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Running an all-Slaanesh Daemon army

WARNING: This Tactica article is based on the old Daemon book. It is outdated and less-than-helpful. Use these tactics at your own risk! *Disclaimer added by Elric Greywolf 25 Aug 2013

by ArbitorIan

So, you're decided to play Slaanesh. To take an army which ALREADY has quite a restrictive play style and restrict yourself even further by taking only the most fragile units. It's fast, it's graceful, it's got lots and lots of boobs (and yes, we all know that was the REAL reason) and it's quite often described as a 'glass hammer' but there are a few simple tricks that allow you to win with it, and once you get the hang of it, it can be a really fun army.


Fleet, and the saviour of your units

So how is a Slaanesh Daemon army different from a regular one? Well, it's not as tough, has very little shooting, hardly any named characters and lots more boobs. But the most important difference about your Slaanesh units is that they have Fleet. This is the single greatest bonus to your army, and you need to use it well. Here's the theory.

A standard Daemon army is good in close combat and pretty much nothing else. But when your units turn up, they can't charge. So your choice becomes to deploy your units somewhere safe and then foot-slog through a hail of fire to charge your enemy, or to rick the scatter and deploy within 12" of your enemy, take a turn of shooting damage and THEN get your charge. Now, Bloodletters have proper armour and Plaguebearers are unspeakably tough, and so Daemonettes get the bad end of the wrap because they have only their T3 and shiny bra armour.

But they have Fleet! This means that your charge range is a minimum of 13" and a maximum of 18". This means you can do both, land them in cover or away from rapid fire and still be pretty sure of charging something next turn. Now, everything ELSE in the army has Fleet too - particularly Seekers and Fiends, which gives them an effective charge range of 19" to 24" every turn. If you choose your deployment right, you can land MILES away from any dangerous units and still get to charge them next turn.

Fast things hold up dangerous things....


But I have no melta

A quick word about anti-tank, then. You have no melta, you have no lascannons. But it doesn't matter! Why? Because your whole army is rending. Six fiends can charge 24" a turn and inflict 36 S5 rending attacks. If you roll a 6 for rending you add another d3 to the AP roll. And you only have to beat AV10. Ok, it's not going to kill Land-raiders, but it should hold any other heavy armour up long enough for your monstrous creatures to get close.

Who needs melta when you can just POINT at tanks....

Choose your time wisely

So, since you'll almost always have the advantage in speed, the question becomes who to attack first. Which order you choose to attack in is probably the most important thing to consider in-game. Running everything forward at once will only give your enemy the advantage of picking his targets. Keeping as much out of range of his guns until YOU decide to charge gives you back control of the game.

Seekers and Fiends are ideal first wave units - land them first and use their immense charge range to keep them out of danger and then take out the biggest, most threatening targets in the enemy army in your second turn. Once the Fiends and Seekers have done their job, you can land the slower (yeah, slower, with their paltry 18" charge range) elements of the army and advance them across the fiend unmolested.

There's also a lot to be said for using hit and run to 'soften up' enemies in sequence, leaving big dangerous units crippled and able to be mopped up by following squads of Daemonettes.

Of course, if it all goes hermaphrodite tits up and you get the wrong half of the army, they can always lurk at the back for a turn or so until the fast guys start to land and tie up dangerous things. You can confidently expect to get to the other side of the board in two turns even with Daemonettes, so late game objective grabs are still possible.

The fast models get into position early in the game --

Nipple clamps and other toys

Slaanesh have some lovely gifts, and some of them I consider mandatory. Let's start with the obvious.

Soporific Musk - I consider this absolutely mandatory on any large model. Your army is not tough, and the ability to choose your combats is amazing (you'll only fail to Hit and Run on a 6), but the real bonus from this is the length of the Hit and Run move. When exiting combat you get a 3d6" move, even if you're a footslogging Daemon Prince. Obviously, only choose to do this in your enemy's turn, but it can greatly increase your charge range. A Keeper of Secrets can charge the nearest enemy unit early in the game, leave the combat in the enemy turn with hit and run, then fleet and charge next turn for an AVERAGE move of 28" in one turn, and a maximum of 36", and all the while in combat and not taking shooting wounds.

Aura of Acquiescence - Thankfully, almost everything has this already, but the simple advantage is that it increases the value of your very high Initiative. And with a low-toughness army, you want to take as many of them out as possible before they get to attack back.

