Monday, June 24, 2013

Daemon Codex - Heavy Support - Daemon Prince/Soul Grinders

The Heavy Support section of this reviews comes at a good time - mainly because I finally finished off the wings to the Daemon Princess pictured below.  I acquired her from Cersi at DakkaDakka when he was doing custom sculpts/casts and finally started painting her around November of last year.  The last nagging quality was the wings - which I just could not seem to get the way I wanted them to be.  With a little airbrushing and some washes, I am pretty happy with the result.  Part of the overall issue, is the pale skin color really makes it difficult to have a light white feathery wing - so I really wanted to push the pink/purple core colors of my army with her.

I have tried to position all these pics to make her safe for work - also note the wood floor she stands on.  This is the Grand Theater of Excess, where mortals play their role on the battlefield in the creation of an atrocious artistic masterpiece.  To this army (my army) "All the world's a stage..."  And now for the review!

Heavy Support

I am looking at Daemon Princes and Soul Grinders in the same article because they share a number of qualities.  They are both hard targets, they are the two holdovers from the previous codex and they must be dedicated to a specific god.

Daemon Prince

I am placing the Daemon Prince as Heavy Support because I do not see a time when it would be preferable to take the Prince over a Greater Daemon - the Lord of Change is almost strictly better and a Thirster is - in my opinion - strictly better than the Khorne Prince.  Each dedication is unlocked in the Heavy Support slot by a Greater Daemon of the same chaos god.  The statline of the Princes is impressive with two exceptions - Toughness 5 and 4 Wounds.  I was hoping for an increase in the number of wounds or a way to mitigate instant death, but I am not surprised given the CSM Daemon Prince setup.  For me these two faults are dealbrekaers - although I understand they still have a load of offensive potential  To get the most out of princes, defense is the key...

All the Princes will most likely get Warp Forged Armor for a 3+ save.  Also, it is more than likely they will get Wings to become a FMC.  I have run them on the ground as Telepathy/Biomancy buffer but it is really far too many points to drop into that kind of unit.  Instead Hard to Hit helps mitigate some of their vulnerability - although the newer Codices are starting to bring more effective anti-air to bear.  Further protection is provided by granting each a pair of Greater Gifts - the only wasted gift is a 3+ armor save, so that can be swapped afterward to a weapon.

The potential options begin to diverge after the selection of defensive upgrades - and partially depend on the type of army being run.  I dislike a Nurgle Prince - even if Shrouding is great - because Slow and Purposeful prevents them from sweeping a unit and requires the prince to individually kill almost every model unless it is near a board edge.  Tzeentch and Slaanesh are more interesting.   Slaanesh has the best weapon swap when paired with flight in the Lash of Despair.  A 2d6 BS/S 5 weapon with skyfire is great for taking down the normally weakly armoured flyers.  Fleet is also a great addition to the Prince because it needs to make it into combat when it charges.

The Tzeentch Prince benefits from rerolling 1's for saves - which is a great defensive upgrade - especially when paired with a Grimoire or Invisibility.  It can also cast at LD 10 and a pair of Biomancy powers can go a long way.  The same is true for a Slaanesh Prince.  In both cases I think Mastery 2 is the sweet spot.

Coming up last in the Prince category is Khorne - as it cannot be a psyker and the mark only provides Furious Charge and has marginal utility on a Prince.  If trying to saturate the board - then they can be taken but their configurations tend to be strictly worse than Slaanesh or Tzeentch.  The two recommended builds for Princes I would suggest are:

Tzeentch/Slaanesh Loadout - Wings, Warp Forged Armor, 2x Greater Gift (or 2x Psychic Power)

An greater gift to exalted gift is also a good swap to grab a Grimoire or Portalglyph.  The Doomstone might be interesting against Infantry blobs or character laden units, but is more a novelty than anything else.

Soul Grinder

I have to admit - I have had a bias for Soul Grinders since the last edition and they have only gotten better with 6th edition.  A 4 HP, AV 13 walker that ignores Shaken/Stunned on a 2+, with a 5++ save, a 3 shot skyfire autocannon and 4 dreadnought attacks for between 130-140 points is a steal.  Add in the upgrades that come with being marked - barring the Khorne mark that has almost no benefit - to include Fleet, Shrouded or Reroll 1's and that is a winner.  This is even before outfitting it with a gun, recognizing that it is immune to instability and can Deep Strike.

