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Azazels 750pts Darkspawn

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Hey there!


In an effort to keep my ramblings gathered in one thread, I decided to make one where I can toss it all in.


Here's the list im using at the moment.


Darkspawn - 800 points


Troop 1

Witch Queen - Familiar

D'Khul, Bathalian

Maugrathoth, Demon x 2

Incubus/Succubus Warrior x 2

Demon Imp x 2

Broken Fodder x 2


Troop 2

Keradaan - Magic Ranged Weapon

Incubus/Succubus Warrior x 4

Broken Fodder


Troop 3



Troop 4



Fraction Doctrine: Demonic Conclave (I think the list can do Pain Cage successfully as well.)

Initiative Cards: 4+1

Spies: 2

Models: 18

Damage Tracks: 38




General Strategy and Playstyle:

My basic idea with the above list, is to pick certain aspects of the game and attempt to dominate them, rather than spreading my design thin trying to cover every aspect. I chose to focus on speed, mobility and magic.

The idea is to use superior movement to dictate when the fighting is going to happen, while using the WitchQueen, D'khul and Keradaan to wither down my opponant beforehand. I typically look to stun or disable higher cost models before sending in Marilith/Maugrathoth, or to do template damage with spells or barrage before using swift attack with the succubi.

In general I look for spots where I dont trade off alot of points to kill few points.


I opted to include Keradaan as an additional ranged threat, since his usefullness is increased tenfold with both casters in the list able to barrage him.


I chose to use succubi as my main soldier to flesh out the troops. I went in this direction mainly due to them being flyers. They are great for picking off softer enemies, recieve additional DV for being flying, and their presence coupled with their speed forces opponants to take them into consideration all the time.


The big hammers of the army are ofcourse the 2 Maugratoth and Marilith. Again chosen primarily for speed/mobility, but also for the fearsome and Shock SA's.


Imps included for their provoke adding possible protection for the big guys, as well as for being fast demonic troops good for use with the Demonic Conclave doctrine.


Fodder are used for speedbumps and screening for the casters and Keradaan. I like walking them in to btb and not attacking, but rather let my opponants pay their activations to kill them off. It can buy me time to set up a coordinated attack with the models that matter, by getting casters as well as big hitters into position.



Demonic Conclave thoughts:

My use of the Demonic Conclave doctrine is most likely suboptimal compared to what could be achieved with a build designed solely for the doctrine. I dont "Daisychain" in the common sense of the word, but rather chose specific softer targets where I have a high chance of getting a first round kill using only succubi. A typical example would be a model like Olivia in my friends Merc army.

I'll then send in 3 succubi and swift attack with all of them. Against a soft model like Olivia with DV8 and 2 wounds, theres a 90% chance of a clean kill (incl. luckstone). After swift attacking I spread the succubi so they are atleast 5½" apart, while all hopefully are still within 11" of a soft'ish 2ndary target for turn 2.

Now I have 3 cheap flying soldiers in my opponants backfield, spaced apart so only 1 can be winglocked at a time. In the same time I've added to my magic superiority. Same idea applies for expensive and soft ranged models. Taking out those makes Keradaan more valuable in later turns.

I keep 1 Maugratoth off the table as well. My idea with him is mostly to be able to call on him for backup, depending on how my opponant moves, Cannonballing him on high cost models if a mindblast lands or other stunspell lands, or to overload a portion of the table if my opponant spreads too thin.

In general Demonic Conclave seems great when combined with fast models and sideways movement. Like deploying Marilith on a flank, forcing my opponant to take her into consideration when deploying, and then using my first activation to move sideways in an effort to stack up most of my power on the opposite flank. Then launch the Maugratoth to get crushing superiority, while my opponant is stuck with a slower moving troop on an empty flank.

(If my opponants go for big pointsink models, I might be more inclined to revert my strategy, and go for a swift takeout launching 2xMaugratoth and Marilith on it, if I assess that I stand a chance of holding my own with the 3 of them in my opponants backfield in turns to come.)


