How to beat Daemons

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How to beat Daemons

Post  RickyDMMontoya on Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:12 pm

Carson wanted a thread on how to win against Daemons, so I thought I would start one just to oblige him.

One of the strengths of a Daemon army is that it can be so varied, with a tool for every every occasion. An army with a Lord of Change, 3 Heralds of Tzeentch, 3 dozen Horrors and a handful of Flamers is wildly different from a Bloodthirster 2 dozen Bloodletters and Flesh Hounds.

That said, there are a few "archetypes" that most Daemon armies fall into:
1.) The Nurgle Phalanx
Typified by multiple units of Plaguebearers led by a series of Heralds of Nurgle on Palanquins, this army is almost entirely infantry - T4 infantry with a 5+ ward save and Regeneration. May or may not be led by a Great Unclean One, this army is slow on the advance (especially when marchblocked), but fantastically resilient.

2.) The Tzeentch gunline
This army uses as many Tzeentch units and gubbins to ramp up the power dice well into the double digits and includes multiple units of Flamers. They have little more than magic and shooting, but their Heralds will provide a 4+ Ward Save to their units of Horrors so trading fire with them can be disadvantageous. Sufficiently large units of Horrors can easily laugh at units that would defeat other shooting units, forcing you to engage with the heavier elements of your line.

3.) Khorne/Slaanesh
There really isn't a lot of variation between Khorne and Slaanesh units. They're all high WS troops with T3 and a 5+ ward, and they're all relatively quick. Slaanesh might have a bit of magic, but not much because of the way magic is available to Daemon Heralds... Whether the Daemon player takes all Khorne, or all Slaanesh or a mix of the two, the army will still want to engage, but engage on its own terms. The Daemon player will be able to choose his terms because of the overall high movement any combination possesses.

4.) Total Mix
A completely mixed army is almost too unpredictable to properly define. A Bloodthirster leading units of Plaguebearers with Heralds backed up by Flamers seem effective. Too various in combination, they'll probably look too silly on the battlefield to actually be seen very often, background notwithstanding.

With that in mind, the common features of any Daemon army will be as follows:
Strengths
Every unit is Immune to Psychology
Everything causes Fear or Terror
5+ Ward Save across the board
Instability Break Test
Above average combat statistics
Frequent access to special rules like Flaming Attacks or Regeneration or Killing Blow, even on Core troops
Pretty good mobility.

Weaknesses
Very high average unit costs
Immune to Psychology means they can't flee from any charges
Very limited access to magic or magic defense except for the Tzeentch units.
Low Toughness across the board
Only two non-character units with an Armour Save (Seekers with a 6+ and Bloodcrushers with a 4+)
Lack of a real shooting phase except for Flamers

What these strengths and weaknesses mean is that while they may be outnumbered in general, it is often very easy for a Daemon player to achieve local superiority. Sure that Daemon unit only has 20 models, and your unit has 20 models, but that Daemon unit might cost 300 points more than your unit. And that Daemon unit is going to hit as hard as it costs. This means that if you go into the fight on what looks to be even terms, it often will not be. If you let his units mulch through yours one at a time all game you'll soon be left with nothing, and will have made no impact on the unit doing the mulching.

So what can a non-Daemon player do to take advantage of this? Think ahead, flee charges if you have to and make aggressive combined charges to rebalance the combat. Beware that even if you win combat, with the Instability rules, unless you win by an incredibly large amount, or the unit you are engaged with is quite small, there will likely be some Daemons left when the dust settles, leaving you engaged and potentially open to countercharges from the quick moving Daemon support units. Beware of your flanks and rear when planning combats, and unless you really know you're going to whallop them, plan to be engaged for longer than a single phase - even if you're not used to that.

What else can you do? Shoot and magic the Daemons. With low toughness and a complete lack of armour, Daemons are highly vulnerable to both these phases, and if they don't take Tzeentch elements, they are almost totally unable to compete in them. Sure they have a 5+ ward, which means that bolt throwers and cannons are less effective, but having such a poor save across the entire army means that bows, crossbows, blowpipes, javelins, handguns, etc. are all much more useful. I would never advocate a gunline, but having several missile equipped units will put pressure on the Daemon player to engage, perhaps more quickly than he would otherwise and may lead to a forced mistake.

Likewise for magic. A lowly fireball can do non-negligible damage to a Daemon army (even the Regenerating Nurgle variety) and without Tzeentch units, most Daemon armies will have a difficult time stopping many spells. Khorne has magic resistance, but for the most part, it's MR1, meaning even a level 2 scroll caddy should be able to sneak a spell past it once their basic dispel dice are gone.

