The Shadow Descends: The Complete Guide to Playing Chaos Daemons in 10th Edition

The “competitive meta” may be flooded with Eldar, but guess what? For Daemons–particularly Slaanesh Daemons–Eldar souls are a particularly tasty snack. Now is a great time to put your Daemons on the tabletop and fight.

Chaos Daemons are one of the dark horses of early 10th edition. They have some of the most impressive mobility and trickery of any army in the game, combined with high durability and powerful damage output. Daemons have the tools available to win just about any matchup in the game through skill alone, and still have good enough stats that you can sometimes just run people over with raw datasheet power. Their versatility places them solidly in the game’s top tier, as long as you pretend the current top tier factions don’t exist.

Wait, hold on. Breaking news! I’m hearing that for a very special faction like Daemons, we are being joined by a very special guest. Well, saying “guest” is wrong because he has become a core member of the Warphammer team, but today’s article is written by Kit Smith-Hanna. Kit not only brings almost unparalleled competitive 40K credentials (top 15 in the ITC last season and a consistent top placer at GT’s and Majors), but he’s one of the best sports in the game. Kit recently took Daemons to the Lone Star Open and got one of the top finishes of any Daemons player in 10th Edition, finishing 5-1. He also embodies the Warphammer ethos of taking an army you enjoy and making it work in the meta, rather than jumping to the top of the meta yourself. I (Mike P) was involved with this guide, but mainly as an editor. This is the start of Kit’s journey as a content creator. The addition of him to the content team will take Warphammer to an even higher level.

Let’s give Kit a wild and warpy Warphammer welcome and jump right in.

Welcome to the official Warphammer guide to playing Chaos Daemons in 10th Edition.

Knock knock, open up the door, 3″ deepstrike is real

Why Play Daemons in 10th Edition?

This is a ridiculous question. Have you seen how incredibly cool this army is?

Why would you not play Daemons?

Have people that don’t play Daemons not seen the Be’lakor, or Lord Of Change, or Shalaxi, or Great Unclean One, or Bloodcrusher models before? I genuinely don’t understand how someone could look at the Daemons line and not want to play them.

In terms of rules, they’re strong and capable of battling with any army in the game, but not broken themselves. That’s the most fun place for an army to be. Their ruleset is fun and flexible, and rewards you for putting in reps and developing your gameplan and skill level. This is such a great time to be playing Daemons.

This is clearly a Mike section, not a Kit section, but I just had to jump in quickly and show some love to my favorite faction in any IP ever. Alright, I said this was going to be Kit’s article, so I’ll step back and let him keep going from here. Let’s watch him cook.

Deployment and Scoring

Turns out, the main way you win the game is via scoring points and denying points to your opponent. Who knew? Luckily, Daemons are excellent at doing just that. In particular, they’re one of the best factions in the game at scoring tactical secondaries due to their excellent mobility throughout the game and powerful Lone Operatives.


Early in the game, Daemons love to set up with a mixture of units on the board and in deep strike. Usually, your dedicated melee units (especially slower ones) like to start the game in deep strike, while shooting units and Be’lakor will start on the board. Any good daemon list is going to want to have at least 3 cheap units that you can use for scoring, usually including a lone operative. You’ll want to have at least one of those units starting on the board, and at least one of them starting in deep strike for increased flexibility later in the game.

For your units starting on the board, you’ll want to bubble up most of your main damage units within 6” of Be’lakor for that sweet, sweet Wreathed in Shades aura. Unlike most armies, you have the option to use Realm of Chaos to reposition a large chunk of your army for flexibility, so it’s harder for opponents to just outflank you. That said, Daemons love to be scoring secondaries starting immediately on turn 1, and so Lone Operatives and the cheap units on the board like to be set up in a flexible position.

Specifically when deploying with Daemons, I’ll check the following things and encourage you to think about these same things in your own games:

  • Make sure that I have the ability to reach at least one (and ideally two) of the objectives in the midboard on turn 1 (for Cleanse, Secure No Man’s Land, Extend Battle Lines, and Tempting Target)
  • Make sure I can get units wholly within 9” of two corners of the table (for Investigate Signals)
  • Make sure one unit can get wholly within 6” of the center (for Area Denial)
  • Make sure the opponent can’t get their main damage close enough to shoot my Be’lakor Blob (the technical term, of course)

For the first two items, Lone Operatives (especially The Blue Scribes and The Changeling) and Nurglings are absolute all-stars at getting those early on. Below is a visual example of how you could pull off these tasks (using the list from the Sample List section later in this article):

In this situation, we have Shalaxi and a Soul Grinder over on one flank, plus another Soul Grinder and a Lord of Change set up towards the middle. Note, however, that all of these units are carefully set up to be within 6” of Be’lakor, making it very challenging to actually damage them early. This means that no matter where the opponent commits, you’ll have excellent options available to viciously counterassault them.

