Chaos Marine Allies: Chaos Daemons
Continuing forward with my quest of fully understanding Chaos Marines as an army, I've decided to sit down and take a look at the options that I have for Allies. I figure the best way to work around some of the shortcomings of the CSM army is simply by looking elsewhere, but I guess that's pretty obvious. The Allies that CSM have available are Daemons (Batttle Brothers), Imperial Guard, Necrons, Orks and Tau, I'll be ignoring Desperate Allies as they tend to be too great of a liability and cannot score, so really just aren't great options.
The Chaos Daemons are absolutely the first allies that most people think of, when they think of Chaos Marines. They are the only Battle Brothers available to Chaos Marines, which instantly makes them an appealing choice, additionally, they are a low point investment to get started (90 points for a Herald of Nurgle and 3 Nurglings). That said, what do they really bring to the table for a CSM army?
Greater Daemons are a wonderful and Iconic monster. The Bloodthirster will add a fast killy monster to your army, though unless you're building a Blitzkrieg style CSM army, they will probably be left unsupported. Similarly, a Lord of Change or a Keeper of Secrets will add to any fast army, though with the added ability for some psychic powers as well. The Great Unclean One is sadly a bit slow for most of my armies and being such a combat machine, he will be a target and probably softened up before he ever sees assault. Generally, due to the cost, unless I am building a fast army, I would ignore the Greater Daemons.
Heralds are a cheap and easy solution that will buff up any core unit that you add them to. It is easy to go overboard upgrading them with maximum gifts and psychic mastery though, so be careful. My preferred Herald is simply a Herald of Tzeentch with the Prescience psychic power. It's cheap and can help buff up your shooting units a bit, though CSM already being BS4 means that they're probably not going to be hugely different.
Overall, aside from the Greater Daemon's added to a fast CSM army, or a Herald of Tzeentch to help out from shooting, I haven't found much that the Daemon HQ really bring to the table.
Previously, everyone and their mother knew that Flamers of Tzeentch were the bee's knees and that you should always take them in the maximum quantity you could possibly afford... Those days are long gone, and being AP4 makes them significantly less useful in the marine dominated meta of 40k. With flamers being off my personal menu, that opens the door for another option: Beasts of Nurgle. Keeping in the theme of fast assault units, Beasts of Nurgle are T5 W4 Beasts (go figure), making them a great addition to any fast Chaos Marine army. Bloodcrushers and Fiends aren't terrible options either, though only being T4 means that they'll be blasted apart by missiles left and right, and since you only get one Elite unit, you need them to last.
If you aren't building a fast assault army, then sadly, Elites aren't for you.
Nurglings are the optimal choice if you're not looking to invest a lot of points, but unfortunately aren't scoring... Bloodletters and Daemonettes are acceptable choices if you want them for assault, though I find their slow speed and T3 5++ rather weak. That leaves Plague Bearers, which are decent in assault, but really just serve as great objective campers with a their +2 to cover saves. Sadly, Chaos Marines really seem to be lacking fast scoring troops, and nothing that Daemons bring really helps in that department.
I think there are really two different options here that stand out. The first being Plague Drones, though sadly, I think their models are better than the unit in game. They are T5 W3, so similar to the Beasts of Nurgle, though slightly quicker as they are Jetpack Cavalry, their price is a bit prohibitive though for their damage output. Ignoring them though and you're left with Seekers of Slaanesh. At 240 points for a squad of 20, you will have an extremely fast unit with a ton of rending attacks that can surely carve up just about any unit they pile into. What's the downside? Well, T3 and 5++ again, meaning they they'll be shot to pieces if they dont' get into combat fast, and since you'll only take 1 unit of them at most, you really have to make it count. Just like Elites, if you're not making a fast assault CSM army, there isn't much here to offer.
The last section of the book, we have the big hitters of the Daemons Book. The Soulgrinder is the first unit up to bat, with an impressive AV13 HP4 and 5++, it's a beast of a vehicle to kill, stacking on Phlegm Bombardment and you've got a poor-man's defilier, though more survivable, at a cost of a bit of speed and a couple auxiliary weapons. This is much closer to what a Defilier should have been, and might actually be an okay addition to a shooting based CSM army. Also in Heavy Support you have the Skull Cannon, which might be okay if you have some Warptalons, since they don't have grenades (but really, if you're using Warp Talons, you aren't going for a strong list anyhow). The Burning Chariot really only adds some more Ap3 Torrent weapons, which are already covered by Heldrakes in my experience, and the Seeker Cavalcade really does nothing to impress me.
Overall, the Daemons don't really seem to fill any gaps that the Chaos Marines have. They lack fast scoring units, as well as cheap or effective anti-air. The one thing that Daemons do bring to the table is more of the same, meaning, if you're making a fast assault Chaos Marine army, then they can add some more fast assault elements, but ultimately nothing more at any effective level.
Sadly, as much as I'd like to have Chaos Daemons, I just think that their other allies have more to offer. Next time, I'll be going over Imperial Guard allies for my Chaos Marines. Stay Tuned!
Hey, if you think I'm totally wrong in every way, please let me know! I'd really like to find some solid reasons to take Daemons, but I just can't seem to get them to help out much.