That's about all I can think of off of the top of my head, hopefully others will have some commentary on how to beat the Daemons.

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Re: How to beat Daemons

Post  ScottRadom on Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:41 pm

My addition to this thread....

-Kill the BsB. It's not easy to score points of demons at all. Even the non Nurgle demons can lose a combat by 6-8 and stick around at half strngth or under. I would reccomend doing everything in your power to kill the BsB to help not only keep the demon player from re-rolling those massive break test but to also scoop up much needed points. A modestly priced BsB will still run in the 200+ points cost after gifts and such and score you the extra hundred at games end if you can keep the flag.

-Shoot 'em. No brainer dumb ass thing to say but make sure you identify immediately the peices of the demon army that will cause you the most harm. For me it's spell casters. Shoot everything you have at one target until it's dead then move on. Splitting fire is NEVER a good idea but against targets with at least a 5+ ward save it'll take everything you've got and some more to take out the dangerous pieces.

-Combat resolution! Don't pick fights where you don't outnumber the demons. Even if fear isn't a liability to your army you want to make sure you've got CR on your side before the combat starts. Demons (except for maybe Khorne) aren't THAT dangerous in combat in terms of killing models so if you start the combat up by a point or two you can probably expect to win. I'm talking rank and file units here, not anomalies like units of juggernauts etc.

-Table quarters! There 400 points up for grabs in most warhammer scenarios. Make sure by turn 5 you've got pieces in place to deny and secure a couple table quarters. You probably started the game outnumbering the demons (Though by turn 5 that may not be the same situation!!!) so make sure you've got the tools in place to help with this. A massive kick ass unit of infantry runs about 300 points, securing/denying table quarters with cheapo units makes that amount up.

-Kill the general! Ld 7 sucks, but ld 9 makes winning those big combats less effective. Knock out the general and the demons will start to whither a little quicker. This is much easier said then done. I always point to shooting in this instance (Where dispel dice don't mean a thing!) but do wahtever you need to to get that Ld 9 out of the picture. With an in your face Blood thirster where you usually only get one crack at shooting before he's up in your grill this can suck a ton.

So I guess that's my limited anti-demon tech.

-Pick your targets wisely
-Shoot, shoot, and shoot some more
-Always outnumber them. Bring more infantry into each combat then he has.

The cheif frustration I have with the demon book is they really, really over powered it. The Tzeentch casting army is retarded. If you have to play that army I'd just shake hands and go for a beer instead. Stash and Eric are both playing strongly competitve armies right now that are not over the top. Kudos! But the fact is they're doing that out of self restraint and a desire to still be able to talk to the fantasy leaguers outside of warhammer. The book is just too much! I try not to cry foul too often on armies but this demon book takes the cake. I was worried about high elves. Dissapointed about the Vampires. Dark Elves had some puzzlers for me but Demons just take the cake!

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Re: How to beat Daemons

Post  nathanr on Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:02 pm

I think that all these suggestions are good ones, the shooting one is very important! I truly think that if I had managed to kill Eric's Keeper of Secrets with my shooting before he got into combat our game would have ended much differently (a minor victory for him or draw instead of a massacre) but unfortunately I only managed 4 out of 5 wounds which he quickly recovered by killing dwarfs.

One thing I should have done differently is position my infantry units better so that I could have made more counter-charges as per Scott's 3rd point. I have nobody to blame but myself on this point so let that be a lesson to anyone going up against Daemons... don't be an idiot and you might not lose!

Also, deployment is a big part of Warhammer and against Daemons it is even more important. Watch how your opponent is setting up and put your own units down with a plan in mind. I didn't do this very well in my game against Eric and it cost me. I should have put my organ gun on the flank where he had all his flyers and fast cav. Instead I put a bolt thrower there which was useless. Again, don't be an idiot!

To sum up:
- Do 5 wounds instead of 4 when shooting at a Keeper of Secrets
- Don't be an idiot

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Re: How to beat Daemons

Post  RickyDMMontoya on Mon Jan 12, 2009 4:16 pm

I think in the game we played your war machines were the key. Deploying them first, you seized the initiative, because I literally had to plan my entire advance around them.

