Tactica Daemon Hunters

By Alexander McLaren

Since the project was announced I have been excited about the various Inquisition codexi. The dark imagery of the Inquisition is one of the main selling points of 40k and the diversity of models and units in this army make it ideal for a converter like myself. I can say quite honestly that an Inquisition army with psykers, mutants, servitors and human heroes is one I have wanted to do for years. But it not an easy set of rules to use. This army can stand alone with great difficulty but is really meant to either take allies or to be used with other Imperial forces.

The fact that many of the most popular armies in 40k all have access to this list makes it a must-buy for many players. Marine, Sisters of Battle and Guard players gained several new options they can add to their list in the form of Grey Knight and Inquisition allies. Not only are some of these units very effective, they are some of the most colorful and characterful units in any army. Who can resist not adding a squad of combat cyborgs, a naked flying baby, and some crazy guy with a chainsaw or a hot chick in bondage gear to their force? But the points for these fun little units can quickly add up and even the most enthusiastic modeler and painter wants to win from time to time. So I've taken the time to test out some combinations of units with both the Guard and Marines (sorry SoB players) and as a stand-alone force. I've written up my findings so you can have fun and maybe even make your army more effective in the bargain.

This article will focus more on those tireless oppressors of the masses, the Inquisitors (and their attendant freaks and misfits) than on Grey Knights, overdressed protectors of the Imperium. I have not used GKs very much so my thoughts on them will be based mainly on how they look on paper and the experiences of other players.

Daemon Hunters as Allies
I think this is the most effective role DH can play. It allows you use your existing force, with all the strategies and experience you have developed, while adding some fun and funky units to make up for weaknesses in your force. Best of all you have access to nearly all the units in the DH list without having to worry about the restrictions that come with it.

Imperial armies can take 0-1 HQ, 0-1 Elites, 0-2 Troops and 0-1 Fast Attack choices from the Daemon Hunters codex. These do not count towards your minimum troop requirements but do count towards your maximum. One real benefit is that these units can be added to any imperial army to overcome some of the weaknesses built into their lists. So, not only can you now add some cheap Storm Troopers to your Deathwing army, you can also throw some Terminators into your Guard force! (Whether or not this is a good idea for game balance is another question entirely).

One disadvantage is that some opponents will object to Daemon Hunter units appearing in a seemingly unrelated army. It brings to mind the bad old days when people would field 'Marine' armies with Eldar, Adeptus Mechanicus, Ork, Squat and IG allies. Adding an Inquisitor to tie the forces together will help overcome this problem. Since it is required for many units anyway that's not such a big deal. For aesthetic reasons you might consider painting the DH Allies in your army's colors with just a discreet =I= to mark their origins. Creative painting, modeling and fluff can also help, I offer some suggestions for this later on in the article.

For Guard armies the DH offer a wide selection of counter-assault units as well as several BS4 shooting units. The grunts definitely gain a lot from this book, especially the ability to finally add some Marines to back them up. Funny how every guard army can have the rare, elite Grey Knights but they can't get the time of day from ordinary Marines...

For Marine armies there are not as many great units. Marine units are generally better at shooting and assaulting than any in the Inquisition list. But there are some benefits to be had from adding elite Grey Knights, cheap Strom Troopers or cheap Inquisition characters to a pricey and elite Marine force.

Daemon Hunters as a stand-alone army
This is a tougher route to take. The DH list has many expensive, sub-optimal units and lacks many basic options such as tank-killing firepower. Marine and Guard allies make up for this but the units you can take are very limited (no Marine HQ, no Marine Whirlwinds, no IG doctrines, no Basilisk). If you really want to do Daemon Hunters alone you will be rewarded with a fun and interesting force that will catch many of your opponents off-guard but it won't be easy to win.

Tactics For Stand-Alone Daemon Hunters
A Daemon Hunter army is very hard to use well. Depending on the units you select you might have a rock hard army with T4 and 3+ saves, a fragile one with T3 and 5+ saves or a mixed army where the infantry range from puny guardsmen to hulking terminators. One thing that will remain constant however is your army cannot rely on one tactic. The DH cannot win a shooting match against a dedicated shooting army, nor can it win an assault battle with a dedicated hand-to-hand force. What you do have is access to a diverse selection of units giving you more freedom to improvise than some other armies. Because of the enormous variety of units available to you the tactics you use will depend almost entirely on your choice of allies.

With Guard allies you have committed a large portion of your army to stand and shoot. You can either add to this with some shooty DH units like a las/missile GK Dreadnought, Land Raider, Orbital Strike, and Inquisitors with psycannon or lots of Chimeras. The problem is many of these options will be weaker than the equivalents in a pure IG army but maybe you'll find a way to make them work for you. You can also compliment your shooty guardsmen with counter-assault or mobile units such as ISTs in Rhinos, Deathcultists, Grey Knights or assaulty Inquisitors. This is probably the better bet, marrying the DH's relative strength in assault to the IG's relative strength in shooting. Marine allies are much more flexible than IG allies. With Rhinos and Land Speeders you could have a very mobile assault force. With Devastators, tanks and heavy weapons you could build a static shooting force. But again in almost every case it will be inferior to your typical Marine force. Your best bet here is to make up the marines usual weakness in numbers by adding IST squads and Inquisitors with large retinues.

