Beginner's Guide to Daemon Legions

    This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to our Cookie Policy.

    The latest issue of the 9th Scroll is here! You can read all about it in the news.

    Our beta phase is finally over. Download The Ninth Age: Fantasy Battles, 2nd Edition now!

    • Beginner's Guide to Daemon Legions

      So, you’ve decided to take up the mantle of the infernal legions. Good for you!

      In this brief guide, I’m going to outline what you need to know before you sell your soul to the Dark Gods and bring death, destruction and general unpleasantness to the world of 9th Age.

      Who are the Daemon Legions?

      Daemons are the manifestations of the will of their respective Gods. Because of this, you will see distinct features among the choices at hand:

      • Wrath: Tends to have a combat oriented glass-cannon approach. They will put out a ton of damage, but aren’t the toughest combatants around when taking a hit. Above average in the speed department. Mark gives +1 Strength in the 1st round of combat.
      • Pestilence: Tough as nails, slow as molasses. Can put out a decent amount of damage, but are incredibly tough to shift. Grinders and objective-campers extraordinaire. Mark gives poison, regen 5+ and -1 to be wounded by toxic attacks.
      • Lust: Fast and focus on a flurry of attacks. While their overall strength may seem low, their armour piercing potential, volume of attacks and accuracy can bring the hurt against the right targets. Also, because of their speed, they often times get to pick their battles. Mark gives +1 armour piercing.
      • Change: Shooty, magicy and tricky. Usually not a great choice for obvious up front combat, but great at harassment, kiting and long-range griefing. Mark gives access to Hellfire or Divine for your attacks.
      • Undivided: Uh… they’re…here? Not a lot to say here… not a lot of undivided units, anyways.

      Wait… so… how do they play?

      Well, that’s the tricky part. All Daemons have two sets of very distinct feature:

      • Otherworldly: All of your units have a 5+ ward save and are immune to psychology. Up front, a very good set of traits… though, keep in mind, you will have ONE unit that can choose a flee reaction (more on that later). This can be seen as tactically limiting….but…
      • Daemonic Instability: You don’t flee. Ever. Instead, your units tend to evaporate as they get thumped in combat. This can be a blessing or a curse, as your units will have staying power, and an improbable double 6 on a barely-lost combat will only result in taking extra wounds instead of running and, potentially, getting run down. Also, keep in mind that Daemons don’t like other Daemons… they’re a xenophobic lot… so your Inspiring Presence and Hold Your Ground! Buffs only apply to Daemons marked by the same Dark God… this can make holding a line rather…tricky.

      Okay..fine… so… how do they play?

      Well… that’s up to you. The funny thing about Daemons is that, by in large, you can craft your own list to tailor to your playstyle. Taking units from multiple Gods gives you the ability to find some nice synergy… but may limit your unit choices. Taking from a single god MASSIVLEY limits your unit choice… but brings up some bigtime benefits in the form of Minor Aspects and a lower mandatory core %. These are referred to as Polytheistic or Monotheistic lists.

      Refer to the above rundown of marks for a general view, or continue on and see what units do what.


      You have a lot of choice here. You can take Greater Daemons, Daemon Princes and Harbingers… each allied to their own God with their own distinct feel.

      Greater Daemons: Cost a metric ton of points but bring loads of scary. The Greater Daemon of Wrath (Scion of Wrath), for example, is one of the most powerful single models in the game re: killing things. On the other hand, the Courtesan of Lust has slightly less combat ability (very slightly) but has access to powerful magic. But, again, you pay for this.

      Daemon Princes: In a way, they’re Greater Daemons on a budget. They have some great customization options, great access to magic (unless marked Wrath) and are stubborn. On the other hand, they are much less “tough” than a Greater Daemon vis a vis stats. That said, they do come with a 4+ armour save, standard…

      Harbingers: Often “spammed” in competitive lists, over our more monstrous characters. They fit the bill of their respective God, get loads of upgrade options and are well priced. One of their biggest “wins” is their ability to be placed in a unit and spread their Greater Aspect to that entire block. One of the most effective uses of this ability is the Harbinger of Pestilence given the Greater Aspect (Bloated Putrefaction) to give his entire Pestilence-Marked unit a 4+ regeneration save. There are loads of combos here to play around with.

      …however. There is one big downside. We are unable to take any of the main rulebook’s magic weapons, except for banners. We do have a list of Daemonic items… but….they’re a bit lacklustre, with a few exceptions.