The downside of the grinder overall?  It costs 10-20 points more than it did before when it was probably under costed.  Add in the overall decline in melta weapons in the current meta and Grinders provide the Anvil unit that Daemon players need.

The most interesting aspect of grinders is that all four marks are viable options given their pricing.  Khorne provide no real buffs - but is free when points are tight.  Tzeentch is appropriately costed while the Nurgle marl provides a lot of durability.  The Slaanesh mark grants the Grinder fleet - which is an great upgrade when using these guys aggressively.

Unlike the marks, only two of the three weapon upgrades are strong in the current environment.  I used to run Warp Gaze (Tongue) on grinders but Phlegm is really a much stronger upgrade now.  It is Ordinance - which enables 2d6 pick one armour penetration, it can hit multiple targets and has slightly greater accuracy when paired with the Grinders BS 3.  The ideal platforms for Phlegm are Nurgle and Tzeentch dedicated grinders.  Baleful Torrent - S6 AP 4 Torrent Weapon is nice addition to Slaanesh dedicated grinders which will probably Deep Strike into position to lineup a Turn 3 assault.

There is also technically a CC option available for Grinders but at the cost of a Screamer, a S6 AP3 Master Crafted Specialist Weapon really only provides a bonus attack since the Iron Claw is already a S10 AP 2 weapon.  The reroll is a nice addition, but the weapon is really cost prohibitive - maybe to protect the CC weapon on a Grinder against Weapon Destroyed effects it could be useful, but the actual times it is going to provide a benefit are limited at best.

The other nice aspect of a grinder is that running it as part of a gunline provides a viable assault unit to protect Horrors, Plaguebearers or other weak shooting/objective camping units.  The loadouts I like for Grinders overall are:

Slaanesh Dedication, Baleful Torrent
Nurgle/Tzeentch Dedication Phlegm Bombardment


  1. You left out the best potential result for a slaanesh prince. Iron arm can potentially make lash a str9 shooting attack. With bs5, 2d6 shots on a flyer it can fly around and annihilate vehicles. The rest of biomancy isn't shabby on a prince either. Even haemorrhage can be decent paired with enfeeble.

    The only thing stopping me from going for than combo is the KoS tax. Or running a prince as HQ but like you said, I like the LoC and GuO better.

    1. I actually really like the KoS overall and do not really consider it a tax to get a Slaanesh Prince. In every game I have run him - always with 3 Mastery Levels - he has been a great buffer/debuffer while also being awesome in CC. He is also faster than most people give credit for - with a minimum move including the run of 10" - and probably more with Fleet.

      Iron Arm is undoubtedly awesome on a Slaanesh Prince with Lash - but any MC with Iron Arm becomes a powerhouse whether it has a lash or not.

  2. I think that Slaanesh DP can be taken in HQ slot in rare situation. Because it's good support that can take armor, wings and lash.
    Items for:
    -I don't understand KoS. And some time it's not needed. Because it's slow and vulnerable.
    -Greeter Daemons has bad protection stats (exlude Thister): t6 and 5++ not good.

    1. The real protection for a KoS is in rollign up invisibility, getting a Grimoire buff or the Greater Gifts. While the gifts can fluctuate in how much they provide for protection - the Keeper in my experience is more durable in practice than on paper.

      The problem with a Slaanesh Prince is by the time it is kitted out, a Lord of Change with Mastery 3 is as good/better. The Lord can get S5 shots from Flickering Fire (and up to 4d6 of them), has T6 and benefits from greater gifs.

    2. Agreed. Generally, LoC is better, because he can roll Div.
      But FF don't the same as lash. Lash has +1s, rending, it's simple shooting attack and don't has warpflame rule.

      About durability - may be Tau, Orks, IG and Necrons doesn't better opponents again CD.

    3. Other GDs may have extra survivability but don't underestimate the greater gifts for keeping a Keeper alive. A T6 W5 MC is no easy kill when it has rerollable invulns and FNP(4+).

      Also it appears lash doesn't give you +1S or rending?