Today I'm going to go from one extreme to the other. From the most commonly used Daemonic Troops choice of the last edition, to the one that was never seen. Today's post will cover Daemonettes.
Again, there are quite a few changes to these temptresses. Starting from the top. A 5pt points decrease per head. +1 WS Skill, a BS of 4, run buffs, loss of Aura of Acquiescence, LD7, 1 less attack. Sergeant option, upgrade changes, squad size.
The biggest change here is definitely the points change, as you'd expect. You can never judge how good or bad a unit is without looking at its points cost, it's all about efficiency. But here, although it's the smallest points drop between the Codecies as far as the basic Troops are concerned, it's probably one of the most important. In the old Codex, it simply wasn't viable to take a squad of 20 Daemonettes, 280pts for 20 models that were each as durable as an Eldar Guardian was obscene, however, now a squad of 20 will cost 180pts. Suddenly not so expensive, although I'd probably only recommend them in larger points levels.
Being honest, I came against this unit in the post entitled, ' Chaos Daemons: First Contact' and I was scared to charge that thing with my Grey Hunters, they strike first with 40 attacks all of which hit on 3s, and although they only wound on 5s, half of the wounds that they do cause will be AP2. So, running the maths:
40 attacks, 26.6 hits, 4.4 rends and 4.4 wounds, 1.48 dead marines from the non rends, in total, 5.92 marines die. Most of the time you will lose 6 Grey Hunters when charging them. Ok, maybe that doesn't make their points back, but I'm not going to charge those things so they can give you a degree of board control, even worse if I'm charged, as they damage output would be increase by 50% due to a 50% increase in the number of attacks you put out.
Sure, you could say that they're not going to spend very long killing stuff because they're not that durable. That's probably true, but there are a few counter points to this. Firstly, earlier I mentioned board control. If you can make your opponent's close combat hammer hesitate for just 1 turn, that is still huge, even without actually causing any damage, as you have one more turn to shoot them before they get into combat and also one less turn of them munching your face.
Secondly, a squad of 20 still requires a decent amount to shift it. On average you have to cause 30 wounds to wipe out the squad. There are very few units that can churn that out all on their own, especially when they're reluctant to get close, the only one that really springs to mind is the Guard blob. This means that your opponent has to dedicate quite a chunk of their shooting to cause the necessary wounds, and at 1,850pts, that's less than 10% of your army that they're shooting at, and they may need to because they're so threatening.
The addition of the Ballistic Skill doesn't really change anything. All that I'd say in regards to this is that it's useful when you steal someone's Quad Gun from their own Aegis Defence Line, but that's a rare occurrence. As I mentioned earlier, Daemonettes are the antithesis of Plaguebearers, they hit much harder but are probably the worst Troops choice (with the exception of Nurglings) to hold objectives with, as they're not particularly durable.
So, in short, Daemonettes are definitely not meant for holding objectives, so there are 2 ways that you can really use them. The first is in the obvious, 'charge forward' role, the second is as a counter assault unit. Units are wary about getting close to a block of 20, so a maxed squad of Daemonettes sat behind an Aegis with your Plaguebearers could really deter your opponent from getting close. Possibly more than Bloodletters as you have more attacks and the potential for AP2, a spell of good rolling from you and your opponent is really in trouble in a combat with them. Plus the BS4 does make them useful on the Quad Gun.
With Daemonettes I would adopt an all or nothing strategy for their loadout, a squad of 10 won't do enough damage as you won't have enough attacks to offset the S3 and you're far more likely to be cut down on the way in. 20 is much harder to kill, much more hard hitting and they still come in at under 200 points.
As for the charge forward role, Daemonettes are not terrible at this. For example; I would back them to exceed at a tournament at Maelstrom Games. There's a very good amount of Line of Sight blocking terrain to hide behind, and they're also very quick on the move. Not only do they have fleet, so they can re-roll either the charge distance or the run, but they also move an additional 3” on their run move, as Daemons of Slaanesh.
This means that in turn 1 you can move between 10 and 15”, with a re-roll on the run so you're likely to be 14”15 inches forward, in the next turn you then get your 6” move (21”) followed by a potential 12” charge meaning that you can get up to 33” of movement in 2 turns. That is insanely quick. Obviously you will have to navigate the terrain as it's so important to you but the threat of that unit coupled with its speed will really force your opponent back to avoid it, and if you have 2 units of 20, which will cost just over 350pts for 40 bodies (not bad at all) then you're rolling, and pretty much forcing your opponent to give up board control to try and sit back away from your Daemonettes.
This is why I would never Deep Strike them, you don't need to, as you're already so quick.
Onto the upgrades however. I wouldn't take the Alluress, 5pts for yet another attack probably isn't efficient, and although an Etherblade could be quite funny striking at I5, if your opponent has barrage that's where it'll be going. Not a bad choice with an Etherblade though, I just like my stuff cheap. So, if you are going for an Alluress, take a Lesser Gift.
Instrument of Chaos, if I were to take one I wouldn't be throwing it into my opponent's face. Possible if you're sitting back as a counter assault unit, but my personal preference is to keep them cheap. Icon of Chaos, not a bad choice if you do want to Deep Strike them, escorting the second unit onto the board, I'm just not a fan of the Deep Strike really as it will just mean that your Daemonettes will be able to charge turn 3 at best. If you play in an area with very little terrain, Deep Strike and Icons are worth consideration though.
The Rapturous standard is quite interesting. I was originally thinking that you're hitting on 3s anyway, as it reduces your opponents WS by D3, however if you can drop your opponent's WS to 2 or lower, then they're hitting on 5s (if there are any left) again offsetting your T3 and 5++ save. I even think that this may be useful on a counter assault unit too, as it increases your ability to tie units up due to your opponent taking longer to chew through you.
This throws a spanner in the works as I really like the Rapturous Standard, but it then forces you to take a Chaos Icon. Given that the Icon also gives a +1 to your combat resolution, reducing the chances of taking horrible loses from Daemonic Instability, I'd probably take it. So for 200pts you're getting 20 Daemonettes with a Chaos Icon and a Rapturous Standard. That's not bad at all.