Friends in Warpy Places: The Complete Guide to Adding Daemons to Your Army

With Arks Of Omen allowing basically every Chaos army to bring a Daemon detachment for 0 CP, now is a great time to spice up your list and add some Daemonic gribblies. Many Chaos players understand that Daemons can add value to their lists, but don’t really know where to start. It can be intimidating to start adding units from an entirely new codex to your lists.

To help Chaos players get the most value out of their Daemonic friends, today at Warphammer we’re going to share the complete guide to adding Daemonic allies to every Chaos army. We’re going to provide a recommended Patrol that you can easily copy and paste in if you want something you can easily try out, but more importantly, we’re going to dive into why certain units are recommended and the best ways to get value out of your Daemonic friends.

Let’s take our power armour friends on a journey deeper into the Warp today and find out what Daemons are right for you!

Cracking open a cold skull with the boys (Artwork Credit: Tyler Jacobson)

General Concepts

For some reason there is a common misconception that Daemon allies break your mono-faction rules, like Contagions. That’s completely untrue. I have no idea why someone jumps in “correcting” someone whenever they post a list with Death Guard and Nurgle Daemons, or something like that. I suspect another content creator which did release day AOO content made a mistake and said Daemons now break your rules, and this got repeated around much faster than the correction gets repeated around.

The Chaos Daemons codex specifies that as long as your Daemon Patrol is less than or equal to 25% of your army’s Power Level and doesn’t include Be’lakor, your Daemons gain the Agents Of Chaos keyword and explicity don’t break any mono-faction rules. For example, as long as your Slaanesh Daemons are <= 25% of your Emperor’s Children’s army’s Power Level, you still get Wantons and your Legion trait. That’s why it’s very important to monitor your PL closely. You never get Warpstorms on your Daemons when you soup them in, so that is one restriction to keep in mind.

Let’s also take about upgrading your Daemons. The Daemons codex was written with souping in mind, and their stratagem to buy a relic is not locked to your army having a Daemon Warlord. This means you can do things like buy the Warpfire Blade for your Tzeentch Daemon Prince when he’s tagging along with your Chaos Space Marines or Thousand Sons. Do note that Khorne and Tzeentch relics aren’t allowed to go on Vehicles, so you can never buy a relic for something like a Fateskimmer or Blood Throne. Daemons also have no stratagem to buy a Warlord Trait, so you can’t buy a Warlord Trait on an allied Daemon HQ. You can get around this by making your Warlord one of the Daemon HQs, but then you lose access to buying relics and stratagems for units in your main Arks Of Omen detachment. This is definitely not recommended.

Now that we’ve got the rules basics cleared up, let’s talk about the obvious and not-obvious pros and cons of souping.

Cons of Souping in Daemons

  • Wasting Auras and Synergies
    • Let’s just say theoretically that your list is 1500 points of Death Guard and 500 points of Nurgle Daemons. If you bring a Nurgle Daemon DP, he only has a fraction of units available that benefit from his rerolls. You also have 500 points of units that don’t get your free -1 Toughness Contagion
  • Not Contributing to Faction Secondaries
    • Generally speaking, faction Secondaries require them to be accomplished by units from that faction. For example, Thousand Sons only get points for Sorcerous Prowess for psychic kills by Thousand Sons units, not allied Tzeentch Daemon psykers. There are some exceptions to this. For example, Night Lords gain VP every time a unit fails a morale test or falls back or fails an action, even if it was a Daemon unit that made that happen.
  • Required Tax of 1 HQ and 1 Troop
    • Because you have to bring at least 1 HQ and 1 Troop to make a legal Patrol, you have to pay a tax to get units in other slots you want. The extent to which this is a tax varies greatly by army. Sometimes it’s not a tax at all, and you wanted to bring an HQ and Troop anyway. And sometimes the “tax” unit still has some value if used well. For example, Plaguebearers are commonly seen as a tax when running Nurgle Daemons with Death Guard. But with a 4+ Daemon Save vs shooting and 1CP transhuman, it gives you a unit that you can expose versus certain opposing profiles that you don’t want to expose any Death Guard units to. They also have free deepstrike, which always add a bit of value.

