There are two Daemon lists doing the round at the moment. One is Daemon flying circus which is typically 5 flying monstorous creatures (Fateweaver, Bloodthirster and three Daemon Princes). I've faced this type of army twice at Blog Wars and once at the GT heat alone in the last 3 months. The tactic for this one is fairly straight forward. After buying 5 monstorous creatures and 4 troop choices the Daemon player won't have that many points left over for other stuff, so all their punch in in these 5 big guys. The trick is to get them on the ground and then keep them locked in combat with Gaunt tar pits, who slowly pull them down with poison, whilst the Flying Tyrants hunt the troop choices. Getting them to land is where the problem arises.
Against this army going second is probably best. It doesn't have such a large alpha strike at other builds and you don't want to loose any turns to kill those big guys. The Bloodthirster will almost always be the first to land. It has little damage output at range and relies heavily on its close combat powers. If it arrives in the Daemons preferred wave on turn one chances are it will stop swooping turn 2 to charge something. If all your juicy creatures are well bubble wrapped (and with at least one additional spawn of Gaunts they should be) he will either try to open a gap in the Gaunts using the firepower of the other or simply charge the Gaunts. Once he's down it's a fixed point on the battlefield.
Now either Fateweaver needs to stay near the Bloodthrister or he'll loose the reroll on armour saves. If Fateweaver and the rest of the circus continue to swoop they will be forced to move off, we'll have to look to bring them down another way, but the Bloodthrister is a lot easier to kill. If Fateweaver land in order to stay near the Warlord (remember Fateweaver is NEVER the army's warlord if there's another HQ choice), chances are the rest of the circus will land too. At which point tar pit them down and use poison gaunts and Doom! to bring them down. Remember to keep the Doom away from anyone with the boon of mutation power (like Fateweaver) as its a fairly simple way for them to kill him.
If the circus continues to fly around you'll probably have to ground them. In theory four units of six or more Gaunts will cause a flying creature to down more often then not. Remeber the guns don't have to be big to cause the downing test. Once again, once you've down a creature pin it to the floor in combat. Eventually you'll have enough of the creatures pinned down the other will land to help out.
Mean while his troop choices are being hunted by the Tyrants. Sound simple doesn't it. So far I've won once and narrowly lost twice using this process.
Screamer / Flamer Spam
Now this is the real bad boy of Daemons, typically three large units of screamers and three large units of flamers. Fateweaver and The Masque as HQ. Against once these have been bought and 3 - 4 troop units there's not a huge number of points left from 1850. The threat here is all about those six units. Deal with them and you've taken the teeth from the army, but that's not easy. Unlike other Daemons builds assaulting isn't as easy. No Gaunt unit will survive a charge into Flamers and screamers come with a lot of attacks. My tactic here, and at the moment its purely theoretical, is to reserve the "killer" units. In theory if you can trade your killer units for his and you start he'll run out first. In my army the killer units are;-
- Two Flyrants (or poss One and Swarmlord)
- Devilgaunts in Pod
I've four of these so hopefully if I can get an early lead, even if he's killing one of my killers for each of his I'll win the war (lets not forget I'm also producing more units while this is happening) and even Gaunt fleshborer fire can kill these Daemons, even more so if you've enfeebled their toughness a little. So holding these units in reserve means they're safe from his alpha strike and can hopefully come on turn two and start hitting the killer units in his army. Giving one Tyrant Hive Commander should increase the chances of all the killers coming on in turn two to maximise the affect.
One final tactic I've yet to try is Deathleaper, in theory his minus D3 to leadership applied to Fateweaver dramatically increases the chance he'll blink out from the first wound. Its a little situational but could be fun, plus Deathleaper is a good option for taking Line Breaker.
Well that's it for my first attempt at a tactics post, once I've had an oppotunity to try some of these out I'll report back, but in the mean time any comments or suggestions are always welcome.