Daemonhunters vs. Daemons

Awesome Grey Knights art from here.

Someone on the IFL Forum made a comment about “the fact that [Daemonhunters] have anti-demon stuff that doesn’t affect the new demons is just a bit stupid.”

This appears to be a pretty common, yet significantly inaccurate belief, and it bugs the snot out of me.

So, to set the record straight, I decided to run through the codex and pick out the items that specifically refer to Daemons, as well as the things that people would think would work against Daemons (read: things that relate to Pskyers and psychic powers).

Now, I’m hardly claiming that Daemonhunters are a power army or anything, and they definitely have some things that, while still broadly useful (in a world with the new Space Wolves and new Tyranids, they’re increasingly useful), aren’t as useful against Daemons specifically.   But it’s not as dire or “stupid” as people claim.

The List

Still Useful:

  • Annointed Weapon (Wargear) – Unchanged, still works except vs. Soul Grinders by RAW
  • Daemonhammer (Wargear)- Unchanged, still works
  • Destroy Daemon (Psychic Power) – Unchanged, still works
  • Grimoire of True Names – Unchanged, still works
  • Hierophant (Henchman) – Unchanged, still works
  • Mystic (Henchman) – Unchanged, still works
  • Incinerator (Wargear) – Unchanged, still works
  • Psycannon / Psycannon Bolts (Wargear) – See Incinerator
  • Rites of Exorcism (Special Rule) – See Hierophant
  • Sacred Hull (Vehicle Wargear) – See Hierophant
  • Sacred Incense (Wargear) – Unchanged, still works
  • Sanctuary (Psychic Power) – See Incinerator
  • Scourging (Psychic Power)- See Incinerator
In summary, Daemonhunters have:
  • A number of things that make Daemons assault as if through Difficult Terrain.  This is never a bad thing and, given that most Daemons lack grenades, it’s even more effective.
  • A host of things that ignore Invulnerable Saves, which is all most Daemons have
  • Rules that weaken Daemons in combat: making them ½ Weapon Skill and/or -1 Initiative.
  • Rules that help against Daemons in combat: wounding on a 4+, granting (effectively) Preferred Enemy or providing an at-Initiative Thunderhammer.
  • Something that allows free shots at every single Daemon unit in the army as it deploys.
Clearly, Daemonhunters have a number of things going for them that are 1) intended for use against Daemons and 2) still very much useful against Daemons.

No longer Useful:

  • The Aegis (Special Rule) – Daemons don’t take psychic tests
  • Banishment (Psychic Powers) – Instability is gone
  • Blessed (Vehicle Wargear)- Daemons don’t have vehicles that have the listed attributes.
  • Culexus Assassin (Elite) – See The Aegis
  • Daemonic Infestation (Special Rule) – Simply not relevant, but this was hardly an “anti-demon” rule.
  • Null Rod (Wargear) – See The Aegis
  • Psychic Hood (Wargear) – See The Aegis
  • Ungents of Warding (Wargear) – See The Aegis

So, in other words, all of the Daemonhunters’ “anti-demon stuff” still works just fine against Daemons except:

  • Things that affect psykers and psychic powers
  • Banishment, because Daemons no longer have Daemonic Instability
  • Blessed, at least by RAW

The psychic thing is something of a legit complaint, I think.  The things that one would want to classify as “psychic powers” in the Daemons army, though, really aren’t in the same league as other armies’ psychic powers.

Pavane of Slaanesh is kind of a lot like Lash of Submission, but it’s not nearly as strong.

You’ve kinda got me on things like Bolt of Change (being the same between the Daemonic Gift and the Chaos Marine Psychic Power) and Daemonic Gaze/Doombolt (which is actually better for Daemons), but at the same time would it really be reasonable to classify 100% of an army’s shooting as psychic powers?

Blessed isn’t, by RAW, useful against Soul Grinders.  I’d feel a little dirty making that claim at the table, but at the same time… ‘Grinders are affected by all of the rules that work against Daemons.  That makes it a bit more of a wash.

So, even with the nerf to psychic defense (nothing to defend against), items that still kick daemonic butt outnumber items that are no longer useful in fighting daemons nearly 2:1.  That psychic defense stuff, while not useful against Daemons, is more important than ever against other armies.