Pros to Souping in Daemons

  • Access to New Efficient Datasheets
    • Sometimes you’ll have a very efficient 1000-1500 points of one faction, but start running out of points efficient datasheets. Allies can give you more raw good stuff. For example, Fiends are a really great use of 90 points in any list.
  • New Synergies
    • You gain access to synergies that aren’t available in just one codex. For example, Mamon or Uraka give Death Guard or World Eaters rerolls on units that can’t gain them from their own codex.
  • Covering Weaknesses From Another Faction
    • For example, Thousand Sons lack fast Infantry. Flamers help them Raise Banners or move block early.
  • Taking Advantage of Warp Locus
    • While Daemons lose their Manifestation rule to deepstrike Leadership inches away when souped in, they still can come in from the Warp Locus units in other codices. For example, a Word Bearers Master Of Possession can bring in Bloodletters 6″ away from the enemy, as long as he has the appropriate Mark or is Undivided. Do note that Death Guard and Thousand Sons came out before the Warp Locus keyword was added and haven’t been FAQ’d, meaning they can’t currently bring in units off of a Warp Locus.

Now that we’ve gotten the general concepts established, let’s dive into some specifics.

Death Guard

Recommended Patrol

  • Nurgle Daemon Prince with Nurgle’s Rot and Corruption
  • Maybe a Sloppity Bilepiper to turn off ObSec out of deepstrike
  • 1 or 2 units of Nurglings
  • 10 Plaguebearers


Death Guard Daemonic allies were already talked about extensively in the complete Warphammer guide to playing Death Guard in Arks Of Omen. Rather than repeat myself and make this article even longer, I highly recommend anyone interested in Death Guard/Nurgle Daemon soup checks that guide out directly. That article is available here:

World Eaters

Recommended Patrol

  • 1 or 2 of Daemon Prince with King Of Blades / Karanak / Skulltaker / Uraka The Warfiend
  • 10 Bloodletters
  • 2 x 5 Flesh Hounds
  • Skull Cannons as points permit


Note: This is based on previews and leaks so far. I’ll update it once the full codex is out. I’ll be starting World Eaters myself, so you better believe I’ll be considering some fun Khorne soups!

World Eaters look like they’ll have lots of pre-game mobility, but will have limitations to their mobility once the game starts. They also look surprisingly limited in anti-psyker tech. Their shooting options also look very sparse. Khorne Daemons provide a strong and flavorful way to cover up these weaknesses, depending on how many points you have available.

One really cool synergy I want to talk is bringing Uraka The Warfiend. He still has an early 9th Edition Daemons datasheet at an efficient late 9th Edition points cost. He provides reroll 1’s to Hit for any Khorne Daemons, with no limitations. Your Lord Of Skulls or Decimators or Skull Cannons become even stronger when they’re rerolling 1’s to Hit. He also provides a psychic deny, and by himself is a decently killy and durable beatstick for his points. Just keep in mind that with only an 8″ move and the Monster keyword, sometimes you’ll want to Warp Locus him in. The same idea also applies to Skulltaker.

Khorne Daemon Princes are the best mobile heavy hitters in the game. Spend 1CP to buy the King Of Blades relic, and you have 8 Attacks at Strength 9/AP3/flat 4 Damage that ignore all hit and wound modifiers. This is actually wild. Use Character protection tricks to keep him safe, and he’ll tear open anything in his section of the board.

Flesh Hounds are just pure value for their points, and provide some innate psychic denies that you don’t mind pushing up the board. They also give you some cheap trade pieces to farm Blood Tithe. They’re also fantastic at moveblocking with their innate speed and oval bases. Karanak fills the same role while getting Character protection, gaining a cute anti-Character rule in exchange for being less valuable for the points. Skulltaker and Karanak are both solid, and are nice ways to fill any leftover points in your lists.

Skull Cannons and Bloodletters are also just decent value. Bloodletters are less valuable in WE since you already have tons of melee Infantry, but the unit you have to bring in a Patrol is totally fine. Skull Cannons also add a bit of chip damage, and an additional phase of damage with their charge phase stratagem. While Skull Cannons are happy to sit back and screen/hold objectives while chucking some dice downfield every turn, don’t be afraid to use your Skull Cannons aggressively. They’re roughly as good in melee as in shooting, and are durable for the points with 9 Wounds and a 4+/4+ Daemon Save.

Thousand Sons

Recommended Patrol

  • Kairos
  • 10 Pinks
  • Flamers or Screamers or Burning Chariots as points permit


We’re leaving the safe confines of convention and playing some street 40K over here. Hear me out: Kairos really adds a lot to a Thousand Sons army.

He comes with an in-built Agents Of Vect, making an opponent’s stratagem cost an additional CP after it’s used for the rest of the game. That’s a great ability in general. It’s especially effective for Thousand
Sons. There are many versions of 1CP 4+ psychic deny stratagems in the game. Making that cost 2CP gives you a lot more breathing room to score psychic actions, or create a lot of situations where you don’t need to make a power undeniable because they don’t have 2CP available, or need to save those 2CP for something else.