Transfixing Gaze - Great against some armies, as it can remove a potential high strength powerfist attack, but not mandatory. It IS very cheap though, so I usually take it anyway.

Pavane of Slaanesh - this can be fun, but if of limited use. Every model that can take it would probably be better off running and Fleeting than casting a psychic power. If you run you can get d6" closer to the enemy. If you Pavane them you can move them d6" closer to you IF you hit. Better to run. However, Daemon Princes find this very useful, as they are the only thing in the army that can't Fleet. It's also 30pts cheaper than Daemonic Flight, the only other way to speed up your Princes.

Unholy Might can be really useful sometimes...

Unit Breakdown

Keeper of Secrets - probably the best value Greater Daemon, this guy is a close combat monster. On the charge, he gets seven, I10, S6, WS8 attacks ignoring armour saves. He's fleet, has four wounds and a 4+ invulnerable. I'd usually take two if I possibly can, always with Soporific Musk. If you're expecting to be facing other monstrous creatures the KoS still holds up really well, but you might consider Unholy Might for that S7 boost, and Transfixing Gaze is always a nice addition.

Heralds - given that Daemonettes just aren't that tough to begin with, I don't find that Heralds are really worth including. With the possibly exception of a chariot, it takes too much to make these into cc monsters, and by the time you've spent THAT many points, you might as well go get another KoS. The best use I've found is as Pavane platforms, Icon platforms, or mounted as an additional first-wave unit for holding up the enemy gun-line.

Fiends of Slaanesh - your go-to Elite choice, Fiends are another high-initiative high-attacks choice. They have the fantastic 24" charge range, and two wound each, but they're not THAT tough. I've found that they can get bogged down and even defeated by MEQ if you're unlucky with your rending rolls. They really excel in an anti-light/medium vehicle role, though, with their base S5 and the option to give one Unholy Might, plus their devastating number of attacks. I take as many as possible and get them on the table as soon as possible.

Daemonettes - you're going to need lots of these. They are your only objective holders, and slower than a lot of your army, but they can still put up a bit of a fight. I'd recommend squads of at LEAST 15 if you want them to get into the fighting, preferably 20. Anything smaller is just a back-of-the-table objective holder. With 20 spread out Daemonettes keeping to cover, even those large tamplates won't make a significant dent in the unit.

Seekers of Slaanesh - for when you don't have the money for Fiends. These are just Daemonettes, but with an extra attack and the same move as your Fiends. Useful as a sacrifical unit for the first wave, and a little bit deadlier if you put a mounted Herald in the unit, but for the massive point increase this gives, I'd just accept that they are going to die and throw them at something as soon as you can.

Furies of Chaos - Ok. Furies are rubbish. Compared to the rest of your CC troops they are under-powered and I wouldn't usually recommend them. However, they are about the only thing you have that can fly, and therefore reach things on top of buildings. And the things on top of the buildings are often the things you want to tie up early in the game. There's a use for them there, more so if you play with lots of high terrain.

Daemon Princes - I love these. The upgrade to wings is ruinously expensive, but can be useful sometimes. Usually I'd keep them footslogging and use them as second-wave Keepers, or Counter-attackers. They only have a 5+ inv save so Iron Hide can come in useful, and Soporific Musk is mandatory (the hit and Run move is often larger than your usual charge range!) but I'd also recommend Unholy Might, since unlike the CSM Daemon Princes, yours are only S5. Hell, pretty much every Slaanesh gift is useful on these, and by NOT taking wings, you can probably justify all of them...!

Soulgrinders - These can really fill a hole in your army, and provide you with a bit of early game firepower to take out some shooty threats, but they WILL get destroyed, as all of your opponent's anti-tank weaponry will be trained on them. On the other hand, if you DON'T take them, all that enemy anti-tank weaponry becomes a little more useless, as it will be firing at high-toughness models, in cover, with inv saves.

This many Damonettes. MINIMUM...:)

Conclusions

So, your disadvantages

  • All your daemons are squishy
  • Almost no ranged weapons
  • No melta

and your advantages

  • Fleet
  • Rending
  • Hit & Run
  • Boobs

So, basically, this is what you're aiming to do.

  • Take a good mix of big Damonette squads and really fast first-wave squads, supported by really hard Greater Daemons
  • Land the really fast and really tough stuff FAR AWAY (20-24"), so you don't get shot up
  • Charge with the really fast stuff to tie up the biggest threats
  • Land everything else and advance once the biggest threats are taken out by your first wave fast stuff and monstrous creatures.

Easy, right?


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