various Daemons available to the army. In this post I will be quickly looking at the various Lesser and Greater Daemons available, before then looking at how they interact with the army as a whole. Daemons are quite an important part of the Lost and the Damned list, being the main thing that sets them apart from a poor-mans Imperial Guard army, and offer the chance to seriously ramp up the combat or firefight potential of your formations through the Summoning mechanic (discussed here). The great thing about Daemons is that they can be summoned anywhere on the board where you have a Daemonic Pact upgrade, making them excellent for filling gaps in your battle plan or shoring up weak point.
So, Lesser Daemons:
Bloodletters are a great close combat stand, having two 4+ CC attacks and the save armour save as a Space Marine (4+). While this might make them seem like the go to Daemon stand, they are hampered by their 15cm move and complete lack of a firefight value. This leaves them vulnerable to not getting into combat with the enemy, or being caught in firefight as the enemy avoids them. They also lack any kind of special rules or special attacks, meaning that although they are excellent against lightly armoured targets, they will struggle against anything with Reinforced armour saves.
Daemonettes are another broadly CC centric Daemon stand, however in contrast to the Bloodletter, the have a single 3+ CC attack with the special rule First Strike (In EPIC attacks are worked out at the same time, so all unti get to fight even if they die in the engagement – first strike attacks are worked out before this, allowing the formation to reduce incoming attacks by killing the enemy off before they get the chance to strike. Daemonettes also have a 15cm move, a 4+ armour save, and no firefight, leaving them open to the same problems as the Bloodletters. However, their First Strike does give them and a little more protection than their Khornate competitors.
Plaguebearers break the routine of the previous aggressive CC daemon stands by being mostly a defensive stand. They have the same 15cm move, but have a 3+ armour save, 4+ close combat, and a 6+ firefight value. This makes them decent (for the Lost and the Damned!) in firefight, and very difficult to kill especially when combined with their Invulnerable Save special rule.
Flamers are probably the only daemon stand that is geared towards firefight rather than close combat. Their stats drive them this way quite significantly with two 4+ firefight attacks each, while only have a single 5+ close combat attack. Unlike the other daemons they are only sporting a 5+ armour save, which matches up with their firefight position.
When it comes to how these Lesser Daemons interact with the rest of the list, I have to confess that I have a clear favourite – Flamers. If we think about what the Lost and the Damned list has in abundance, it is the ability to get a whole host of good quality close combat attacks on a variety of different stands. What it lacks, and what Tzeentch daemons excel at, are good firefight abilities. This, for me, means that if you are looking to build a competitive Lost and the Damned list and are not constrained by your Daemon Engine choices, you are much better off playing a Tzeentch themed force than any other as the Lesser Daemons plug a severe deficiency in the list. This is only compounded by the way in which EPIC favours firefight over assault.
Each of the other Gods does have a place however – for example a mechanised coven can make good use of Khorne daemons (especially Flesh Hounds) to allow it to remain a threat after an engagement or two, while a Coven left back for defence might be best marked to Nurgle to allow it to soak hits on the 3+ armour save of the Plaguebearers. Given how many Daemons can be summoned at a time by a fully tricked out Coven, each type can perform very well.
And onto the Greater Daemons:
Quite a simple beast really – point the Bloodthirster at a target you want to die and let it loose. It has three 3+ Titan Killer attacks, three 3+ normal attacks, and a Jump Pack 30cm move. This gives it great killing power and excellent speed, although a single firefight engagement can spell its doom as it lacks a firefight value. It does have the speed to keep up with a mechanised Coven, which is an excellent formation to match it up with, as it will provide the Coven with more killing power on the engage.
Keeper of Secrets:
The Keeper of Secrets has always puzzled me as a formation – it is obviously meant as mostly a close combat beast, but lacks the speed to make it viable when compared to the Bloodthirster. Being able to only move 15cm means that it will struggle to reach base-to-base contact. Although it also has a 30cm range, three shot, MW 4+ ranged weapon, given it will often be doubling in order to get in range this means it will only be hitting on a 5+. When compared to the Lord of Change this firepower is lacking, leaving the Keeper of Secrets as an under-par option.
Great Unclean One:
The Great Unclean One is another relatively poor choice, given the investment that has to be made in order to summon one reliably. While it is DC4, compared to the other Greater Daemons’ DC3, the GUO still only has the same 4+ Reinforced Armour as the other Greater Daemons. Even with this slight added robustness, the GUO does not shine when it comes to the engagement, either in CC or FF averaging only 2 normal hits in each. The best use I can see for the GUO is to enable a formation to soak up the first four hits on its armour – but this can be done relatively easily with other units for far fewer points.
Lord of Change:
The Lord of Change is an interesting choice, being a 30cm move, Jump Pack, DC3 model with a focus on firefight (three regular 3+ attacks, one 3+ MW attack) and a decent ranged weapon (45cm, 2xMW3+). It does suffer from having to be attached to a Coven in the Lost and the Damned list (something the Daemon World list changes) as that will restrict its movement unless mechanised, but it does provide the Coven with a serious upgrade in firepower, durability, and fire fight ability.
Although generally I am not a massive fan of Greater Daemons in the Lost and the Damned list as they cost alot to summon reliably and do not tend to match up well with the Stigmatus Covens they are tied to. While the Lord of Change and the Bloodthirster have the speed to make their abilities tell, being stuck either with a mechanised or foot Coven can make them tricky to use well. Overall I tend to prefer to summon an equivalent number of Lesser Daemons rather than plumping for a Greater Daemon – not only do they have more hits, but they also tend to throw out more attacks.
Hopefully this post clears up a little why I am a) so in favour of Daemons generally and b) so in favour of Tzeentch in particular!