Because he knows every Tzeentch Daemon power, you have some cool plays available to you besides just casting Infernal Gateway, Bolt Of Change, and Smite. Because of his escalating bonuses to cast, you’re often going to hit a 9+ when you cast Boon Of Change. This lets you choose +1 Toughness. You know what’s tougher to kill than a T7 monster with a 3+ invuln? A T8 monster with a 3+ invuln.

You also get to keep Treason Of Tzeentch in your pocket, which selects an enemy unit and prevents it from being affected by friendly auras. It’s very useful for turning off defensive auras. Preventing a Blood Angels unit you’re about to bomb with mortal wounds from benefitting from Soulwarden makes you hit much harder. Against opponents with ObSec-granting auras but not many innately ObSec units, Treason can help you make plays on their objectives.

The best way to use Kairos in Thousand Sons is probably start him off the board, and then have him deepstrike in somewhere where he can get off a huge Gateway. Because he’s coming down anywhere 9″ away from the opponent, try to use intervening terrain the tips of his wings to make the closest visible enemy unit a unit in their lines, triggering a mortal wound bomb in their own ranks. Follow that up with Bolt Of Change on himself, then use Boon to fish for T8. T8 can be pretty reliable if you want it. You spike the 9+ to cast (remember you only need a 7+ on turn 2 with +2 to cast) 58% of the time, and 82% of the time with a reroll. You can also use your Infernal Master’s Glimpse Of Eternity reroll if you wish on his cast or on his d3 random Boon outcome.

Kairos also looks incredibly cool, and fits into the Magnus-sized hole that Thousand Sons armies wish they could fill. What’s not to love?

A more traditional Patrol of Changecaster/Fluxmaster/Fateskimmer, Pinks, and Flamers and/or Screamers and/or Burning Chariots is less exciting, but still very effective. Flamers remain an strong unit in a post-AOC world, and provide the mobile Infantry that Thousand Sons lack. Screamers are decent skirmishers, and open up another phase of damage for you. They also give you the mobility to score Behind Enemy Lines (both from the teleport, and coming in through the front door by moving 16+d6″ with Fly), and are premium move-blockers. Burning Chariots give you mobile damage dealers that don’t add to any of your No Prisoners/Abhor The Witch/Assassinate tally.

There’s also still the big question of whether your Thousand Sons can double cast Tzeentch Daemons powers. RAW, it’s completely clear that it’s allowed even after the FAQ. For some reason they FAQ’d using Cabals on non-Thousand Sons units, like +1 to Cast on a Changecaster, which already had a restriction and no one was really doing anyway. The question is whether the FAQ was so poorly written that it literally only had one job and managed to completely bungle it, or whether they wrote it correctly and their intent was for it to keep working. It didn’t help that a lot of people (myself included at first) misread it and told everyone that double casting Daemons powers had been removed. To sum it up, it’s totally fine to do it, but be prepared for some pushback. It never hurts to discuss these things ahead of time.

Chaos Space Marines

Chaos Space Marine armies can vary wildly by Legion. To make this article as helpful as possible, we’re going to focus on specific Legions and provide practical advice.

Alpha Legion

Alpha Legion love their Daemonic friends. One of the biggest benefits is bringing Nurglings to keep sections of the board clear for your pre-game moving Warp Talons or Raptors. This is especially valuable now that Infiltrate And Subvert is wildly powerful, and you can just win the game turn 1 on many missions. They also appreciate the damage output that Daemons can bring. We’re playing some street 40K now, but there’s a world in which Alpha Legion bring Skarbrand or Shalaxi/Keeper with Soulstealer and feel great about that choice. A Tzeentch Herald variant is also very effective, because the 1CP stratagem to teleport anywhere on the board fits into the Alpha Legion gameplan very well.

If you’re an Alpha Legion fan that doesn’t want to use Daemons for lore reasons, just pretend they’re Cultists in disguise. Those aren’t Nurglings… those are young Cultists wearing a Nurgling shirt. Or Nurglings wearing a Cultists suit wearing a Nurgling suit.

