Thursday, August 14, 2014

Teh ETC Daemon Lists... No... List!

Of all the places I have ever been, Europe has the most stuff that is gray and depressing.

ETC happened last weekend. It is Europe’s annual celebration of tabletop wargaming and white privilege (also in attendance, Nick Nanavati), and probably, the most significant tournament there is, though you wouldn’t know it from the coverage. The American coverage has been sparse, so other than knowing Poland won and USA came in fourth, there’s not much information out there yet concerning how the armies performed. Every nation sends a team of 8 members, except the UK, which claims to be four countries and sent four teams. Likely story. I'm pretty sure Northern Ireland is a bloody province. And Wales don't count!

Anyhow, somebody thought I should check out some of the Daemon lists that did well and analyze them. Well, I don’t know how anybody did beyond knowing Nick Nanavati got 54 points with Daemons, which is probably middle of the pack. Everybody who brought Daemons pretty much brought the same list with one or two exceptions, so analyzing more than one or two is rather pointless except to say that X is better against some stuff while Y is better against others.

Here’s Nanavati’s list:



HQ 1 – Warlord: Kairos Fateweaver (300) – [300 pts]

HQ 2a: Herald of Tzeentch (45), Disc of Tzeentch (25), Mastery Level 3 (50), Exalted Reward (30) ‐ [150 pts]

HQ 2b: Herald of Tzeentch (45), Disc of Tzeentch (25), Mastery Level 3 (50), Exalted Locust

of Conjuration (25) ‐ [145 pts]

HQ 2c: Herald of Tzeentch (45), Disc of Tzeentch (25), Mastery Level 3 (50) ‐ [120 pts]

HQ 2d: Herald of Tzeentch (45), Disc of Tzeentch (25), Mastery Level 3 (50) ‐ [120 pts]

Troop 1: Pink Horrors of Tzeentch (90), 1 x Pink Horror (1x9=9) ‐ [99 pts]

Troop 2: Pink Horrors of Tzeentch (90), 1 x Pink Horror (1x9=9) ‐ [99 pts]

Troop 3: Pink Horrors of Tzeentch (90) ‐ [90 pts]

FA 1: Screamers of Tzeentch (75), 4 x Screamers (4x25=100) ‐ [175 pts]

FA 2: Screamers of Tzeentch (75), 5 x Screamers (5x25=125) ‐ [200 pts]

HS 1: Soul Grinder (135), Mark of Tzeentch (5) ‐ [140 pts]

HS 2: Soul Grinder (135), Mark of Tzeentch (5) ‐ [140 pts]

FORTIFICATION: Aegis Defense Line (50), Comms Relay (20) ‐ [70 pts]


ARMY TOTAL: [1848 pts]

Hey, I can totally field that army! Actually, I can field just about any of them except those couple that have Plague Drones.
First off, I’d point out that at ETC they ruled that multiple psykers in the same unit can cast the same power. BAO and NOVA have ruled otherwise. I don't see how you say two Warlocks in the same unit are two units, but hey, the UK is actually four countries, apparently. 

