Chaos Daemon Tactics

Warhammer Chaos Lord with Wings

The Chaos Daemon army is not quite like other armies in the Warhammer 40k universe. This is because the Chaos Daemon army was designed for the Warhammer Fantasy game ( now replaced by Age of Sigmar  ) and ported across to 40k.

The Chaos Daemon army plays quite differently to other 40k armies. This is mainly due to the numerous special rules. The addition of these rules also make the army difficult to play. I would suggest that the Daemon army is not a good one for beginners, but a great one for advanced payers that fancy a challenge!

This page has been written for the Warhammer 40000 8th edition rules and Index: Chaos army list.

General Chaos Daemon Tactics

Often the best was to use the Chaos Daemon army is to use it as an attachment to a Warhammer Chaos Marine army. What the Chaos Daemon units bring to the Chaos Marine is psychic powers, monstrous creatures and close combat units. The number of deep striking units are useful for snatching objectives or take out key enemy units.

Chaos Daemons come in five flavours one for each of the chaos gods and one faction for those that do not follow a specific chaos god, or follow all of them equally.

Chaos Daemon Special Rules

The Chaos Daemon army come with a number of special rules. These rules are quite different from other Warhammer 40k armies.

Daemonic Ritual

As I mentioned above, one of the joys of running a Daemon army alongside a Chaos Space Marine one is that your characters can summon daemons on to the battle field. Now be warned, this is not without it’s difficulties and risks. Also if you are playing a points matched game the points cost for the summoned daemons comes out of your reserve points. However it is great fun to do and highly recommended.

You can only summon units that have the ‘Daemonic Ritual’ ability. The Chaos Space Marine has four units listed, in the Index: Chaos you can find many more units (most of them).


All units with this ability (most of them) get a 5+ invulnerable save. This is very useful because their regular save is usually awful!

The Four Gods of Chaos and Chaos Undivided

The symbol of ChaosIf you are familiar with the Chaos Space Marines you will have come across the four chaos gods; Khorne, Slaanesh, Nurgle, and Tzeench. With the Chaos Marine army the use the chaos god’s traits is optional. There are enough unaligned choices available to create a undivided army. With the Chaos Daemon army you will need to be totally conversant with the chaos gods traits.

Each of these four gods have their own characteristics. These characteristic are passed on to the gods followers.

Chaos God Khorne

Khorne is the most popular chaos god with players. Khorne is the god of war and the Daemons of Khorne are frenzied close combat killers. The other aspect of Khorne, and it’s followers is that there are no Khorne psykers.

Khorne units work well with Tzeench units. The Tzeench can provide psychic long range fire support that Khorne units are usually short of.

Unstoppable Ferocity

Unstoppable Ferocity is an ability that most Khorne units have. If a unit has this ability then when they charge in to combat, get charged, or perform a heroic intervention, they get +1 strength and +1 attack untill the end of that turn.

Chaos God Nurgle

Nurgle units are the second most popular chaos units. Nurgle specializes in diseases and poisons. The Nurgle units tend to be tough but a bit slower than  other units.

Nurgle units work well with Slaanesh units that have the speed that the Nurgle units don’t have.

Disgustingly Resilient

The creatures of Nurgle are disgustingly resilient. Their slimy hides cause many blows and shots to slip off where the would have bitten less viscus targets. To show this in the game Nurgle units with this rule get to roll a D6 for each wound not saved and on a roll of a 5 or 6 that 1 wound is ignored. As this is not a save it works for mortal wounds too.

Nurgle Psychic Powers

Nurgle psychic powers are all about disease. The ‘stream of corruption’ has a short 7″ range but can dish out D6 mortal wounds to larger (10+ models).

Chaos God Slaanesh

Slaanesh units are focused of speed and the excess of pleasure. This means that they are fast but fragile. Slaanesh units also have access to a number of psychoactive drugs and narcotics.

Slaanesh units work well with Nurgle units that have the toughness that the Slaanesh units don’t have.

Quicksilver Swiftness

Slaanesh daemons hunger for speed and excitement. Units with this ability always fight first in the fight phase. If there are other units in this fight phase with the same special rule, or have charged that turn, then you take turns fighting with those units before fighting with all the others.