Recommended Units: Nurglings, Tzeentch Heralds, Damage Dealers

Word Bearers

Now we’re getting into the most thematic combination possible in 40K: Word Bearers with Daemons. This is a combination that actually works really well on the tabletop, and one I’ve been experimenting with. The good news is Word Bearers are often running multiple Masters Of Possession, meaning you’ll have plenty of Warp Locus opportunities. The main things Word Bearers want are on-board mobility and shooting. Units to focus on are Flamers for some fast Infantry and ranged damage, Bloodletters and Daemonettes or Seekers to come out of a Warp Locus, Skull Cannons to add some shooting if you’re running a Lord Of Skulls list, Fiends or Hounds to run around the board, and Nurglings for board control. I also love a smash Daemon Prince to help lean into the midboard control theme. Burning Chariots are also a great choice, because Word Bearers lists hemorrhage No Prisoners. Burning Chariots give you a skirmisher that doesn’t contribute to that category. A Sloppity Bilepiper is also an interesting tool to overcome the lack of ObSec that Word Bearers lists generally bring.

Basically, Word Bearers have a ton of flexibility in the Daemons they bring. Just the way that those Chaos Undivided fanatics would like it.

Recommended Units: Daemon Prince with +1 Damage Relics, Basically Everything

Black Legion

Same concepts as Word Bearers, but you’re going to place less emphasis on melee damage dealers. This is because Black Legion are often taking Rise To Glory because of Abaddon and are big fans of The Long War, and you don’t want your Daemons to snipe those Secondary points that should be going to your CSM. Black Legion lists are also very slow on the whole. They also are vulnerable to just being shot off.

For those reasons, you’ll want to place more emphasis on mobility and shooting in your Daemons. Units I like for Black Legion are Flamers, Nurglings, and Burning Chariots. A cheap Fluxmaster with damage power also adds some flexibility. Pinks are also great for Black Legion, as they are extremely resistant to shooting and can screen your backfield well. A Sloppity Bilepiper also works well with the Cloak Of Conquest to flip and defend objectives.

Recommended Units: Tzeentch Heralds and Lesser Daemons, Nurglings, Sloppity Bilepiper

Night Lords

I’m not really convinced by Night Lords + Daemons leadership shenanigans, but it’s a really interesting idea to explore. Rather than go all in on leadership debuffs, just bring good Daemons units that fit your list and tweak that slightly to bring additional leadership debuffs.

The additional leadership debuffs that Daemons bring help trigger +1 to Wound from the Legion trait, and also help proc Sound The Black Hunt. It also works in reverse. The Leadership debuffs that Night Lords (and Fearsome units like Raptors) bring can also help Daemons operate. A Sloppity Bilepiper in particular feels interesting with Night Lords. He can turn off an enemy unit’s ObSec in either Morale phase based on a leadership check. This becomes extremely reliable near a Night Lords unit. Night Lords also have very limited ObSec, and a Sloppity Bilepiper near a few objectives makes it hard for opposing fast ObSec to toe objectives and take them away from you.

You can also do some cool stuff with Cacophonic Choir from a Slaanesh caster, which rolls 3D6 and subtracts the opponent’s leadership to take the difference in mortal wounds. My issue with that is it’s basically a Smite that is more reliable at doing serious damage, but less reliable at being cast successfully in the first place. My favorite Daemon power in a Night Lords list is actually Phantasmagoria. It is a targeted smite variant that also provides an average of -2 to enemy Leadership fits into the Night Lords gameplan. I really like the idea of an Exalted Seeker on Chariot with the Slothful Claws in a Night Lords list. It is basically a second Lord Discordant type unit that also comes with Phantasmagoria and a leadership debuff aura with a big base.

Recommended Units: Slaanesh Heralds, Sloppity Bilepiper, Good Datasheets like Fiends and Hounds

Iron Warriors

Same concepts as Black Legion, but with less focus on shooting units. Fiends are your main units to target, along with some Nurglings to make up for your slowness early. Bloodletters are also good units to consider, as they can come in off a Master Of Possession to clear enemies off of your shooting units that they’ve tagged. I also love the idea of a smash Daemon Prince in an Iron Warriors list, because you’re not taking Rise To Glory without Abaddon.

Recommended Units: Daemon Prince with +1 Damage Relic, Nurglings, Bloodletters, Fast Melee

Emperor’s Children

Daemon allies are an interesting option for an Emperor’s Children player. One the one hand, between Noise Marines, Decimators, Possessed, transports, smash characters, and support Characters, Emperor’s Children lists can already get very crowded in a 2000 point list. You also don’t have to worry about your Daemons units sniping points from Adorn The Canvas Eclectic (although note that the “holding more objectives” bullet point doesn’t require an EC unit, and can thus be scored by Daemons on objectives).

