After a long and fruitful state of Khorne-bashing, I finally decided it was time to try a bit of the ol' blood god to see if Blood and Skulls might be for me! The Daemonkin codex opens up some interesting builds and a chance to play a different side of daemons. So far, the most satisfying part of the games has been saying "Psychic Phase....no Psychic Phase!" And moving on, rather than spending the next ten minutes agonizing over probabilities. No probability blocks for me, just the surety of blood!
I started with -
2x 8 CSM, Melta, Rhino
1x Possessed, Rhino,
Chaos Lord, Juggernaut, Axe of Apostrophes
20x Flesh Hounds
2x 3x Biker, Plasma
First game was against a mega-centstar, playing the relic. What a boring game. I managed to kill all his troops while he managed to immobilize all my Grinders. The game ended when I couldn't block his centstar from getting up on the relic due to poor positioning on my part. A total lack of obsec in this list is shit. Not enough overwhelming killy to take the table and live without it. Also, Draigo is balls against a Grinder list, since he'll just kill all of them. Ouch. Also, my Lord failed to kill 5 scouts in two rounds of combat. Ouch.
Second game was against a battle company, White Scars because all marines are White Scars. Again, the grinders got immobilized by grav and we kind of ground down. Neither of us won because it was a very underwhelming game that was not fun.
|The Soul Grinder in it's natural state: Immobilized with 1 Hull Point Left|
So I looked at what was missing - obsec and effectiveness. The lord can't deal enough damage with his strength 5 swings, the marines are overcosted and ineffective, and the possessed are just an expensive tax for an ho-hum ability. How I'm reading it, the bonus power only applies to the slaughtercult, and those guys can't fight for shit, so the bonus power never played out. I'm ditching those losers but quick!
Lord, Juggernaut, PF, Axe of Apostrophes
4x 8x Bloodletters
20x Flesh Hounds
2x 3x Bikers, Plasma
That's better. We have some obsec bloodletters to DS in or hide, Bikers to grab objectives but mostly to provide sergeants to turn into 'thirsters, and of course the ubiquitous Heldrakes to kill everything. I've preferred Chaos armor for quite a while. Daemon engines are the flabby strength of the codex, and Grinders and Heldrakes give everybody a headache. This list gives a strong nullish deployment, with the hounds and the lord in cover and everything else having the option to deep strike. It still suffers from Grav-woes with so many points in walkers, and it's just about guaranteed these boys will get immobilized. So it's vital to DS the grinders onto objectives, exploit rear armor, and tie as much grav in combat with 'letters and hounds as possible to give them a chance to fight.
|Soul Grinders mating with Rhinos to make new Daemon Engines|
Also played against Blood Angels, which initially seemed like a total gimme for me, but a hard-hitting honor guard went on a worthy rampage that almost pulled it out for my opponent.
The blood tithe table, while initially exciting, is not playing out well. It's usually best to throw it every turn at FnP or +1 Attack and push the advantage rather than waiting for ascension. Maxing at eight and losing any additional points over what you spend is underwhelming, and failing a Ld check to turn into a 'thirster just feels...unfluffy. Better to keep the wave of blood going.
If I had the models, I'd probably drop the gorepack, because the HoW is rather underwhelming, and put those bike points into more hounds. A CAD seems to be the way to go rather than the funormations, because we need obsec and they don't fit anything amazing onto the table.
I still haven't stepped up against Eldar shenanigans, but I'm willing to believe my grinders will melt. As much as I love the model and the rules, they simply don't stand up in the meta against the what can be expected - easy D & grav. They exist in weird middle ground where they will wipe out lighter lists and get wiped against anything tournament ready. But without them, there isn't any reliable AP2 or armor popping available. Again, more hounds seems to be the answer, with another Juggerlord leading them, waving his PF in predictable arc, reminding us all of the last several years when he hung hard with Chaos Spawn.
But is it fun? Still haven't had a good game yet. Against BA was the closest, but that was a game where the dice made it interesting, and it should of been a painful brutalizing of legions of marines. Daemonkin didn't address the reliance of CSM on the Heldrake, and without a way to pop centurions, mega-nobz or any durable melee deathstar, the devotees of slaughter aren't exactly the elite melee force you were probably hoping for.
Really, the sad moral of the story is that Daemonkin plays just like CSM/Daemons, with instability thankfully gone, but without changing anything. It just provides more durable Bloodletters and Hounds, but you were bringing Daemonettes because you were paying attention to how rules work anyway. The hounds can now reliably tarpit just about anything for the majority of the game, but that doesn't mean too much when you should be killing it. The blood tithe table is a distraction, providing some small bonuses, but in practice just tipping the game a little harder if you're winning already. In the end, most of the blood you'll be providing will be your own, squeezed out of an angry metal box.