This ability tends to mean that you get to get your strikes in first. If you out number your opponent it is reasonable to expect to wipe out the enemy unit before they can react. So with this in mind you want to hit first and hit hard. Focus your assaults and choose targets that cannot call on support.

Chaos God Tzeench

Tzeench is the god of change and is the master of psychic powers. The downside though is that Tzeench units are generally poor at close combat.

Tzeench units work well with Khorne units that can act as body guards to the more vulnerable Tzeench units.

Ephemeral Form

Tzeentch daemons are even less grounded in the real world than other daemons. To show this is the game they get +1 to their invulnerable saves. As most daemons get +5 save this means that you only need +4 to shrug off most hits. This is a save though so it does not work against mortal wounds.

Chaos Daemon HQ Tactics

The Chaos Daemon army has a wide verity of HQ choices. Some of these are very powerful and some are quite quirky, however they all come with a slew of special rules. I highly recommend that you know the special rules for any unit you take, maybe writing out the special rules on a 3×4 card so you can have as a prompt while you play.

Daemon Prince

Warhammer Chaos Lord with Wings

A Warhammer Chaos Prince with Wings.

The Daemon Prince can come in a verity of configurations. If you get a chance have a look at the options available before you build the model. This will give you the chance to configure the model to fit in with your play style. You can see from the attached image that I prefer to have my Daemon Prince with wings. This allows him to deep strike and zip around the table using the maximum damage.

  • Heralds Of Chaos
  • Skulltakers
  • Karanak
  • Herald of Khorne
  • The Changeling
  • The Blue Scribes
  • Herald Of Tzeentch
  • Epidemius
  • Hearld Of Nurgle
  • The Masque Of Slaanesh
  • Hearald of Slanesh

Exalted Flamer of Tzeentch

Games Workshop Age of Sigmar Chaos Exalted flamer of TzeentchThe Exalted Flamer of Tzeentch is a cheap HQ choice for a daemon army. This means that you do not get a powerful leader, but you do get points to spend on the rest of the army. This specially important in low point games.

Games Workshop do not do an Exalted Flamer model on it’s own. You can find an Exalted Flamer in the ‘Herald of Tzeentch on Flaming Chariot’ box that if you do not place on the flaming chariot, can be placed on a regular base.

Chaos Daemon Troop Tactics

  • Bloodletters Of Khorne
  • Pink  Horrors of Tzeentch
  • Plaguebearers
  • Daemonettes Of Slaanesh
  • Nurglings

Chaos Daemon Elite Tactics

  • Bloodcrushers Of Khorne
  • Flamers Of Tzeentch
  • Beast Of Nurgle
  • Fiends Of Slaanesh
  • Chaos Daemon Fast Attack Tactics
  • Flesh Hounds Of Khorne
  • Screamers Of Tzeentch
  • Plague Drone Of Nurgle
  • Seekers Of Slaanesh
  • Hellflayer Of Slaanesh + Exalted Alluress

Chaos Daemon Heavy Support Tactics

Sometimes there is nothing like having some gig guns to face down the enemy. Unfortunately the Daemon army does not have much in the way of big guns. This is yet another reason you may want to team up with a Chaos Space Marine army.

Soul Grinder

Warhammer Chaos Daemon Soul Grinder found in WH40k, 8th ed, and Age of Sigmar

Chaos Demon Soul Grinder

Where as most of the Chaos Daemon army was transported from the Fantasy Battles game in to 40k, the Soul Grinder was designed for 40k and been graphed in to Fantasy Battles and Age of Sigmar. Because of this the Soul Grinder may be the most familiar of the Chaos Daemon choices to an existing 40k player.

The Soul Grinder is a walker usually armed with both close combat weapons and ranged weapons.

Soul Grinder Strengths and Weapons

The default weapons that the Soul Grinder comes with is an ‘Iron Claw’ power fist and a Harvester Cannon.

Other Chaos Daemon Heavy Support Options

  • Skull Cannon Of Khorne
  • Burning Chariot Of Tzeench
  • Seeker Cavalcade
  • Seeker Chariot Of Slaanesh
  • Exalted Seeker Chariot Of Slaanesh