Anyways. That was a whole lotta rambling on my part. I guess I need to put this stuff into text sometimes, to further develop on my ideas. Im sure alot of this is gonna be subject to change as I get more experience with Warlord.


* Any synergies I'm lacking or overlooking?

* How would I best take this concept to 1000 points in the future?

* What weak spots do I need to be carefull with?


Any ideas and criticism is very welcome!


Edit: List tweaked to reach 800points. (- luckstone, + Aundine)



- Azazel

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Very solid list indeed. Based on our past discussions with you related, I think you have pretty much maximized each of the facets that you were going for.


And the fact that you have a bunch of demons but are not 100% demon where you start out with like a single model on the table, I think is a good thing. Lists that do that are too easy to counter.


Darkspawn is definitely evil and twisted when it comes to spell casting.


One thing I do suggest tho, is to always tinker and play with your lists. Playing with (and also against) the same list every time gets old quickly. Changing things up and keeping both you and your opponents on their toes keeps the interest up on both sides. We had a player in our group that I helped to make a killer Sisterhood list for, and the first time he brought it, he cleaned house. But, the problem was he brought that same exact list for 3 months straight. Obviously, it was fairly easy to build an anti-list once I realized that that he wasnt going to change that list up at all. So, he enjoyed two weeks of winning during the time when the rest of us were just bringing 'fun' but not min/max lists, followed by 2 months of getting tabled by the rest of us. Now, he does a much better job of mixing it up (with Elves, Necropolis, and Sisters) and he is a much better player for it too.

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So far I've only had one game with the 750pt list, allthough its build around some of the same ideas I used for 500 and 600pts. The 750pt game was also my first experience with the Demonic Conclave doctrine. In that respect it still feels new and fresh. I've also still yet to play against both the Elven and the Overlord/Crusader players in our group.

I can definately see strong possibilities of this doctrine compared to the Pain Cage, and to some extend understand why my opponants are intimidated by its potential power.


Money and time will definately work against me in terms of developing the army towards trying new designs regularly. Since we're fairly new to warlord, we are basically fielding whateever models we own, and buying new along the way, when we discover new synergies and combos we'd like to try. Im a working father of 3, where one is only 2 weeks old, so finding the money to flesh out the army, as well as the time to paint it is tuff.


Here's the stuff I currently have available, beyond whats in the above list.






Devourer of Mashaf

Paintenders (6 I think)


I'm really lacking options in the soldier department, and will most likely look into those next. Im especially tempted by Arachnid Warriors as well as more Imp's.


What would you people suggest for additional soldier options?


- Azazel

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As supreme whiner on this forum, I must say this list is very strong ementhaler. It can punish every wrong move in an instant or failed deployment from turn 1. It was already a challenge to fight before it tried the beam-doctrine. Perhaps an all indirect-shot/completely burrowed army could give it a run for the money. It can easilly dodge fights it doesn't want to fight and splat everything else until it feels ready for the kill. I'm already looking forward to see the eyes of the other players in our group get mauled by the beam-doctrine. If it is posible to make this cheese any stronger, noone will dare fight it.

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I admit that even though I am local to Reaper HQ, and also was one of the guys with my name in the book for creating it, I am no different than you when it comes to not having all of the minis that I need to make every lits that I think up. I probably do have a few more than you since I have been around longer. And I have access to more again since I am local to Reaper. But, believe me when I say, it is a regular thing for myself and really all of the guys I play with to proxy at least 1/3 of our play lists pretty much every game we play. Just like you we are slowly fleshing out everything too. For me, its just that I am fleshing out like 5 different factions at the same time.

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We use plenty proxy models as well. We do have a WYSIWYG policy though, so for example the proxy I use for Maugratoths is a big demonoid creature with wings etc.

Alot of it has to do with poor availability of warlord models in our area. The local store isn't stocked very well, and ordering over the net can be an issue in terms of taxes when we have to order abroad due to very few EU stores with a good reaper selection.


In general we're pretty relaxed about proxy'ing, as long as we can see what we're facing. Flyers have wings, spearmen have spears etc.


