Chaos Daemons: Wonky rules, randomization out the ass, and sometimes the models even look downright silly, and probably the most powerful assault codex in the game ATM.
If you love assault armies, you should be looking real hard at Chaos Daemons.
Gunline players, need to know what's the worst case coming at you for charges? Same thing.
So Chaos Daemons have been out a relatively long time now, why mention them? Tau have come out in the meantime and have clear win capability, why still talk about Daemons?
Well anyone who reads this blog knows I love assault. All my armies are based around assault capabilities. Assault is one of the few areas you can evaporate enemy units without allowing them the dignity of even rolling a saving throw (sweeping advance), they mess up peoples carefully laid plans of (shoot the hell out of someone, cross fingers they fail saves), and generally are just fun!
Some things you do need to factor into your assault army.
First Blood - Lots of people take first blood seriously, its often a mission objective. Where I live, NOVA tends to run king, and its not as important, but its still something to be considered. Think of a way to at least TRY for first blood. This may be a token powerful shooty unit, overly resilient assault units that are unlikely to get blown off the table in a turn, or a way to diminish your opponents first round targets of opportunity.
Staying Power - The army needs a high enough toughness to weather a lot of firepower, or enough bodies to soak up casualties and keep at it. This unfortunately is a bit out of your control because your opponent could fluctuate to double blob guard w/ Space marines of some sort, to triple helldrake, to necron air.
Speed - No assault army wins by being slow. Turn 2 assaults are now the name of the game. If you are not assaulting on turn 2, something is wrong and you are in a good chance of losing. If you have slower assault units, give them a speedy transport or make sure you have fast units to tie down opponents until they can make it.
Reduce ability of your opponent to mitigate damage - Start thinking about ways to expand your units to remove armor saves, cause instant death, or lower leadership of your opponent. All of these things help tremendously. When I played my orks, I can't tell you how aggravating it was to have 20 to 30 boyz charge, and only kill a single marine due to epic 3+ saving. The PK helps mitigate it in that case, but its still an issue. Don't rely on your opponent rolling statistical averages, remove that option for them. Take things that ignore armor or inflict quick demise.
All of that applies to shooty armies too, but assault its more important to not get bogged down in assaults. Clear opponents out, remove their effective counter punch for the following round, and move on.
Chaos Daemons do all of these things very well.
The infamous slaneshy build, lots of seekers, daemonnettes, and heralds of slanesh on steeds, all squads take upgraded sarg's with gifts to get AP2 weapons and banners if you wish. Locus's to control challenges + re-roll hits are a must. You won't get first blood but you'll be fast, mitigate your opponents armor saves, and if you deploy / move properly, you'll probably only get hit hard one turn and then be in assault the rest of your time. This list will evaporate quickly though to heavy anti-infantry fire, more so than most, so be VERY careful about your movement and play.
Mosterous Creature Spam - The list usually involves the keeper of secrets, lord of change, and various daemon princes equipped for flight and fight! This army satisfies the ability to mitigate damage, generally provides speed, and actually has a potential for first blood with the shooting output it can do. It's real drawback is that it suffers in durability. If you make a few bad rolls or move to the wrong spot, your guys can fall apart and losing them is quite painful.
Khorne flesh hounds and blood crushers are quite viable with the new change. There are a number of people upset about the changes to blood-crushers, but they are still a 3 wound, Ap3, fast moving and throwing lots of attacks model. Expensive perhaps, but if they do get into combat, quite effective. Flesh hounds seem to be the new go to- cheap and with a solid dedicated herald to make them even scarier. Khorne dogs benefit even more with scout, people always seem to forget that if you are going second, you can still assault even if you scouted. Moving 12 up someones flank where their firepower is minimal, combined with other must shoot-at targets, can be very effective.
Nurgle and to more specific, Plague drones are probably the least well represented from the new chaos book for net-lists. On paper these guys don't seem very effective. Expensive and unable to sweeping advance, the plague drone seems to be a bad choice. However in practice, they are extremely effective at killing any S4 or below infantry, with upgrades on the sarg to grant instant death or an Ap2 weapon, they can chop through squads very effectively. At their heart though, I consider them a jack of all trades unit. With shrouded and defensive grenades, they can soak up firepower. Their 4+ poisoned swords with touch of rust (all 6's cause glances automatically), they effectively have a chance at killing any other unit in the game. If you equip them with venom stings for instant death attacks, you find a good all-rounder.
So lots and lots directions you can go for assault, those aren't even all of the units/ builds, those are just a few i thought of just off the top of my head.
Skull cannons by the way are win. It's a relatively cheap unit that can give you a potential for that first blood. A BS5, S8 gun that ignores cover is pretty nice. I've yet to regret having one in my games thus far.
I'm still exploring to see if soul grinders are worth it. We'll see....
I've been running lots and lots of games lately with just pure chaos daemons to see if i can find something i like. As with most of the next codex's, I find I always feel like I'm coming up shorts to really "take" what I want. I guess that's balance that people keep refering to.
I have yet to decide if I'm going to run Chaos SM w/ daemons, chaos SM w/ tau, or raw daemons for NOVA....
more thoughts to come.