      Daemonic Core is necessary (obviously, need to fill your core %) because…well… we don’t have a lot of units with Scoring. Outside of your Core choices, your only Scoring options are Pestilent Beasts and Crusher Cavalry. Both are fine options, but we kind of fall down in comparison to armies such as Empire of Sonnstahl who seem to have 5-7 scoring units on the board… while we tend to drop 2-4.

      Slaughterers: Good, killy, line troops. High S possibilities, access to Lethal Strike and high WS couple with above average Movement. A bit expensive, but not a bad choice.

      Tallymen: Easily the best we have in core. Tough, average damage output and have parry and poison special rules. Slow, for sure, but are nigh impossible to shift if joined by a Harbinger and played well.

      Sirens: They’re fast and put out a lot of attacks. Reasonably cheap, but low strength tends to cripple them a bit. Usually best used as support units/flankers. Not useless, but beware setting your line up with these ladies- they die fast and can be hard pressed to make up for their losses with kills.

      Horrors: Average human statline, basic bow shot with quick to fire. Seem a little pricey for what they are. However, their champion upgrade gives you a core wizard that comes with two decent spells plus channelling. Can be taken in huge numbers for tarpitting or small 10-man units for harassment and extra spell-power. An interesting unit but takes some practice to get the most out of them.

      Minions of Wrath

      Crusher Cavalry: A little pricey and a little underwhelming in the defense department (4+/5++). However, they are incredibly destructive on offense. The Crusher mounts, themselves, are outrageously strong. They require a bit of finesse to get the most out of, but are well worth their points if played well.

      Altar of Slaughter: A buff wagon for your Wrath units. If they charge, any Wrath unit in the same combat are frenzied for the round. Considering the high strength of Wrath units, this can be a game changer. On its own, the Altar is a strong, tanky, chariot with a passable armour save, a ward save and a good attack output. Reasonably priced, too, at 360 points. Though, as with all chariots, no marching.

      Hellhounds: One of our better hunter/anti-chaff/chaff units. Strong, killy and can ambush. Also, have excellent resistance to magic. Extremely useful for taking our backline war machine batteries.

      Carnal Chariot: It’s a very good chariot with a cannon mounted on it and a crusher pulling the thing. Let that sink in for a moment.

      Minions of Pestilence

      Blight Flies: Tough, low M flyers (Fly 6… so, still decently fast and maneuverable). They are a wonderful, mobile, roadblock. Though, remember, they do not score. Their killing ability is above average, overall, and poison is always a welcome rule.

      Plaguelings: Scouting, swarming bases of 5 wounds, 5 attack annoyance. Cheap as chips, skirmishing and one of the better chaff/roadblocks in the book. They won’t kill much, but that isn’t their job.

      Pestilent Beasts: Tough monstrous beasts with a decent attack profile, some protection from flank and rear charges in their Trail of Slime rule. A solid scoring unit, if a bit pricey. Also, come with a 4+ regen standard… so that’s nice!

      Minions of Lust

      Clawed Fiends: One of the best units in the book. Movement 10(!), 3 attacks each, barbed claws + mark of lust make them effective S5 (except for stomps). A very scary, fast, unit who can flank Cavalry and other small elite units, tearing them to pieces. Reasonably priced- any Lust or Polytheistic list can make use of even a pair of these guys (2 for 220 points- very reasonable).

      Lust Chariots: Fast, a bit flimsy- the “wide” version has a neat anti-armour special rule. They can bring some pain, and do it quick, but are easily ground down after their initial flurry.

      Altar of Lust: Kind of like the Lust Chariots, but to the next level. Their buff wagon ability is a bit like the Altar of Wrath, but gives Lightning Reflexes instead. Sigh, if only it worked on units other than Lust…

      Siren Cavalry: Some of the fastest fast cav in the game. Cheap, decent against other chaff units and war machines… and your only unit that can choose flee as a charge response. Loads of tactical flexibility with these gals- they are NOT to be overlooked. Also, for extra laughs, can be a bunker for a Lust Harbinger with the Lash of Lust (2d6 S4 shooting attacks if you do not march). Run them around the backline of an opponent who has left you gaps to exploit.

      Minions of Change

      Sky Serpents: These guys are interesting. They fly, they’re fast, they skirmish and can do a decent amount of damage. Have a cool feature to cause auto-hits when they fly over something (though, S3… so nothing to write home about). They tend to have a declining valuation directly related to your opponent skill level vis a vis protecting their backline from access. Not recommended, but can be a real great unit for new players vs. new players.

