Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Why Greater Daemons and Lesser Daemons are crap in 5th dimension 40k

The Greater Daemon rips some poor guardsmen to piecesI played a 1750 point tournament last weekend, and I brought my Chaos Space Marines. My list is by no means competitive or optimized. I have had great success in the local shop, but as we all know, that isn't saying much.

I mostly went because the tournament scene here in Norway can be described as "sporadic" at best. To emphasize this, I can point out that there hasn't been a major 40k tournament in the capital city of Oslo since August 2007 (which I won - with Necrons). (No, I don't count Arcon as a major tournament after you had me playing a Night Fight against Tau with Blacksun Filters on a board with no terrain whatsoever!)

My list:
  • Daemon Prince with wings
  • Summoned Greater Daemon
  • 5 Terminators with Heavy Flamer, Chainfist, Power Fist, Combi-Melta, 2 Champions
  • 5 Chosen with Champion, Flamer, Meltagun and Icon of Chaos Glory
  • 10 Chaos Space Marines with Lascannon, Plasma gun, Champion with Power Fist and Icon of Chaos Glory
  • 9 Thousand Sons with Personal Icon and Champion with Bolt of Change in a Rhino with Havoc Launcher
  • 8 Khorne Berzerkers with Personal Icon and Champion with Power Fist in a Rhino with Havoc Launcher
  • 9 Lesser Daemons
  • Predator with Heavy Bolter Sponsons
  • Defiler with all DCCWs
The idea behind the list was that the Daemons and Greater Daemon could appear in any of the infantry units on the board. They all had Icons (save for the Termies) and Champions, so at a moments notice, I could bring down some major hurt (27 S4 WS4 attacks and an MC with 6 S6 WS8 attacks is pretty hard in my book) where I needed it. I would infiltrate/outflank Chosen, establish forward beachheads and reinforce where needed.

The major flaw in this plan is the lack of control the Chaos player has on his reserves. Putting over 200 points of killy things in reserve versus a shooty opponent is asking for trouble. You depend on the enemy coming to you and not shooting you up early, because those reinforcements can be denied by killing the Icon/Champion.

In one game, the mission was Kill Points/Table Quarters. Versus Guard! In previous games, I have had great success with placing my entire force in reserve, and playing "smart". Bringing in reserves on the flanks and staying out of the majority of the enemy's guns. Not smart at all with this army! No matter where I went, enough guns could be pointed at my units to smack them around handsomely. I lost my entire 10-man CSM unit in the first round of shooting - cover and all. The reserved Daemons had nowhere to deploy and were destroyed in the warp. Great, another Kill Point for my opponent!

Units in reserve are especially crap when the enemy is playing Guard and has an Officer of the Fleet (-1 to reserve rolls). Yeah, 5+ to arrive in turn 2? Only the units you want to leave in reserve will arrive, you can count on that! Probably those daemons, so they can be shot up good.

But that isn't the whole story. Other units in reserve at least have the option to come onto the board from your table edge or outflank or deep strike. Not Daemons! They need a Champion or an Icon on the board to be able to not die when they become available. All they get in return for this is the ability to launch an assault in the same turn they arrive and no scatter. Nice, but that doesn't make up for the fact that the enemy can destroy them before they even arrive.

This brings me back to the title of this rant. 40k in the 5th dimension is an expression from Fritz over at Way of Saim-Hann. It covers both playing the mission instead of the fluff, and using reserves to win. As opposed to using just guns... Daemons just don't work here, as they're both unpredictable as to when they arrive and need support on the ground in order to not die.

Other random thoughts:
All in all, the tournament was a very pleasant experience. I won three games and lost three. I'll do a proper writeup later, but for now, I'll just lament on the suckiness of the generic Daemons of the Chaos codex and the limitations it forces you your army.

I miss the tournament scene, and we are hosting the first local big 40k tournament in over two years in just a couple of weeks. I'm really looking forward to that. Here's some of our new terrain: