Daemons. They're a weird bunch. If CSM was the victim of the late 4th dumb down design paradigm, Daemons were the gooey fun bits left over, stapled together, prettied up and sent out into the world, which I guess means they're the benficiary? Anyway, we're left with a new Codex, first of its kind, with a unique style of play. Daemons are also in effect in WHFB, but that's another tale.
I've been playing them since the books came out and I still enjoy them. They're a bit gimmicky and don't have the kind of variety we've gotten used to with the recent 5th ed books, but overall it's an enjoyable army. Unfortunately, due to their relative newness and quirky workings, a lot of people don't understand how they work, what they can and can't do well, or how to effectively use/stop them. I'm here to fix that, cuz I'm just good like that.
Everything in the army Deep Strikes, bar none. Every army is divided into two "waves" consisting of approximately 1/2 the total number of units. On turn 1, 1 of those waves comes in all together. You can pick the wave, but you only get it on a 3+. Wave 2 comes in normal reserves. Right off the bat, you see just how random this army is. Deep Strike is bad enough, but you're not even guaranteed of getting the wave you want. A botched roll on your wave can put you in a bad position or even cost you the game. It's possible to mitigate the effects of scatter with icons, but they have to be on the board to start in order to work. That means the first wave (the important one) can't use them, so that's a fail. For other units to make use, they have to get nice and close, clustered in "please pie plate me" formation. Mobile units don't need them and most slow units are shooty or static anyway, so icons just aren't very useful.
Like any Deep Striking army, Daemons have difficulties dealing with mobile forces and any army that can effectively castle or reserve to negate their first strike/surprise attack capabilities. They also suffer from a critical lack of anti-tank power with no melta or any reliable weapons above S8 (thought it is AP1). Daemons rely on a few highly mobile units to catch up with enemy armor and either destroy/disable them through weight of attacks in HtH, or blast them with S8 AP1 on side and rear armor.
Overall, it's a fun army with a unique playstyle and lots of potential, but the built in randomness and difficulties handling mobile and mech armies leave something to be desired competitively. I like playing them in casual settings, or for a fun change competitively, but this isn't your normal tourney army.
I'll follow up with a review of each FOC slot, some strats for and against, and a couple lists for perusal. Unlike my Necron blurb there's actually stuff worth reviewing here :P
Wave Splits and Deployment