      Blazing Chariots: Good overall- a flying chariot with a surprising amount of S4 attacks in combat…. But you rarely want them using that. These are mobile artillery pieces with a bolt thrower and a volley gun option of fire (also quick to fire, which is nice). On the upside, they can get a very high S due to random S…but can also have a very low S. Random, and a bit frustrating at times, but focused fire from these guys can be great.

      Igniters: Pricey, difficult to use, random shots, small numbers… not scared off, yet? Good. These guys are one of my favourite units. They skirmish, they annoy and are quick to fire. Their range is average (unless going mono-Change with their minor aspect) but a few lucky rolls and these guys can wipe out swathes of line troops, or annoy/harass tougher units and war machines. Again, not a simple unit to get the most out of, but once you “get” them, you’ll have a hard time leaving them on the shelf.

      (I can’t count how many lists I try to leave these guys out of… only to switch up my list last minute to put them in. They are constantly my MVPs).

      Special/Dark Gods’ Might

      Furies: Cheap, incredibly fast flyers (Fly 10), get their mark for free. They are the premier war machine hunters/chaffers of our book. That said, they’re LD2 (yes…2) so tend to evaporate if they encounter any resistance at all. Then again, for 140 points for 5…

      Daemon Engine: Tough, strong, impressive modelling opportunities, loads of artillery options… also on a massive base… low attack output… scary-low weapon skill… and super expensive. As a mobile weapons platform in a shooty list, they have their place. That said, they are not overly difficult to deal with considering all the cannons, poison and massed light arms shooting around. By all means, try the big guy out- he’s a great distraction piece, and they look amazing on the field… but don’t expect miracles from him.

      Where to start?

      Well, unless you have your mind set on a themed Monotheistic list, I really recommend trying out a Polytheistic list to get the hang of the army, as a whole. This is a force that breaks a lot of the standard rules of the game, but is also very challenging to use. Synergy is the name of the game here and, when it works, it’s a beautiful sight. That said, the incredibly high cost of your models will see you have fewer options on the table that almost all other armies (OK excluded… but at least they have scraplings).

      For the 9th Age beginner- welcome to hell, enjoy your stay! This will be a very difficult army to start with- you will have to learn the basic rules, how Daemons bend the basic rules and how each of your Gods’ minions fit in a list together.

      That said, a Daemon army is incredibly rewarding once you get the hang of it and find your balance of troops. Also, one of the most entertaining armies to build- they’re Daemons, manifestations of Dark Gods… the modelling and painting opportunities are near limitless.

      What if I want to start quickly, and don’t want to spend a load of cash?

      I’d really recommend one of the Games Workshop “Start Collecting” sets- you can take either Wrath or Pestilence. Both are great starter sets, very well priced and have a good troops selection. One of these, plus one more box of infantry, will give you a nice starting point for an army.

      Wrath Set:

      • 10 Slaughterers + 10 from an additional box
      • 3 Crusher Cavalry
      • 1 Altar of Slaughter OR 1 Carnal Chariot and 1 Harbinger on Foot (go with this if you’re starting out)

      Pestilence Set:

      • 10 Tallymen + 10 from an additional box (this unit will be great)
      • 3 Blight Flies
      • 3 Plagueling bases
      • 1 Harbinger of Pestilence on Foot (and this is why the Tallymen will be great)

      In Canada, these sets are $100, add in an additional box of Daemon infantry for $30, and that’s a pretty good start. Furthermore, there are no units from either boxed set that are useless- they’re all useful/playable, in their own right.
      Goblin, Daemon Legions and Warriors of the Dark Gods Player and 9th Age Staffer
      Follow my journey through the world of 9th Age HERE
    • Sample Lists

      Mono Lust - Credit to @Aka

      Characters: max 40% (1670/1800)
      - Courtesan of Lust, Eternal sword, Veil of shadows, Black Orb,
      Dance of Death, 2 learned spells (Witchcraft)......................................1120
      - Lust Harbringer, Battle standart bearer, Barbed claws, Blissful
      bindings, Token of lust, Dance of Death, 2 learned spells (Witchcraft)......550

      Core: min 20% (980/900)
      - 29 Sirens, Full Command Group, Clawed Caress, Banner of speed.............720
      - 15 Sirens, Musician ...........................................................................260

      Minions of Lust: 1200
      - 5 mounted Sirens, Banner, Musician ...................................................220
      - 5 mounted Sirens, Banner, Musician....................................................220
      - 6 Clawed fiends, clawed caress...........................................................760

      -5 furies, mark of Lust.........................................................................140