Nurglings and the Changeling are set up within easy striking distance of objectives for scoring whatever secondaries may need to come up, and the flamers are in deepstrike for scoring secondaries later in the game. Shalaxi can get away with starting on the table as her 14” movement means that she’ll be able to get into combat where needed fairly reliably, but the Rendmaster and Bloodcrushers are slower melee units, so they wait in deep strike for an opportunity to come down – at which point they’ll do their best to absolutely demolish an opponent. 

Obviously there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits all strategy for early game (it heavily depends on your list, your opponents’ list, the terrain, and the mission), but these general ideas can be used successfully in just about any Daemon list.

Maximizing Your Use of the Warp

Deepstrike shenanigans are the absolute bread and butter of Daemons. The main tools in your toolkit are the Warp Rifts rule and the Realm of Chaos and Denizens of the Warp stratagems, as well as datasheets like Be’lakor that synergize with those rules. All of these abilities (which, by the way, have some fantastic names) are potent tricks on their own that can be combined into some truly monstrous synergies. 

Warp Rifts are the current detachment rule for Daemons, and allow you to come in only 6” away from enemies when you’re wholly within the Shadow of Chaos. For those unfamiliar with the Shadow In The Warp, we’ll do a quick refresher. Always in your deployment zone, always within 6” of Be’lakor (spoiler alert – you’re gonna see Be’lakor come up a lot in this article), sometimes in No Man’s Land, and sometimes in your opponent’s deployment zone. Specifically for the latter two, if you control half or more of the objectives at the start of a phase then the whole area becomes Shadow of Chaos for the rest of the phase. This means that in order for no-mans-land to be in your Shadow of Chaos when you deepstrike, you have to control 2 of the objectives there at the start of the movement phase – not an easy task. 

If you do manage to pull off making No-Man’s Land (or even better yet, the opponent’s deployment zone) into Shadow, then the opponent is going to find the weather forecast includes a lot of daemons. Fortunately, being wholly within 6″ of Be’lakor is way easier. This is one of the best ways to get your melee units (of which there are plenty) into combat – a 6-inch charge is one heck of a lot easier than a 9-inch one.

Using Denizens Of The Warp (3″ Deepstrike Stratagem)

Denizens of the Warp is an incredibly powerful stratagem. Here are a few of the ways I use it:

  • Coming down to shoot opponents off objectives from unexpected/hard to screen angles
  • Coming down to touch objectives and deny primary
    • There are often situations where an opponent holds an objective with a sliver of the objective mat behin the wall, but the center 40mm circle of the objective is exposed. This means that unless they stand in the open, you’ll always have somewhere 3″ away to deepstrike on. Keep an eye out for situations like that because that objective is one you’ll be able to abuse with Denizens Of The Warp
  • Super moveblocking
    • Coming down right next to something like a Gladiator Lancer to prevent it from moving into an angle and shooting a Greater Daemon can be a great play
  • Making opponents give up on screening
    • Often when you tell opponents you have 3″ deepstrike, they won’t even bother screening out their corners at all. This makes it even easier for you to score secondaries.
  • Scoring secondaries
  • Making Be’lakor the ultimate homing beacon, deepstriking him 3″ away and then bringing in your melee hammer units 6″ away for easy charges

This stratagem alone makes Daemons one of the hardest armies in the game to screen against, and can absolutely demolish opponents that aren’t being cautious.

Using Realm Of Chaos (Re-Enter Deepstrike During the Opponent’s Turn Stratagem)

Realm of Chaos allows you to pick up one unit anywhere or two units in the Shadow of Chaos at the end of your opponent’s turn to immediately go back into deep strike and hop back in somewhere else entirely on your turn. This stratagem is an exceptionally flexible and potent one that you’ll be using a lot.

