Monday, March 10, 2014

Balance of Power

The last few months for 40k have been transformative and they just so happen to correspond with me taking a short break from the hobby.  I say the hobby because since December - actually early January - I have not painted, played, made lists or really browsed the new rumors or releases.  My motivation was two-fold.  Coming of of Da Boyz and the intense painting schedule to get ready I was pretty tired and had neglected some other obligations.  Second, I had a chance to play a casual game for the first time in months in early January.  The pickup pitted myself allied with a Space Marine player against Grey Knights and Imperial Guard.

That game inspired me to take a break from playing.

My opponents/ally were regulars at Millennium Games for Saturday play.  I had hopped by hoping for a quick game and to get away for a few hours.  We agreed on a 3k point team game - and I threw together a variant of my GT list.  The important core was 9x Fiends, 36 Flesh Hounds, 4 Heralds of Khorne w/ Axes.

The game was not even close - I think my ally may have knocked out 300-400 points of the enemy army, but that was only because he had brought a Drop Pod list.  By Turn 3 we called the game, they were almost tabled and I could tell that had not had a good time.  In a tournament I would have been happy to get a brief break, a full point massacre and one step closer to first place.  In this setting, I just felt like I had wasted an opportunity for a fun game.  That is when I knew I had to take a break from playing for a bit.

Courtesy of

The new releases by GW have really confirmed the 'forge a narrative' aspect of 40k, and they provide a great opportunity to incorporate all sorts of interesting models into a force.  They are also wide open for abuse.  While I do not think I abused the rules or stretched them in a meaningful fashion - my gauge on power levels was way off for a forge a narrative style game.  I should have recognized it immediately when the other players began coming up with reasons for the SM to be allied with my Daemons.  The GK were there to purge a chapter who had been blinded by Chaos - the IG were planetary defense forces conscripted by the GK.

I know I am a competitive person, which means I am going to need some help building lists that are interesting, balanced and not designed to annihilate an enemy.  After a few weeks of thought, the list I plan to build next (from a painting perspective) at 1850 is:

Herald  of Khorne w/ Axe on Juggurnaut
Herald of Tzeentch w/ Mastery 2 on Disc
Herald of Slaanesh w/ Lesser Gift, Locus of Beguilement on Seeker

9x Fiends
3x Beasts of Nurgle

18x Daemonettes
10x Horrors
10x Plaguebearers

Fast Attack
9x Screamers
16x Flesh Hounds
16x Flesh Hounds

Heavy Support

I know this list cannot deal with flyers - I tend to ignore them.  I also know it really only has Screamers to deal with Imperial Knights.  That said, it has 108 T4 wounds on 12" movement chassis.  Clearly, this list is not a Forge the Narrative list.  So what changes can I make - while keeping the core of it and play style similar - to do double duty as both tournament player and casual opponent.

Here is what I have available
1x Daemon Princess (Lord of Change/Daemon Prince)
1x Keeper of Secrets
1x Herald of Tzeentch
1x Herald of Nurgle
1x Herald of Khorne
6x Flamers
5x Bloodcrushers
3x Plague Drones
18x Seekers
30x Daemonettes
10x Horrors
2x Skull Cannons
3x Soul Grinders
2x Daemon Princes

1x Sorcerer
1x Sorcer on Bike
30x Cultists
10x CSM
3x Helbrute
1x Forge/Mauler fiend

If there are other options worth buying that are fun, I would definitely consider expanding my collection as needed.


  1. Hey Calypso2ts,

    I tend to lean towards the varied, able, balanced lists. Never spammy and probably not really competative. I believe that learning to play a list very well, compensates for (lack of) internal focus and strength and may even present the opponent with a few challenges.

    At the moment I'm using this for 1850 points:

    Herald of Tzeentch, ML2, Disc, ER
    CSM Sorcerer, ML3, Bike, Meltabombs
    18 Daemonettes
    11 Pink Horrors
    10 Chaos Space Marines, 2 Melta
    Rhino, Dirge Caster
    12 Flesh Hounds
    7 Screamers
    5 Chaos Spawn, MoN
    Seeker Cavalcade, 1 Exalted, 2 normal chariots.

    This list has diverse tactical options, speed, resilience, psychic buffs and always some tools for a job. It's fun to play for me, but I think for an opponent as well.

    Maybe this is some source of inspiration. Branching out into using CSM as an allied force offers interesting options. That would be something I'd try out first to regain you fun in playing.

    Looking forward to your next battlereport/tactical insights.


    1. I like the Dirge Caster on the Rhino in your list - I had been trying to think of a way to get that thing to outflank to protect it a bit more.

      I assume the Sorcerer goes with the Spawn upfield? Also, how do the Chariots work - I have an Exalted Chariot unassembled and 2 normal chariots I was looking to run in a more vehicle heavy list.

  2. The Seeker Cavalcade was something I tried out after I had some difficulty using Soulgrinders in my lists. The Soulgrinders often failed to find good targets because they couldn't keep up with the rest of the list. That also ment that the Soulgrinder didn't add to the pressure I wanted to put on my opponent from turn 1. The Soulgrinder could well be ignored for a turn or two whilst more pressing matters were adressed.

    I found that the Cavalcade could be a sollution after watching a video by Faeit212 in whitch he talks about the way he uses Dark Eldar Raiders. . The tactics he suggests would synergise well with the fast assault theme of my list I theorised. Looking through the Daemon codex only the Seeker Cavalcade could function similarly. They are evil fast, somewhat resillient with 8 HPs on a Rhino chassis with a 5++ save, but most of all very cheap.

    I use them mostly to dictate enemy movement from turn one. Using their 27" movement to block lanes or box in the enemy. They work well together with the Screamers in this way. Sometimes, depending on available psychicbuffs and the opponents list, I give the Chariots the Grimnoire. The damage output is secondary, but stil... Last game my opponent took out only two chariots turn one and two. The remaining Exalted Chariot destroyed an Annihilation Barge and threatened backfield units from then on.

    Since I used the Chariots, the Rhino also got back into favour. The Chariots and Maulerfiend offer some target saturation and in a list with Screamers, Fleshhounds, Spawn, Maulerfiend, Fateweaver and 3 Chariots barreling towards you, a Rhino tends to be low on the prioritylist.

    The Sorcerer indeed joins the Spawn. He often leaves the unit turn 2 or 3 to shoot at targets with Puppet Master/Psychic Shriek while the Spawn assault targets of opportunity.

    Could luck with your list. Interested to see what you come up with.