The list will have complications (though not insurmountable) in those formats unless you run two Screamer squads (which he has here), and are able to protect them. Or else, the Horrors will do all your summoning, and your troops will arrive in the backfield.
Secondly, ETC is a team format, so lists are built in order to gain some sort of matchup advantage, and are not-necessarily designed with TAC in mind. Therefore the results from the tournament owe much to pairings. I’m sure at least one of these lists did very well.
Hokay, so Nick has 21 warp charge out da gate. Once the Horrors squads lose models, it’s a bit less, but he could always summon more Horrors. I see no portalglyph in there. Let’s assume 25 warp dice in the early going, which is enough for four summons, and I’d guess about  three of those would be successful per turn on average judging by how it has gone for me. However, he also has to cast Cursed Earth, which may require up to three (or more since that is where all the dispel dice are going), making it unlikely that he’ll be able to summon more than three units in most turns at the best of times.
Fateweaver is a warp charge battery and a dice fixer who spends half the game off the board and only ever casts powers if he gets one of the good defensive powers or needs to shoot.
The Tzeralds are mainly for Cursed Earth because you don’t want them casting Summoning too much with only two wounds. Losing even one Tzerald can be crippling to what this list wants to accomplish. Leave that mess to the Horrors if ye can.
The two Squads of Screamers are individually not strong enough to threaten much of anything, but their purpose is mainly as an escort to the Tzeralds, who are themselves little more than WC batteries and fishing for Cursed Earth while tossing out the occasional witchfire.
I didn’t get the Tzeentch Grinders at first because they don’t shoot and aren’t fleet until I saw the Aegis. They start in reserve and deep strike, then benefit from Cursed Earth. No doubt he will have summoned units with Icons to make that less risky. It is also probable that he dropped in a squad of Horrors to summon things close to the enemy.
So, turn 1, Grimoire, Cursed Earth, summon 3 units. Turn 2, Grinders arrive, Grimoire, Cursed Earth, summon 3 units. Repeat til other guy is dead or the board is so clogged that you start casting witchfires. The list’s major weakness is Mindstrike Missiles, which were in abundance, I hear. Just launch them at the guy who cast Cursed Earth and the guy holding the Grimoire and watch the army collapse in a waft of pink smoke. I know from experience having played Blackmoor’s GK six times, which is why I brought a CSM Prince to BAO as my summoner. In my fifth game against him, I ran a version of this list, and although I won, it was only because he screwed up and didn’t Mindstrike the Sorcerer with Shrouding and the guy with the Grimoire like he had in our second game.

Here are a couple other versions from the second and first place teams.


PLAYER 2: Nils “Schnuffi” Peters



HQ 1: Kairos Fatewaever (300), Warlord (0) [300 pts]

HQ 2: Herald of Tzeentch (45), Psyker Level 3 (50), Exalted Reward (30), Disc of Tzeentch (25) [150 pts]

HQ 3: Herald of Tzeentch (45),Psyker Level 3 (50), Exalted Reward (30), Disc of Tzeentch (25) [150 pts]

HQ 4: Herald of Tzeentch (45),Psyker Level 3 (50), Exalted Locus of Conjuration (25), Disc of Tzeentch (25) [145 pts]

HQ 5: Herald of Tzeentch (45),Psyker Level 3 (50), Disc of Tzeentch (25) [120 pts]

Troop 1: Pink Horrors of Tzeentch, 11x Pink Horror of Tzeentch (11x9), Icon of Chaos (10) [109 pts]

Troop 2: Pink Horrors of Tzeentch, 11x Pink Horror of Tzeentch (11x9) [99 pts]

FA 1: Screamers of Tzeentch, 8x Screamer of Tzeentch (8x25) [200 pts]

FA 2: Screamers of Tzeentch, 8x Screamer of Tzeentch (8x25) [200 pts]

HS 1: Soul Grinder (135), Daemon of Slaanesh (15) [150 pts]

HS 2: Soul Grinder (135), Daemon of Slaanesh (15) [150 pts]

FORTIFICATION: Imperial Bastion (75) [75 pts]

ARMY TOTAL [1848 pts]

Very close to how I’d do it if I were going to build this list. He’s running his Slaanesh Grinders across the board instead of dropping them, which is pretty much the same result most of the time, but a turn 2 charge is not impossible. One less squad of Horrors gets him more Screamers, which, in my opinion, is better, especially since this list has a Portalglyph. I suppose the Bastion is for hiding Fateweaver behind when he comes on from reserve. Spiffy.


