Welcome back, today I wanted to dive into the relatively new Chaos Daemons codex that was released last month. I have spent all my 40k games since its release playing with it and trying as many playstyles as I could feasibly practice with it. This faction was my first 40k faction, but the codex in 8th edition was not very deep or interesting. This new book is not the case; The faction now plays like a daemonic intrusion appearing all around your opponents. That leads to 2 specific effective playstyles, first is a good old monster mash build this is when you start going into more than 2 greater daemons (one of which is be’lakor) you can play 4 comfortably and really play a gear check for opponents bc its 4 20 wound models with a 4+ save (or better) against shooting that cannot be modified in any way. The secondary play style, and the one I have put the most time into, is a more balanced build where you play Be’lakor and one other greater daemon and then have a lot of points for other stuff. Now that we’ve gone over that, let’s discuss my favorite options in each role in this codex.
Let’s start with the HQ’s, these are fairly evenly balanced the greater daemons and heralds for each god all have their purpose. The only must have in this category is Be’lakor himself. Having warp locus and all 4 god keywords allow him to support your army and have access to all the synergys. Be’lakor should be the first model in every daemon army in my opinion. I then like to include at least one greater daemon. If you aren’t playing mono nurgle I would leave the great unclean one at home. The other 3 greaters just pick which one speaks to you. Heralds are all viable and have their own roles.
For troops all 5 troops are very good at their role. There are basically 3 types of troops you can play. You can play melee damage, sit on objectives and be annoying, or nurglings. In the damage role my preference is blood letters mainly due to being good at more stuff but daemonettes and blood letters are both solid in this role. The other 2 basic troops are good at being very annoying to remove from objectives and are the same point cost so in general it comes to which gods the list in question supports. If god isn’t important I think that pink horrors are slightly better because 2 damage guns lose value into horrors, and get maximum value into plague bearers. The last troop is nurglings, which are not allowed to be the first troop choice but they can make most daemon armies better as they are the armies only access to forward deploy. This is very important in the marine matchup as you need to push back the infiltrators which mess with your reserve mechanics.
Elites are a very contested slot in a daemons army mainly because this is the battlefield role where the best unit in the codex is. My 3 picks for 3 units that are best in this slot are flamers, exalted flamer, and fiends. Flamers are the most cost effective unit in the codex, not to mention best shooting unit. These fast durable and deadly infantry are a steal at 25 points per model. Most daemon lists I build will start with Be’lakor and then 3 units of flamers. The exalted flamer is a character flamer that also gives flamers a bump in strength on their shooting profile, so is pretty great. Fiends are very efficient elite infantry killers. 5 attacks at damage 2-3 per model and move 14 is great for their points. Fiends help give you a piece trade plan. The other elite choices are blood crushers and beasts of nurgle which are both fine but not best in class for their jobs in the faction. Blood crushers have solid damage but due to being cavalry will need to be reserved and they are kind of expensive. Where beasts are very annoying to kill but don’t really do anything besides exist. I would rather take troops like pink horrors or nurglings if that’s the job I wanted done.
Fast attack role is far less contested and so these units can afford to be a little less efficient and still be taken. My picks for best units in these roles are plague drones, flesh hounds, and screamers. Plague drones are exceedingly tough for their points at 6 wounds at toughness 5 per model and at 45 points they seem relatively point efficient. They also still move a good amount unlike most nurgle things, and are likely the best use of Belakor’s warlord trait. They are my favorite of the fast attack options. The rest of the fast attack options are fairly niche. Of the more corner case options I think flesh hounds and screamers are the most usable. Flesh hounds are cheap, hit relatively hard and give you psychic protection, with access to contempt for sorcery and their collars. Screamers are very fast models that give you super easy access to behind enemy lines and reality rebels secondaries with their ability to show up anywhere outside 9” of opposing models when they advance. Once they do this they are tough enough that it’s probably not worth the effort to remove them. Their poor weapon skill and being 30 points per model hold them back a bit.
The heavy support much like the fast attacks have one very good choice and then some niche picks. The overall just good model is the soulgrinder. When marked either tzeentch or nurgle the soul grinders become a very tough platform with decent guns and melee that takes far more than its points to remove. Just be sure to reserve these crab walking models because if you don’t, then moving them up the board becomes challenging. For niche picks my vote for best goes to skull cannons and burning chariots. Skull cannons are cheap at 100 points and have decent shooting. They are not core but ignore cover and some of the only shooting available to khorne armies. They are also competent in melee because you have blood letters driving it. The burning chariot has one specific niche and it’s you are playing pure tzeentch. Burning chariots exalted flamers and flamers make quite the gunline. You can also get to hitting on 2’s with all of it due to some warp storm effects.
Hopefully this has helped give some understanding to what units you’ll see from the chaos daemons.. If you have thoughts on the topic let me know either here on the site or reach out to me on the LOS discord. Follow the rest of the LOS content on youtube, patreon or discord.