In my previous article (that so many people read :P) I put out a general summary of how the Daemon army operates. Now I'll be going through each section of the FOC in more detail before putting up some sample armies. Won't that be fun? First up is HQs.
Daemons are really spoiled for choice with HQs. They have 15 separate choices in this slot alone, that's half the available choices in the entire army list. Daemons can also have up to 4 of them. Heralds, named or otherwise, can be taken 2 per HQ slot. It opens up a lot more options for fielding up to 4 out of those 15 picks. As a result, the HQ slot is easily the most hotly contested and has the most variety within. Like any army, your HQ picks influence the rest of your army, and with so much variety here you can make big changes just by swapping HQs.
So here we go.
AKA, Big Red, this guy is a beast. High S, T, A, WS, good armor and invul, wings, all for the price of a Land Raider. He's expensive, but it's hard to find anything that can reliably bring this monster down. Add in Unholy Might so he doesn't have to rely on the charge to insta-pop T4 and to buff his anti-armor capabilities. Blessing of the Blood God is dirt cheap and always well worth it just in case you run afoul of psykers (say, a Rune Priest with Living Lightning). The rest of the gifts available are very meh, either unfit for his role or unnecessary. Note that while the BT is a killing machine, he is not invincible. 4 T6 wounds, even with a 3+/4++ is still very susceptible to getting shot up. That's why these beasties work best in pairs, or teamed up with multiple speedy and high T units.
Lord of Change
AKA Big Bird, this one is interesting. BS5 and the usual array of nice Tzeentch ranged gifts would indicate he is best at shooting, while his impressive statline and wings lean towards a role more in the line of face-smasher. The 3++ would see him as a tank. In truth, he's neither. The Lord of Change, fittingly you might say, is juggling too much at once. He can shoot, but he doesn't have enough firepower to make it worthwhile (1 S8 AP1 shot and 3 S5 AP3 shots for how much?!) and other units are better. He can fight, but his paltry number of attacks and so-so WS disagree, and other units are better. He can take shots, but he has other way to save, 3++ is the same to heavy bolters and autocannons as normal power armor and of course, others do it better. With his exorbitant cost and the fact that pretty much any job he can do, another will do better and for much cheaper, it's best to leave the bird in his cage.
Keeper of Secrets
Ok, great statline, fleet, cheaper than a BT (only lower WS and S, superior I and A), and, hold on. I10 and both kinds of grenades? Holy shit! This guy can go anywhere and kill anything long before it tries to strike back (except for any nids sporting lash whips of course). Hell, even with BS4 is can get Pavane off reliably should you feel the need. The downside you say? S6, even with the extra 2D6, isn't always gonna be enough to pop heavier armor. Unholy Might helps that. Well, only a 4++ is far from durable. Luckily it's cheaper and fairly speedy with fleet, but like always, when you field big stompy things, it's always good to field them in multiples. Fleet is good, but it's not all that fast really. Check out Sopoforic Musk. Hit & Run means this bad boygirl can bounce around the table faster than your run of the mill tank. I call it Slaanesh's Ping Pong Ball Trick. Charge a unit, murder them a bit, then next turn bounce out 3D6" to catch something further away, leaving the sloppy seconds for your slower units. For an army that generally has problems with mobility and catching faster enemies, this is extremely useful. While not as direct and durable at a BT, the Keeper brings its own bag of tricks to even the odds.
Great Unclean One
AKA Mr. Personality, this guy is tough. T6, lots of wounds, 4++ and FNP is hard to crack for just about anybody. He's also dirt cheap, a good 40 points less than the Keeper. With a decent WS and A, he can hold his own, but the real pain comes from Noxious Touch, poisoned attacks always wounding on a 2+. Very nasty. And hey, for 5 points you can tack on both grenade types and you're good to go. The problem? S&P. Damn. Even rolling 3D6 thanks to being so...big boned, he isn't going anywhere fast. He'll work if you can bring mobile units to lock the enemy down while he saunters up to finish them, or if you just need a big snotty red herring to distract people.
It's a Bloodthirster, that's somehow even killier. Awesome. He trades wings for fleet and gets his price jacked up. He's one bad mother, but the real show is his special ability. He let's everybody, and I mean everybody in a huge radius get Preferred Enemy. That means your combat oriented killing machines get even better at murdering people, but it's a two way street. Daemons, for the most part, are fragile and helping your enemy kill you better may not always work out for you. Skarbrand needs to have an army with lots of high I, mobile units preferably sporting grenades. Oddly enough, he fits best in a Slaaneshi army. Khorne must be a fan of irony. Very pricey, very particular about the army built around him, but still good.
Mega Ultra Chicken here is probably one of the biggest red herrings ever. Not as bad as the Monolith, but up there. On paper, he looks handy, a pricier Lord of Change that lets you re-roll failed saves within his aura of stuff. Handy, right? It is, up until you realize he's a Lord of Change that costs more, is only T5, and if he's wounded and fails Ld he goes poof. He does have his uses if you build and army around him (not Fatecrusher you silly), but you can't toss this guy in any old force and expect him to work. I've always been a fan of killing stuff before it can kill me, so the boosted survivability has never been my bag.
