No matter how I put together an army list with the Daemon codex, somehow I feel dissatisfied with the result. I feel like it is missing something or there are so many options I want to include that just cannot make the cut at the 1500/1850/2000 point levels. With the previous codex, this was less of an issue. The choices were straightforward, the units for the most part fulfilled a single role - assault the enemy - with a slight exception when Flamers/Screamers were revised. From an overall hobby standpoint this presents a bit of a quandary though - and one that has reflected itself in my painting - or maybe I should say the schizophrenic nature of my painting.
...What units do I need to finish to bring to the tabletop? I have at the moment somewhere between 6-8 different units all at different points in their painting lifecycle. My zombies need a drybrush and sealing, my Daemonettes need their basecoat finished, Seekers need detail work while a pair of Soul Grinders languish without highlights. Part of my painting motivation comes from playing, and at the moment I have no clue what units I am going to bring to the next tournament (or next game for that matter).
I think part of the problem is that although the models may look the same and the names might not have changed, I am having trouble reconciling those changes with my preconceptions of what the models 'used' to do. The changes to Fiends are a great example - they used to be a glass hammer unit that put down a bucket of wounds on a unit, rending was a nice bonus, but they way they won combat was through their huge number of strength 5 attacks. The new Fiends are different - they are more a force multiplier for a multiple combat having lost their higher strength and attacks characteristics. From a purely mathematical standpoint, a single Fiend previously put down 2 wounds - 0.5 rends - on the charge against WS/T 4. The new Fiends put down 1 wound each with 0.33 rends.
The changes have prompted me to ask a fundamental questions as I go about list building - What kind of army is this going to be? Some of these answers are fairly straightforward - when bringing 5 FMC's it is pretty obvious what the army lives and dies by on the battlefield. However, how many shooting elements need to be present to call it a shooty army - are the assault elements there to take the battle to the enemy objectives or are they protective counter assault units. Further, what role do each of the new models play based on their design rules?
An example of this are Bloodcrushers - they are fast, they hit hard but without appropriate support they fold to enemy shooting and will be worn down via overwatch and return attacks in close combat. As a fast unit, I want to put pressure on enemy lines with Bloodcrushers - but to make that happen various support elements are needed - a Grimoire of True Names, a Divination Psyker and a Telepathy Psyker are the ingredients for this unit to become a powerhouse - they also very much benefit from Acquiescence in the Excess discipline. Unfortunately, bringing these elements means bringing Heralds along for the ride or Greater Daemons. It is expensive to accomplish it with Greater Daemons - and it puts at risk the very elements required for that devastating unit - but doing so with heralds means a transition to a shootier army - which may be good, does it lead to a more balanced overall force?
A more straightforward example of a multirole model is the Soul Grinder - it provides a battle cannon shot but also protects the firebase with its dreadnought CC abilities. Maybe this is the answer to why I have always preferred Soul Grinders over daemon princes - princes are generally more one dimensional.
I am still not sure what kind of army I want to build - I know I do not want a FMC force - but I also know I cannot construct an army like I did with the old codex. That is, I took a set of individually powerful units with some multi-role synergy and dropped them into an army list. The new Daemons are complex- I am not sure a single army will include every model that I want - but it certainly gives me something to think about. To ease my painting troubles, I am considering the following 'core' force to build around at the 1850-2000 point levels.
Lord of Change w/ Mastery 3, Grimoire of True Names
Keeper of Secrets w/ Mastery 3, 2x Greater Gifts
2x Soul Grinders of Tzeentch w/ Phlegm
Allied CSM Sorcerer w/ Mastery 3, Spell Familiar
Allied 5x Chaos Space Marines w/ 1x Plasmagun
What other units are needed to make this army work - and what kind of army is it?