PLAYER 04: Piotr, "Typhus", Zawiła‐Niedźwiecki




HQ1 ‐ Warlord : Kairos Fateweaver [300pts]

HQ2a : Herald of Tzeentch(45), Mastery Level 3(50), Disc of Tzeentch(25), Exalted Reward(30) [150pts]

HQ2b : Herald of Tzeentch(45), Mastery Level 3(50), Disc of Tzeentch(25), Exalted Reward(30) [150pts]

HQ2c : Herald of Tzeentch(45), Mastery Level 3(50), Disc of Tzeentch(25), Exalted Locus of Conjuration(25) [145pts]

HQ2d : Herald of Tzeentch(45), Mastery Level 3(50), Disc of Tzeentch(25) [120pts]

Troop 1 : Pink Horrors of Tzeentch(90), 6 Additional Horrors(54), Icon of Chaos(10) [154pts]

Troop 2 : Pink Horrors of Tzeentch(90), 6 Additional Horrors(54), Icon of Chaos(10) [154pts]

FA1: Screamers of Tzeentch(75), 6 Additional Screamers(150) [225pts]

FA2: Screamers of Tzeentch(75), 6 Additional Screamers(150) [225pts]

FA3: Screamers of Tzeentch(75), 6 Additional Screamers(150) [225pts]


27 Screamers. Eh… They’ll kill what they reach, but then they tend to die if not the beneficiaries of the Grimoire. I prefer the diversity of the other two. This one is best against Knights though. Since that is a major challenge for Daemon armies, he has a point.

Since there were so many versions of this list, odds are some of them did very well and others didn’t, so I don’t know how you can make any solid claims about the army.

NOVA will be the best commentary on how summoning Daemon armies perform. BAO told us nothing since there were only four Daemon players. I’m still skeptical of the build in this form, but there’s no denying it has some game, and since almost every Daemon list at the tournament looks like this, it’s obviously considered the way to play it by most. My theory is, rather than going for three units per turn (which is about the most you can realistically hope for), why not go for two reliably, and field a bunch of other nasty stuff to force the issue quickly?

The sum total of the offense in that third list, for example, is 27 Screamers plus however many Daemonette units he can get on the board per turn because he hasn’t enough warp charge to do witchfires, Cursed Earth and Summoning. My BAO list had three Grinders, 16 Screamers, 5 Nurgle Spawn and a Daemon Prince who often fought in the late game, while also summoning two units to the board with good regularity. To me, that seems more formidable. However, as I only managed 4-2 at BAO, it’s not like I have solid evidence to claim that my way is better.

One last point, if the new GK release does away with Mindstrike Missiles, this build gets stronger. But then, if the GK take that new Nemesis Strike Force that lets them DS on turn 1, then run and shoot (and they will ALWAYS have a comms relay) and goes first, you’re freaking done before it starts.


  1. Actually...per the faq, NOVA has ruled that two psykers in the same unit (excluding those with the brotherhood of psyker rule) can indeed cast the same powers. So two warlocks can cast the same power for the NOVA Open or multiple heralds in a silly screamer star.

    Great article though, thanks for the thoughts on the ETC daemon lists :D

    1. Guess I remembered it wrong. I thought Reece and Mike collaborated and tried to come up with the same rulings.

  2. Also..not that it counts for much, but I think you are on the right track with going for trying to summon just twoish units a turn and having more "on the table" threats rather than just the potential to summon a third unit. I think having things like your spawn unit and the extra soul grinder are great to have. If you are going for the summoning army I really think the version you spoke about a month or so ago run by Robert Tilly with 3 units of spawn etc is the better route to take for a real summoning farm army. It has all the warp dice and still has some early game threats to toss around. Again like you though..its not like I have won any GT's with a daemon army (let alone my Eldar) so I suppose I am just one more voice in the wind..

    1. Yeah I don't know that I agree with some of these lists. Obviously 3 new squads of daemons per turn is more than most armies can reasonably deal with. But there are very few real threats on the table. You'll win some games by simply drowning out the enemy but a KP mission is a definite loss and someone with some decent OS units should beat this list every time if they can hold an objective without getting wiped.

  3. ETC being a team event has different styles of play. Meaning that you will typically have among the 8 offensive, or defensive and so on. My point is that the reason the list performed differently can perhaps mainly be attributed to which type of role on the team did the daemon player fill.

    1. That did not write up well...

      Okay second shot.