Later in the game, Realm of Chaos is your best friend because it gives you chances to deepstrike after the usual Turn 2/Turn 3 window ends. You’ll almost always want to be pre-emptively picking up 2 units at the end of your opponent’s Turn 3/4/5 to give yourself flexibility to score secondaries and do damage/threaten their objectives all over the board. The only real exceptions to automatically picking up units every turn with Realm Of Chaos are if you have a unit set up for an easy charge that you couldn’t get out of deep strike, or if you need to keep units back to hold Primary. Because of the latter, you’ll often want to have two units on objectives so you can safely pick one of them up and still score those juicy primary points. We’ll talk more about optimizing your use of deepstrike in the following section.

You can pick up Be’lakor after he’s spent the turn faithfully protecting the rest of your army and then use one of the above tricks to shuttle in main your damage output, take a unit that was sitting back scoring Engage last turn and bring it directly to the front lines, or move around one of your support pieces to buff up another target.

If you won’t have the Shadow Of Chaos in the midboard on your main deepstrike turn, depending on the matchup I like to pick up Be’lakor preemptively so I can place my big homing beacon anywhere I want on the board.

On important thing to note: You get to choose Be’lakor’s “start of Battle Round” abilities even if he starts the Battle Round in deepstrike. Don’t worry about missing out on Wreathed In Shades, since he picks up after the opponent has already done all their damage and you can always still come down with Wreathed In Shades active.

Using Rapid Ingress

Daemons are one of the strongest users of Rapid Ingress in the game. I’d be slacking on the job if I wrote a whole section about deep strike and its tricks if I never mentioned Rapid Ingress. For those of you who aren’t already familiar with Rapid ingress, it’s a core 10th Edition stratagem that lets you choose one of your units in strategic reserves/deep strike and bring it in at the end of your opponent’s movement phase

This is a hugely useful ability, as you know exactly where all of your opponents’ units are before you come in, but you still get to move normally on your own turn so can get in range for very easy charges or get angles that the opponent might not have expected. It is worth noting that the opponent will still get to shoot/charge you if you’re in range, so you usually don’t want to just slam in a unit right in front of their best shooting and say “Go for it”.
Daemons in particular are extremely good at using rapid ingress. Some of the ways they can use it even better than normal are as follows:

  • Because you come in at the end of your opponent’s movement phase, the Shadow of Chaos is still in effect if you held half or more of the objectives in that zone at the start of their movement. You can Rapid Ingress 6″ away!
  • Your unit can set up just 18.1” away from their best shooting unit but still within 6” of Be’lakor – suddenly, they can’t shoot you but you’re very likely going to be able to retaliate on your turn
  • Daemons have easy access to advance and charge, and if you’re bringing along a fast unit like Shalaxi you can set up in a nice safe position but still be able to get to where (or who) you want on your turn

All of these strategies combine in some really interesting and nuanced ways and turn Daemons into one of the most mobile armies in the game. That said, even the best stratagems are nothing without some excellent units to go with them.

Recommended Units

Be’lakor: Alright you knew this was coming, but I had to get him out of the way. Be’lakor is the best unit in Daemons right now for so many reasons, and really if you’re building for Daemons in any vaguely competitive context you’re building a 1675-point list because Be’lakor is already included. The “can’t shoot my army unless you’re within 18” is incredible, and his aura of Shadow of Chaos unlocks so many plays for Daemons that it’s insane to not take him. Have I spent enough time harping on why Be’lakor is amazing? Yes? Okay fine, I’ll move on with the article.

We haven’t even talked yet about the fact that his Shadow Of Chaos aura means that all units near Be’lakor are always eligible to Advance And Charge–even Be’lakor himself.

Be’lakor isn’t top tier in erms of damage output per point or durability himself, but he is a nearly unrivalled synergy piece!

Bloodthirster: Not only does the Bloodthirster rock up and slap people around on his own, that aura of +1 to hit is incredibly good at making all your other Khorne units turn people into mush extra-fast, especially if you have to deal with nonsense like Custodes or Eldar with their -1 to hit.

Rendmaster on Blood Throne: Man, the Rendmaster is an absolute champion. Providing +1 Strength, +1AP, and +1 Damage against any target for all of your Khorne units? This guy turns your Khorne units from good to absolutely insane, and he even slaps in melee on his own! Not only do you not have to be in combat, you can even take multiple of these and stack their effect on the same bonus (flat 5 damage Bloodletters is a hilarious image). If you’re taking a Khorne-heavy list and not bringing a Rendmaster, then I’m not sure why you bothered playing Khorne.