Of course some people will want to play a pure Daemon Hunters army with no allies at all. To which I say... GOOD LUCK TO YOU! The DH is meant to use allies, it needs them, they are part of the army design and fluff. Not using them means ignoring half of your army list. It can be done, people have won games using only marine scouts or only Howling Banshees but you will be using a limited version of an even more limited list.

Whatever force you take, you will have a tactical workout. Except for daemon hunting the Daemon Hunters do not excel in any one area. You will have to use terrain, maneuverability and tricks to your best advantage. Since no unit is overwhelming you will have to configure many of your units to perform double-duty.

Whichever route you take, here are some areas the DH have a definite advantage in...

Weird-Ass Grey Knight Shit: The GKs come with an entire page of special rules that deserve discussion somewhere, so it might as well be here. They start at 25 points but they have storm bolters and are WS5, S6 (with a Nemesis) a good start. They are Fearless, so a sole surviving member of a squad is still a threat. They can always Deep Strike, not too effective if you just have 1 squad that can do it but en mass it becomes a game winner. GKs in power armor have True Grit so mentally add one to their attack stats. The Aegis gives them an extra save against psychic attacks, cutting the need to buy psychic hoods and other items. Exorcism lowers the leadership of all daemons on the table by one and requires them to roll for difficult ground before charging. Remember that leadership penalty in Chaos games since it affects every daemon, even ones on the other side of the table from the GKs. Shrouding means opponents can only see them if they roll under the range on 3d6 x 3 (9" to 54", average of 32") and if they can't see them they lose their shot (there's some potential in that). Ordnance and Guess weapons fire normally but scatter twice as far. This usually will not protect them from fire, the 24" range of most weapons is well within the average roll for Shrouding, but keep in mind they cannot be shot at from more than 54" away. For some long-range weapons like rail guns that can be a lifesaver. And, hey, you never know. Make sure your opponent rolls each time.

Lastly there's the disadvantage Daemonic Infestation. To compensate for all their anti-daemon jibber-jabber daemons get sustained assault when GKs are present. Strangely, daemons do not get an advantage when you just bring Inquisitors. Most of the time this is not a big deal, recycled daemons come on at the table edge rather than being summoned, but it's worth a mention. If you're just adding one or two GK units to your army for some extra punch this disadvantage can be a nasty surprise. You will not only face more opponents, you won't have enough special anti-daemon gear to deal with them. Also if your GKs are close to the opposing table edge this could cost you a squad.

Hard Targets in a Soft Army: I have one caution about including GKs in an Imperial Guard force (or DH with Guard allies). Every army has a few units designed to take apart Marines and Terminators, units that usually are wasted against the Guard. But if you offer up a squad or two of expensive elite marines they are going to attract the attention of every can opening weapon on the table. If you use them, keep them screened or deep strike them. Make sure you bring enough that you can afford to lose a few. For example, you might be better off with 2 squads of power armor GKs than 1 squad of terminators.

Mobility: With the notable exception of Grey Knights, nearly every DH and allied unit can buy a transport. Rhinos make for nice mobile firepower; you can move 12" and still shoot 2 weapons from them. Razorbacks are good for advancing 6" while shooting. Chimeras are better bunkers, sitting still and firing two heavy weapons (plus 1 from the hatch). With Marine allies you can have one squad of Land Speeders plus one LS Tornado. A fully mechanized DH army is very fluffy (they are a rapid reaction force) and may offer more armor than your opponent can deal with.

Fun With Screening: The DH are one of only 2 armies that can take Marines and light infantry in the same force (the Lost and the Damned is the other) allowing for some interesting screening combinations. Against armies with little AP3 weaponry your Marines or Grey Knights can screen your IG, ISTs or Inquisition fire teams. Against armies with a good amount of AP3 weaponry do the reverse, use guardsmen or ISTs to protect your expensive Marines. GKs with storm bolters and psycannons can try marching behind a few squads of guardsmen laying down fire as they advance into assault. Similarly you can screen tanks, hiding AV11 Rhinos behind AV12 Chimeras or even behind AV14 Land Raider Crusaders.

Deep Striking: the DH can have up to 3 fast attack units and 3 elite units (and 1 HQ!) that may deep strike in every mission and have both the armor and short-range firepower to do it effectively. They can also have troops with teleport homers to summon and place them. And don't forget Imperial Guard vehicles with improved comms; these will let you re-roll those critical reserve checks. While this is a costly and small army it could be effective. They fact you can deep strike in every mission should not be underestimated. Generally it is not a good idea to rely on teleporting since it is not available in every mission but with the DH this is irrelevant. Basically you would want a GK Hero and retinue, 1-3 GK terminator squads, 2-3 small teleport attack squads, Inquisition Storm Troops with a transport and teleport homer and an Imperial Guard tank with improved comms. It's a lot of points and has some disadvantages but when it does work it will work well. The usual cautions apply, don't drop unless you will have room to put down all your models (at least 1" from an opposing models), don't strike too close to the table edge, and try not to roll hit and snake eyes.

Daemon Hunting: While I generally do not tool up my armies to face one particular foe the DH were made to stomp on Chaos. If Chaos is popular in your area consider taking a squad with Sacred Incense and maybe some other do-dads to deal with them.

Created by: system. Last Modification: Sunday 25 of January, 2009 12:48:59 PM EST by ZiggyQubert.

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