Of course doing so let me plan my entire advance around them, but you dictated the avenues of approach. As long as you have a solid, coherent strategy in mind, dropping down a couple Helblasters or some Cannons, Stone Throwers, etc. as your first deploy in the obvious main line of advance can really determine the tone of the game. I'm not certain you capitalized on this in our game Wink

My left flank (your right flank) was like a box of goodies for me with that bolt thrower and unit of Thunderers so far out of support range from the rest of your army. The terrain they deployed beside meant that the rest of your army was probably 3 turns away from them at top speed. That should serve as a good warning to others - don't put units in positions where the rest of your army can't support them. The Daemons have access to many fast elements that can easily mop up these units and make it back into the fight before the end of the game.

EDIT:
Oh, and by the way, if I lost my Keeper on the first turn in 2 games I would have been mighty upset (and embarrassed)!

EDIT EDIT:
Something else that came up in our game was the 24" between deployment zones. Nathan was not aware that because of the 24" rule, troops with 24" range will necessarily be out of range on the first turn. It's something to consider because even if both players deploy on the line, the rules state that there must be at least 24" between the two armies, which means that owing to human imprecision, it will necessarily be just over 24". I am not sure if there are others who are/are not aware of this rule, but it's something to consider when positioning handgun troops, Organ Guns, etc. and determining who goes first.

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Re: How to beat Daemons

Post  Carson on Mon Jan 12, 2009 5:39 pm

Pretty good discussion here, I likes..... that being said, in both my games I killed the deamon prince by turn 2...it didn't help. Sure I could of used more shooters and yes I really need to start using march blockers again! What strikes me everytime is that there really is no bad or mediocre deamon unit I've seen. Both Eric and Stash played really toned down lists from what I could see yet they still tore through my units like butter. I did make a number of mistakes during game play and I know where I could do things differently yet I'm afraid its an uphill struggle for the mans though.

All in all the one bitch I have is over the deamon break/instability test now. They work basically in the same way as undead now.....only way tougher to actually kill. I think they really missed the boat on this. A little difference in this department would have cured alot of problems now.

One good thing about it though is that it gives me a challenge!

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Re: How to beat Daemons

Post  RickyDMMontoya on Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:24 pm

Well Carson, I think there were two pivotal moments in the game I had against you. The first was losing the Keeper to a single cannonball in the first turn. The second moment was the rear charge by my Seekers against your Knights. If I hadn't annihilated your knights at that point, you were in good position to massacre the rest of my units.

My only hope was that charge, and the dice rewarded me with 4 dead knights. In any other scenario, or if you had even held for a turn there, I think your knights could have seen off my infantry in combination with your Greatswords or Swordsmen.

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Re: How to beat Daemons

Post  Kuyp on Mon Jan 12, 2009 7:07 pm

I have never played against daemons and form what you guys tell me is the best way to defeat them i think that my test army would be the best response.

For the most part there a fast moving and shooting army. there are no war machines no strange monster or demons, magic can be effective but expensive and risky. to take advantage of the most powerful units (rare) you have to be willing to spend 300+ on a unit that's at a max of 10 warriors.

i don't know how they would compare in combat thought, there not that tough but not to weak either.

when playing against daemons, on average how much magical defense/ offense can a player expect?
i find that when ever i plan some sort of a magical battle it never works out that good, either because of to many dispell dice or just bad luck.
also what the best way to stop a person from being able to march? scouts and skirmishers? i never get to march with my tomb kings so it doesn't really bug me Smile

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Re: How to beat Daemons

Post  Carson on Tue Jan 13, 2009 8:37 am

yeah thats warhammer, thats what makes the game so fun, anything can happen. I have to hand it to both Eric and Stash in our games......after loosing thier big bosses they bore down and fought on. Its tough to do that so early in the game. One thing that surprised me were the seekers, I should of learned from the first game......but didn't!
Eric, it was cool to see your Khorne unit with herald bust into the Imperial line, almost epic like. That guy can dish the hurt!

Andre, I like your enthusiasm, keep up the good work. However, a new army is a tough sell as most of us have only so much time to play, even with sanctioned armies.

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Re: How to beat Daemons

Post  RickyDMMontoya on Thu Jan 15, 2009 10:50 pm

I think he's Dominique and mhael is Andre.

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Re: How to beat Daemons

Post  ScottRadom on Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:50 pm

RickyDMMontoya wrote:I think he's Dominique and mhael is Andre.

I thought you were Dominque, Andre was Eric, and Dominique was Andre?

Man, this internet is TOUGH!!!

Yes, Kuyp is Dominique and Mhael is Andre!

Eric is still Eric. Now I got it!

Just padding the psot count here. Carry on!

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Re: How to beat Daemons

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