Mike Note: I’m convinced that the Rendmaster is sneakily a top 5 unit in the entire army. Don’t forget that his buff doesn’t need to apply to other Khorne units–he can also give the +1 S/AP/D to himself whenever he wants. He’s also an incredible target for the Khorne enhancement. A buff Character that also has 7 Strength 9 AP3 flat 4 Damage attacks with full wound rerolls against most tough targets? Sign me up!

Bloodcrushers: Finally, after being bad for so many editions, the time of the Bloodcrushers is nigh. These guys are the jack of all trades from Khorne – their charge mortals and high volume of attacks means that anything from GSC hordes to Knights is terrified of these guys, especially at only 40 points a model. Their defensive profile is also excellent. T7 and a 3+ save in cover makes them durable against small arms fire, 4 Wounds makes them durable against traditional 3 damage Elite killers, and a 4++ invuln makes them durable against anti-tank weapons.

Daemon Prince, No Wings (Khorne): The Khorne Daemon Prince with Ar’gath has a bit less raw damage output than some of your other Khorne units but makes up for it with some truly fantastic durability. Slam him into your opponent with the rest of your units and watch your opponent agonize over the choice of not killing him and dealing with Stealth everywhere or trying to get through a 2+/3++, possibly with Daemonic Invulnerability to reroll invuln rolls of 1 to really boost his durability to 11. He is also an exceptional Rapid Ingress target.

Skulltaker: Alright hear me out here: while Bloodletters are overpriced and Skulltaker is a leader for Bloodletters, there’s nothing that actually says he has to be attached to letters. On his own, Skulltaker is a character-killing machine, excellent at reaching into a valuable squad with a leader and dragging out said character kicking and screaming to an unfortunate fate. He is great either Rapid Ingressing or Deepstriking/walking behind a wall and pouncing when the time is right.

Lord of Change: Not only is it one of the best shooting units in Daemons (especially with the Everstave enhancement), the Lord of Change is priced directly out of the bargain bin in per-point durability and gives a nice boost to all of your other Tzeentch units.

Kairos Fateweaver: While Kairos’ raw damage output is definitely worse than the Lord of Change, his Indirect Fire ability means that he’s very good at sniping off units that want to hide in the backline (i.e. D-Cannons nd Desolators) and his abilities are excellent at manipulating both your and your opponents’ CP in a world where it is much more scarce than 9th edition.

Flamers: Flamers are an excellent unit at scoring points, holding objectives, and absolutely love to deep strike 3” away from enemies and roast some infantry. You’ll never be astounded by their damage or durability, but they aren’t gonna disappoint you either. The ability to still be eligible to shoot after falling back means theyll keep scoring your Secondaries even after being tagged.

Burning Chariot: If your army has a good amount of shooting in it (and with the changes to psychic, it very likely will) then you should seriously look at throwing in a Burning Chariot. Reasonably priced for its statline, the burning chariot’s main draw is the ability to shoot at someone and let everyone else in your army ignore cover against them. With the fairly low AP of a lot of Daemon guns, ignoring cover is a boost that can really add up against all those annoying 3+ or 2+ saves

The Changeling: Oh man. Be’lakor is the best unit in Daemons, but the Changeling does a seriously good job at challenging that title. Let’s say your opponent sees the Changeling holding an objective or farmin gyou VP, and has the absolute gall to try and kill this guy. First up they have to get within 12” of him to even be eligibleto shoot him because of Lone Operative. Next, you get to roll a dice, and on a 6 they’re sad because they literally can’t shoot that phase. On a 2+, they’re -1 to hit. After that, they have to take a battleshock test – and because they’re often in the Shadow of Chaos while doing so, they’ll be at -1 on that test. 

Fail it, and not only does the Shadow cause them to take d3 mortals for the nerve of trying to kill the Changeling, but suddenly they’re battleshocked and just can’t target it anymore. All of this for the criminally low price of 75 points and it actually has a real gun! I’ve used the threat of the Changeling’s overwatch to affect my opponent’s movement before. Look at that profile on the Infernal Flames; d6+3 shots at S6 AP1 Dd3 that ignores cover is a very powerful flamer. In fact, while looking at the datasheet again for this article I just realized Changeling has Stealth natively. What a lovely bastard, and the game’s best troll. 10/10 would take again.