On the other, there is a completely cracked synergy between Slaanesh Daemons and Emperor’s Children. This synergy is so powerful that I almost wanted to keep it out of this article and save it for myself and Warphammer teammates. But you know what? Here at Warphammer, we’re for the people. Let’s share the Dark God’s blessings.

Slaanesh units have a stratagem to make a consolidation move when an enemy unit falls back. The Contorted Epitome has an ability to make all opposing units within 6″ of it halve their movement in the opponent’s turn. Let’s put these two things together. The Epitome halves an opponent’s movement. Your EC unit is basing unit. If the unit moves up to 8″ normally, it can now move only 4″ normally. You consolidate 3″ towards them when they move. This means if you were basing the opponent, then you are now exactly 1″ away, which is within 1″ of the opponent. This means they are in Engagement Range again, and can’t be shot. Basically, if you tag an enemy unit near the Epitome, it’s nearly impossible for you to be shot.

This trick can be used by the Epitome and any Slaanesh unit in the codex. It doesn’t have to be an Emperor’s Children army. It’s just much more powerful in an Emperor’s Children list, because you gain the Slaanesh keyword on every single unit. Now go forth and avoid getting shot, you perfect player.

The rest of the Slaanesh roster is also just generally good. Exalted Seeker Chariots give you something extremely durable and fast that you don’t get anywhere else in the EC roster, and are a fine use of points if you have some points left in the list.

Recommended Units: Contorted Epitome, Daemonettes for Actions, Exalted Seeker Chariots

Chaos Knights

Recommended Patrol

  • Abaddon
  • Any FW Knight besides the Magaera
  • Any Daemons units

You’re probably wondering why this Patrol is legal. The important thing to remember is that any faction keyword can be used to tie a detachment together. These units all share the <Hahaha Chaos Knights Players I Bet You Feel Like A Sucker For Buying These Units> Faction keyword.

In all seriousness, its rather disappointing that Chaos Knights lost the ability to ally in Daemons in Arks Of Omen. Frankly I found the Abaddon + Knights Dogwalker lists silly. But Daemons joining the fight was thematic, and opened up new and interesting playstyle options.

Fortunately, Chaos Knights are a strong faction in Arks Of Omen. They’ll survive just fine.

In lieu of Daemons advice, I’ll provide a piece of ally advice that many Chaos Knights players may not know. You’re allowed to bring a Dreadblade unit of Chaos Knights alongside any Chaos army… including Chaos Knights. If you’re running an aggressive Herpetrx list, it makes a lot of sense to put your unit of Brigands or Executioners in a Dreadblade house that benefits shooting. My favorite choices are Worthy Offering or ignoring light cover for Executioners, and Precision Cruelty or Bold Tyrants for Brigands. Biomechanical Fusion is one house that also seems really interesting. The option to gain the Infernal Surge ability and get +3″ Movement or transhuman on demand opens up some interesting options. This is a very strong choice for Karnivores in particular. Going 17″ when you need to means you can charge enemy units on almost any objective on the board.

Final Thoughts

Interested in talking about your Chaos soup ideas with the friendliest and most knowledgeable 40K community out there? Join the Warphammer discord today! .

Normally I would also plug the Warphammer Patreon here. But frankly, with travel over the last month or two, I’m running a bit behind schedule there and getting a bit overwhelmed. We’re focusing on adding some new highly qualified and handpicked members to the team that will help on that front. Look for exciting announcements on that front over the coming days and weeks!

Adding Daemons to your list opens up a whole new world of options for every Chaos army. Don’t be afraid to take the ideas from this article, try them out on the table, and find the exact list that works best for you.

As always, have fun, stay safe, and may the Dark Gods bless your rolls!

6 thoughts on “Friends in Warpy Places: The Complete Guide to Adding Daemons to Your Army”

  1. Great read Mike
    I do find IW way very strong at AoO
    Vindicator is a great shooting platform with all the gear he can get at 130 points, and also can you revisit and think about 2 Oblits in a unit of 1, can be annoy to get rid off if the oppenet lack damage dealer in his Backfield (finaly ap 1 worth something)

    1. Sargos, IW are definitely in an interesting spot! Vindicators feel very solid, as do Forgefiends. I think Oblits are more hurt by losing AOC than they benefit because they were so tanky in cover, but overall IW are well set up to blow people off the board.

  2. What is the Slaanesh stratagem that was mentioned in the emperor’s children section? I have been trying to find it but the only one that kind of fits the description is ”The Endless Dance” and its not quite the same.

  3. What do you make of a red corsairs list with a Slaanesh daemons patrol of a souped up Keeper and some daemonettes?

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top