      ETC is a team effort where the captain sets up a team. He needs rock, paper and scissor types of lists to counter what they most likely will meet.

      It's in this regard that you could wonder what role the daemon player fills, and most likely due to the similarities that they fill more or less the same cause this has probably been analyzed to death thousands of time among the ETC players.

    2. Here's the norwegian team lists:

      The pure daemon list is a variation of the same cas covered in this article. Perhaps the CSM primary with daemon allies are most interesting?

  4. Belakor with Shrouding up may help the 27 Screamers to survive!

    1. And much more fun than kairos. Rerolls are for wimps.

    2. Do you refuse to re-roll the 2+ cover save Be'lakor grants your Screamers, then? :)

  5. Belakor was not allowed on ETC ( all data sheets in fact ).
    Here is my Daemon list, i am captain team Serbia, was 4th on Single tournament ESC and had 81 point on ETC ( not going after best games ) :
    Here it is Daemon/SM :
    HQ1a - Warlord: Herald of Tzeentch (45), Exalted Reward (30), Disc of Tzeentch (25), Psyker ML3 (50) [150]
    HQ1b: Herald of Tzeentch (45), Exalted Locus of Conjuration (25), Disc of Tzeentch (25), Psyker ML3 (50) [145]
    HQ1c: Herald of Tzeentch (45), Disc of Tzeentch (25), Psyker ML3 (50) [120]
    HQ1d: Herald of Khorne (55), Lesser Reward (10), Greater Reward (20), Juggernaut of Khorne (45) [130]

    10 Pink Horrors of Tzeentch [90]
    10 Pink Horrors of Tzeentch [90]
    3 Nurglings [45]
    3 Nurglings [45]
    15 Flesh Hounds of Khorne [240]
    9 Screamers of Tzeentch [225]
    PRIMARY TOTAL: 1280 pts.
    HQ1: Chief Librarian Tigurius [165]
    Troop1: 5 Scouts (55), Camo Cloaks (10) [65]
    4 Centurions (250), Grav-cannons (80), Omniscope (10) [340]
    ALLIED TOTAL: 570 pts.
    ARMY TOTAL: 1850 pts.
    Just so you know missions were mix of maelstrom and eternal war, and all missions had kill points too, to stop transport spam and no LOW.

  6. Obligatory dig at Wales taken.. but Hey Wales got the same number of points as USA! Not bad for a country that doesn't count.

    1. It was obligatory. My hands were tied.

  7. Thanks for the review! AFAIK the German Daemons list got 50ish points and the Polish one more than 100.

  8. I think the point to stress the most here is that ETC is a team tournament. Your analysis is more for a regular tournament. Here it's all up to the team captains ability to pair your list up against a good match up for you, which means the lists are usually very specific in what they're supposed to do. And with that in mind, being "in the middle of the road" like the two first lists are not that great actually (unless they were defensive choices, in that case it was a good job!). The last list however has potential to absolutely crush the right opponent... and since Poland won the whole thing you can probably guess that's what happened! I also think that it can be rather durable if played right, which makes it a decent choice for a "defending list" in a tough spot.
    While in "normal" games I agree with your assessment (especially the summoning DP part), here I think the Polish list is superior. :)

  9. Take a look at CSM lists, thats fun ;)


  10. So Tzeentch clown car is the only tourney viable demon list right now? Also, what list seemed to be the winner in the tourney? I'm curious to see what the lead competitor lists are.

    1. Don't forget what others pointed out that this was a special case because it was a team tourney. So all the Daemons players probably crafted their lists to fill a specific role for on their team for a specific game type/opponent. If it was a lone wolf tournament we might have seen a few different lists popping up (although I bet 90% of them would still feature summoning a few units a turn).

  11. Now if only we could get some ideas how to approach the 1500 point format... Most 1850 list don't seem to scale down very well so would it be better to start form scratch?

    1. Yup, definitely like to hear more on building a list at 1500. I'm having a nightmare of a time trying to come up with a decent TAC list at that level.


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