The Blue Scribes: Okay, are the Blue Scribes a budget Changeling? They’d be insulted to hear you say it, but yes. All that said, sometimes you want a second Lone Operative, and it’s not a strict downgrade. Their 12” move with fly means they’re a lot better at reaching the midboard for early secondaries. The mortal wound blast, while not particularly impressive, is a nice bonus that can whittle down enemies before your main force reaches them. Plus sometimes you randomly get paired into Tsons and can make them sad with -1 to wound on all of their best guns.

Great Unclean One: The Great Unclean One is an absolute unit. With the Endless Gift, it easily becomes the most durable unit in the index and loves to waddle its way up the battlefield with your other Nurgle units, making them just that extra bit more annoying to kill and a bit more lethal. It’s excellent whether as the ceterpiece of a Nurgle heavy build or in multi-God soup.

Rotigus: If you really want to drink deep from Nurgle’s garden and go in that direction, Rotigus is your best friend. Not only does he provide a slightly-toned down version of the Rendmaster’s buff, he also is a fantastic unit for tarpitting nearby enemies and can slap around enemies in combat to a reasonable degree. His vomit is a legitimate weapon too.

Plague Drones: Want to play Nurgle? Here’s the damage boost you’ve been looking for. While Plague drones themselves don’t do insane damage, by giving out wound rerolls they provide an incredible boost to other Nurgle units for both shooting and melee and are really really aggravating to chew through. They also pack plenty of chunky wounds on a relatively mobile body. These are a key piece of mono-Nurgle lists, albeit less useful in Undivided soup.

Beasts of Nurgle: Hmm, now what’s a keyword that would really love the ability to boost its damage and get full wound rerolls? Maybe an ability that scales with the damage characteristic on a unit that’s super aggravating to kill, triggers on 6s to wound, and can punch directly through armor? I’m devastated that I can’t think of anything. Sorry guys and gals.

Daemon Prince with Wings (Nurgle): The counterpart to the Khorne Daemon Prince on Foot – while the Winged Daemon Prince has very respectable damage output just based on its datasheet, its baseline durability is fairly poor for the points. This is where the Nurgle keyword and Endless Gift enhancement come in. If you’re on a points budget but want to still get some of the gooey goodness from Nurgle, here’s your solution.

Nurglings: Nurglings are great. They’re cheap, can do mission play, and can even make nearby opponents -1 to hit. What’s not to love?

Keeper of Secrets: Ironically for Slaanesh, the Keeper of Secrets is a unit that has incredible durability but is a bit unimpressive on the damage front. There’s a list out there with 3 Keepers of Secrets, Shalaxi, Be’lakor, and other generically good units and I think it’s actually very, very potent. If you’re taking this to a tournament, I already like your style.

Shalaxi Helbane: Oh hey is that a “durable” unit you’ve got over there? Would be a shame if a 14” moving unit ran straight into you with full rerolls and turned it into a fine paste. Shalaxi is expensive, but she hits like a freight train made of smaller freight trains. Basically every single durable unit in the game is either a Monster, Vehicle, Character, or has an attached Character to give it the Character keyword and unlock her full Hit, Wound, and Damage rerolls.

Mike Note: She averages 23 Wounds to a T12 Knight, and this goes up to 26 Wounds if you give her +1AP on the Soulpiercer. The answer to if she can kill something is “yes”.

Masque of Slaanesh: Oh hey look it’s the other Lone Operative. While the Masque is considerably more expensive than your other options for lone operatives, she makes up for it by making enemy melee units really struggle to put a dent in your units. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the Masque is only viable in Slaanesh. While that’s the best place for it, it can be a potent tool in just about any army that’s struggling against melee.

Soul Grinder: Just about any allegiance for the Soul grinder has merit, but my favorite two are definitely Tzeentch and Nurgle. Tzeentch Grinders provide some long-range anti-tank that forces the opponent to be very careful, while Nurgle Soul Grinders adore the synergies Nurgle provides and can be used to rip apart enemies regardless of where they try to hide. Soul Grinders are tanky, have excellent melee, and can even use the Tank Shock stratagem to often deal 6MW and clear out enemies. Frankly the main reason to not take a Soul Grinder is if your friend group/tournament is cruel enough to both force it to use the AoS base and also sets up the terrain so that it can’t maneuver between buildings. Luckily if they do so, you can just accuse them of being too cowardly to let the Soul Grinders’ potential truly shine.