      Dark Gods' Might: max 40% (1630/1800)
      - Daemon Engine, mark of Lust, Hellish Reaper........................................510

      Total : 4500

      @'Aka''s commentary:

      The strengh of this list is the overall speed: Only the Core troops do not have M superior to 8 (up to 10! ) and the use of Witchcraft ensure you a good movment phase. *
      The Courtesan is one of the best unit in the game (and should be seeing its price!) and can hack through almost anything. With her M value of 10 she can choose her own fights and needs to: don't spoil her on low cost units, place her well and crush the opponent in one turn! Beware of canonsand don't be too hasty: sending the courtesan alone in the opponent lines is sending her to her death...
      The Harbringer goes in the sirens block to improve the unit. In close combat she is more often than not touch on 6's which gives her a little survivability, and the barbed claws combined with the token of Lust can make her strike hard agaist oponents too strong for the sirens. The big sirens unit is here to break ennemy hordes of cheap infantry. With 5 static resolution points (2 banners and 3 ranks), touching more often than not on 2's with many attacks and AP2 it is an opponent to consider for any low T adversary, even armored ones. The small sirens block is here to stay in reserve and score in the last rounds.
      Aside from the Courtesan the other menace in the list is the fiends unit. Really quick (M10), with barbed claws and AP3 it is perfect to strike at opponent monsters or monstrous inf/cav, from side or back if able!
      The mounted sirens are the only deamon unit that can flee a charge and that must not be underestimated. Best chaff in the game, it can also strike at low armored monsters and artillery. It is the perfect chariot killer!
      Slower than the mounted sirens (no vanguard) but flying, the furies is your cheapest unit and is only here for chaff. Go trouble with ennemy movment and do not expect anything else from them!
      Last but not least, the Engine is here to provide another target to war machines and to give some power against armored units. Do not send it alone against infantry or you'll lose it quickly, but it can hunt chaff effectivly and provide some good support against specific units. The hellish reaper is here for chaff clearing and does not need to be used at all. It prevent some units to only turn around your engine shooting at it...

      Don't forget that you're the fastest army in the game and choose your fights well. You're not stalwart and honorable, don't fight when you're not sure to win and let your Courtesan make its job.

      Mono-pestilence - credit to @majorhanne
      Harbinger of Pestilence 240 pts
      -Supreme Aspect: Bloated Putrefaction(80 pts), Halberd(30 pts), Blight Fly(60 pts), Nauseating Aura (100 pts), General - 510 Points

      Harbinger of Pestilence 240 pts
      - Halberd(30 pts), Battle Standard Bearer(50 pts), Supreme Aspect: Bloated Putrefaction(80 pts), Obsidian Horn (30 pts), Icon of the Relentless Company (30 pts) - 460 Points

      30 Tallymen 700 pts-
      -Full command(60 pts), Aspect: Contamination(120 pts), Aether Icon(50 pts) - 930 Points

      5 Blight Flies 620 pts -
      -Full command(60 pts), Rending Banner(70 pts) - 750 Points

      5 Pestilent Beasts - 670 Points
      Aspect: Contamination

      5 Pestilent Beasts - 670 Points
      Aspect: Contamination

      5 Furies 140 pts-
      -Daemon of Pestilence - 140 Points

      5 Furies 140 pts-
      -Daemon of Pestilence - 140 Points

      3 Plaguelings- 228 Points
      -Aspect: Contamination

      Total: 4498

      Characters: 970
      Core: 930
      Special: 280

      Commentary from @majorhanne
      Pretty easy list to play, as mono pest. The Aether Icon is more expensive now, but you can replace it with a +M banner. The flies with your Harbringer is your killing unit, and it can kill most of the threats out there, since your strike first. The tallymen bunkers job are to hold any objective in the middle, or to charge nearly any other bunker head on. You will win the grinding fight, and if you like you can remove the plaugelings and add some divination magic for the extra tankyness. Pestilence beasts can kill monsters very easy with +5 poison, and they move fast, so on a flank they can kill all chaff, and go behind enemy lines. Your problem with this list and mono pest, will always be high armoursaves( its a problem for all of the DL gods) and against MSU shooting armies that can avoid you, you will have a problem. The same goes for breaking steadfast, since without the tallymen, you have notthing, so dont go engage the 50 man goblin unit without a good plan:)
      Goblin, Daemon Legions and Warriors of the Dark Gods Player and 9th Age Staffer
      Follow my journey through the world of 9th Age HERE

      The post was edited 2 times, last by SkargitCrookfang ().