A bigger GUO with more wounds, the ability to create Nurglings, a nifty template, and almost double the cost. He suffers from all the problems normal GUOS have, but he costs more. He has a cool template, a poison AP2 pie that murders infantry, but it doesn't help against armor. He can spawn Nurglings, but to what end? Fun for contesting objectives and being annoying, not so much for KPs. All in all, it's hard to justify the cost on this fella.
Herald of Khorne
AKA, Kherald. It's a Bloodletter, but killier. He's relatively cheap, has a good number of handy options, and is a murder machine. Sad story, he's infantry. Slow dude, ergo getting into assault is tricky. Bloodcrusher makes him tougher, but also pricier. Chariots I like, turning him into a mini MC for dirt cheap, but he's still slow. A good mop up or area denial unit.
Herald of Tzeentch
AKA Tzerald. It's a Horror, minus the suck. Cheap, reliably firepower in a soft package. This is your best place to get lots of anti-tank for cheap. Bolt of Tzeentch is solid for knocking out light to medium armor, but it's got trouble with AV13 and 14, but it's still possible thanks to AP1. Daemonic Gaze is a super heavy bolter, ideally suited to hunting infantry but passable against lighter armor. Tzeralds are cheap, BS4, and you can get up to 4. I prefer them on chariots, as it turns these squishy bookworms into mini gunships. Lots of wounds, jetbike movement, 4+/4++, and furious charge for only 15 points? The downside? He can't hang out in units of T3 Horrors, ohnoes. 4 of these with bolt will only run 400 points and give you mobile, flexible firepower on a relatively sturdy platform.
Herald of Slaanesh
AKA Sherald. What starts off as a glorified Daemonette, S/T 3 and all, turns into something much nastier. On her own or even on a mount, he/she is simply too fragile and weak. Stick him/her on a chariot, and now he/she is much tougher, much faster, much stronger, and with Unholy Might and Sopoforic Musk, basically a super-Fiend (minus the wonder twins, unless you're into that sort of thing). A bucketload of S5 rending attacks can tear up infantry and armor alike, while cav movement and H&R can get him/her anywhere on the board quickly. Mobile, killy, and cheap.
Herald of Nurgle
AKA Nurgald. It's a Plaguebearer, that doesn't score, has no power weapon, no mobility to make its shooting worthwhile, and it has no useful upgrades. FAIL. Avoid always, this thing is terribad.
A Kherald that can't be replicated by Bloodcrushers for cheaper. Crazy awesome stats, super instant kill rending, and a reasonable price tag make him very attractice. Unfortunately, he's infantry yet again. Also EW gets passed out like candy, so super rends may not be so attractive. With this mofo walking around, emphasis on walking, who exactly is gonna send their vulnerable multi-wounders to die? Wasted potential.
The Blue Scribes
What he gives up in the resiliency of a chariot Tzerald, he makes up for with a handy ability. He has the power to have all the powers, every shooty gift in the book from Pavane (sweet) to Aura of Decay (suck) and he can fire 2 per turn. Problem is, you're never sure what that second attack is going to be. For the price, I'd say he's definitely handy if you want some extra firepower, even if it can be a bit unreliable. Just make sure he has a unit to hide in, cuz he isn't very tough.
3 Pavanes a turn, eh? That's awesome. 3++ too? Sweet. The catch? 2 wounds and not an IC. She's cheap and Pavane is a handy power, but it's not exactly hard to fail 2 3+ saves, especially if you can't hide in a unit. She's very much a one hit wonder, so make sure you get the most out of her before she goes bye-bye.
Less useless than a Nurgald, but that really isn't saying much. Epi doesn't do much on his own, but he has a big impact on your army. The more kills your Nurgle units get, the better the buffs they receive from him. Here's the rub. All Nurgle units suck at killing things, I mean like totally inept. Daemon Princes and GUOs are your best (only) bet, but since GUOs are shit useless slow it's up to DPs. Resting your entire army's success on 3 T6 4 wound MCs is not a good idea. Once they go, and being the full focus of your army they will, you are left with a bunch of single attack S&P PBs or non-scoring Nurglings to win the day. Yeah, right. Mech armies make things even worse, since no non-MC Nurgle unit is able to catch armor, let alone hurt it. If you bring non-Nurgle in to hunt mech while the DPs clean up infantry, Epi can work. But to what end? PBs have S&P and only 1 attack, even with poison 2+ and power weapons, what will they do? There's a case to be made for Nurglings, but is it really worth dedicating your entire army to buff up some non-scoring T3 swarms? I say nay.
Well that was fun. Hard to believe we're at the halfway point after going through just HQs. Them's my thoughts on Daemon HQs. As you can see there's a lot to wade through when making your army, so remember that you pick of HQ will have a huge impact on how your army is set up and how it plays. If there's any 1 slot you focus on, I'd recommend it be HQs.