Not Recommended Units

Before you read onwards and find a unit you love in the Not Recommended section, please note that these recommendations are in the context of high-level competitive play. Basically all of these units have at least some merit, and are perfectly fine to take to an RTT or practice with your friends.

Fortifications: The Daemon Fortifications are in an unfortunate situation where the designers apparently decided not to give them an invulnerable save, meaning that while they provide some value they can just be wiped out fairly easily. Some day I’ll get to show up to an event with 3 Skull Altars. Today is not that day.

Bloodletters and Daemonettes: GW, why are these units so expensive and yet so fragile? What did we do to hurt you?

Fiends: Great datasheet and excellent Marine munchers. Now if only their points cost made sense.

Plaguebearers: Look, you could run 10 plaguebearers for 145 points as a tanky tarpit that doesn’t do much damage. You could also run 9 nurglings for 120 points. 1 unit has some value in making one of your objectives sticky without spending 1CP on Corrupt Realspace, but even that is a stretch.

Slaanesh Chariots: Once again, we’re seeing a unit that has a lot of potential but then falls apart because of points cost. They’re good at killing infantry, but that’s just not a role that you need to be spending that many points on. That said, I am grateful I am not feeling any pressure in 10th Edition to build another Slaanesh Chariot. That’s a special kind of torture.

Mike Note: The Exalted Seeker Chariot is durable and has a nice OC score. They’re not optimal, but I think they’re fine.

Skull Cannon: I really wanted to like the Skull Cannon, but the combination of its point cost, battle-shock being so unreliable, and thoroughly mediocre damage output means that this guy is going to stay on the shelf for now.

Mike Note: Their durability is great. They’re not optimal, but I think they’re fine.

Most Leaders of Infantry Units: Honestly, a lot of these guys give out really useful and powerful buffs. Syll’esske making Dev wounds trigger on 5+? Super spicy buff. Bloodmaster giving +1 to wound? Love it. The problem is that you’re throwing so many points into desperately trying to make fragile, overpriced units good that you just end up with a list that runs out of units at an extremely rapid rate. Spending 160 points on Bloodletters is already painful. Spending even more points for a Leader for those Bloodletters is agonizing.

Sample List

This list is one I piloted to 5-1 at the Lone Star open. It leans into some of the best synergies in the index, particularly those of Tzeentch and Khorne. It is difficult for opponents to play against because its powerful at both range and up close. This list also rewards practice, with much of its effectiveness tied to learning the nuances of how to play the army instead of tabling opponents with raw stats like Eldar or Imperial Knights. Those are my favorite kinds of lists to play.

  • Be’lakor 325 (Warlord)
  • Lord of Change, Staff of Tzeentch, Everstave 255
  • Shalaxi Helbane 400
  • The Changeling 75
  • Rendmaster on Blood Throne, A’rgath the King of Blades 170
  • 3 Nurglings 40
  • 3 Flamers 65
  • 6 Bloodcrushers 240
  • Soul Grinder, Tzeentch, Warpsword 215
  • Soul Grinder, Tzeentch, Warpsword 215

Want to keep at range from this army? Fine by me, I’ll just use the Soul Grinders and Lord of Change to provide excellent shooting downrange while Be’lakor makes sure that you can’t do the same in return. Want to close in? I can handle that too. Be’lakor, Shalaxi, the Soul Grinders, the Rendmaster, and the Bloodcrushers are not excatly afraid to get their hands dirty in melee.

Not only does this list have excellent damage and durability, it also has plenty of units that you can do all the mission play you might need to, and the innate mobility of daemons can be exploited to the maximum.

Final Thoughts

Mike here to close out the article, but can we take a moment to talk about how incredibly in-depth this guide by Kit was? Show him (and this guide) some love in the comments wherever you find this article!

When it comes to the brokenly strong armies in 10th Edition like Eldar and GSC, many 40K players seem to be taking the same approach: If you can’t beat them, join them. Here at Warphammer we’re taking a different approach to the imbalance in 10th Edition: Beat them, and beat everyone who joined them. Daemons are an extremely fun, skill-intensive, and very flexible army for any general that wants to play them. While they have a few matchups that are definitely harder than others, Daemons have the tools to play into just about any army out there right now.

If you play an army other than Daemons, never fear – we here at Warphammer will be working on creating more and more content for the various chaos factions. I’m going on a personal trip for a few weeks soon, but will return with the complete guide to playing Chaos Knights once I am back.

If you’re interested in diving deeper into the strategies for your favorite army, or simply want to know when new content is available, consider joining the amazing Warphammer discord at! It’s one of the friendliest and most knowledgeable Chaos communities out there. I look forwards to seeing you there!

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

24 thoughts on “The Shadow Descends: The Complete Guide to Playing Chaos Daemons in 10th Edition”

  1. Amazing write up! Surprised the Blood Thirster didn’t get a glowing write up. Looks great. I can’t wait to run Be’lakor, BT, LOC, Shalaxi together.

    1. Dan, they’re so close to being great! Syll’Esske is a great datasheet that unfortunately is wasting its synergy without an attached Daemonette squad… and Daemonettes are just too expensive. I’ll look hard at Syll’Esske after a points drop.

  2. Thanks you very much (from France 😉 )for the article !

    I played a game Yesterday and use the tricks with Bé Lakor coming at 3″ and deliver a BT and a Keeper in the lines if Aeldari and it was very cool !

    What about Skarbrand ? Even if he is slow, he can deepstrike with rapid ingress, or near to Be Lakor.

    1. Thanks Tristan, hope you kick butt with Daemons in France! Love using Be’lakor to drop off other Greater Daemons.

      Skarbrand is just too expensive compared to a Bloodthirster, especially with slower movement. And his “no fall back” aura is much less valuable now that he can be shot even while in combat in 10th. But its a beautiful model, and I’ll look at him after a points update

  3. There are so many units I want to play in Deamons but they all wont fit into 2k, lol
    Currently working on a list with 2-3 Brigands in it plus Flamers, Karios and the Burning Chariot. Lots of shooting and then Belakor, Shilaxi and some Bloodcrushers. We’ll see it how it goes.

  4. I have loads of horrors in my old pile (as a returning player). How do they fare this edition?

    1. Horrors are very solid, and there is a legit list in running lots of Horror units–I run 3×10 in my Tzeentch heavy lists. Fluxmasters are a great attachment too. Just beware you’ll struggle into lists like Knights or have to outscore instead of kill them!

  5. Rapid ingress can be used to screen as well, I had terminators come to charge shelaxi form deepstrike n then I rapid ingressed a bloodthirster next to shelaxi to make the right awful but anotehr thing would be to build a screen wall with nurglings 6” away from their 9” deepstrike to screen greater daemons

  6. Terrific article guys – thanks very much. I honestly think Warphammer is one of the best 40k resources online, irrespective of faction.
    As they were not specifically mentioned, I wondered what you thought of blue horrors & seekers as early board control units? Blue horrors seem like they could do the same job as nurglings, but have OC allowing you to make use of Corrupt Realspace. And the Seekers have scout & crazy movement to get them where they need to be. Or would you consider these units too fragile?

  7. Great article, love the breakdown. You guys mentioned that multiple instances of the Rendmaster’s ability would stack on a target, but wouldn’t that fall into the Duplicated Core Abilities section of the FAQ which states they dont stack?

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Jonathan!

      And the restriction is only on duplicate Auras not stacking, I encourage people to double check it for themselves because people keep paraphrasing it wrong onlinw. You’re good on targetted buffs

  8. “…they wait in deep strike for an opportunity to come down”. They are Daemons. They don’t come down. They come up.

    Great guide though!

  9. “Slaanesh Chariots: Once again, we’re seeing a unit that has a lot of potential but then falls apart because of points cost.”

    Really? Is 75pts too much for the basic chariot? I’m not the most competitive player in the world, but I feel they are priced reasonably points-wise.

  10. Hi! An excellent article!!! What do you think about the point modifications after balance data slate? Shallaxy tastes very expensive…. But still useful?

    What units come in and come out the lists with the point modifications?

  11. Excellent guide, somehow I overlooked it until now. For mostly reasons of cool and looks I play only Nurgle and Khorne + Be’lakor. So was very pleased that your recommended units section was a lot broader than is usually the case other places. Some 40k commentators are very black and white with the competitive or crap judgement.

  12. Thanks for providing this juicy knowledge for free. Gonna gulp it down like Hasselhoff on the kitchen floor.

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