I basically just aim for models I like that clearly depict the statcards they represent.

Maugratoths I sub with Hordes Nephilim Soldiers

Broken Fodder I subbed with models I like better as well.

My Imps are conversions using Succubi wings, Paintender wierd jumpy bases and evil empire ogre kingdom gobbo torsos.

I'll prolly sub Ice Demons with Khorne Bloodletters painted blueice'ish cuz I like the models and can get em cheap.

I might sub Rauthurous with Hordes Thagrosh the Messiah, both cuz the model is sweet, and cuz its easier to come by at the local store.


Thats just how it is when you live in a 3rd world country in terms of wargaming.


- Azazel

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi again, time for an update!


I had 2 games last night with the list in my first post in the thread. Actually it was more like 1½ games, as the elven player I clashed with first conceeded the game halfway into turn 2...

I had chosen the exact same approach as I describe earlier in this thread, and slingshot 3 succubi into his backfield to swiftattack Lysette(his main caster). I did this to gain magic superiority and to avoid the always nasty mirror image combo on his beefed up shooters.

The swiftness of the takeout on Lysette prompted moral failure for my opponant, and he chose to bumrush a sergeant + an elite into range of Witch Queen, D'Khul and Keradaan w/ barrage. They got destroyed by the combined range attack, and my opponant conceeded.


The above battle resulted in a lengthy discussion between CrispyMerc, the Elven player and I, considering the Denonic Conclave doctrine, and wether or not its fair. My opponants are exeedingly frustrated by my build, my doctrine and my strategy, and I feel like I have to go on the defensive, using arguments like "the playtesters and designers appearently thinks Darkspawn are balanced..." etc etc ad nauseum...

Needless to say I'm very frustrated by having to defend myself, and its tiresome playing in games where my opponant is obviously demoralized and annoyed. On the other hand I'm not about to just abandon 50% of my army's doctrine options just on account of my opponants frustration, when the playtesters and designers have deemed the doctrine balanced and havent written any erratas or otherwise altered it.


We're still very new to Warlord, and far from able to find optimal builds, strategies and synergies just yet. This makes me feel as if my opponants are selling their own factions short, by claiming my doctrine is unbeatable before they've explored fully what their own factions are capable of.

The counter argument to this, is that my opponants understandably don't want to be reduced to producing "anti-lists" to combat my build, and want to be able to field an allround build that is still competive against the demonic conclave.


A couple questions:

* Does their frustration have merit? (In the gamebalance sense.)

* Can you fight the demonic conclave competitively while maintaining an allround build, or do you have to field an anti-list?



On a sidenote I had a quick battle against CrispyMerc following the above discussion. This battle was alot closer than our previous one for sure. I'll try describe that one in its own post later.


I hope all my ranting didn't make your eyes bleed.


Kind regards.


- Azazel

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Well, there are several factors that go into any arguments related to this on both sides of the fence..


First, yes, the Demonic Conclave can be a very affective and very powerful doctrine when used correctly and with the right models. I won't argue that it is not powerful.


Add to that the idea that between your own studying of your various strengths and weaknesses of models, abilities, spells, etc.. you had already put together a very affective game plan to use with that very powerful doctrine before you ever came to us for advice on how to make it even better. Then after that you also had our help to even more maximize that list to a degree. So, for all intensive purposes you have, thru your own efforts and with a small bit of our help, created a very good POWER list.


Next, based only on the discussions on these forums, Crispy started out with a lot less research and less study of maximizing his choice of factions' strengths and weaknesses, but rather simply built a list based on the models he owned at the time and thought had a synergy that might work. I remember that even after he asked for some help, he rejected the first set of suggestions made because he did want to prove that a regular list could beat a power list.


Cant comment on the elf player as I dont know anything about his preparedness.


After another round of discussions and Crispy accepted some of our suggestions he was better able to understand what he needed to do in order to stop putting the square peg into the round hole. And he said he faired much better against your power list with his new build. But, at this point you have had more practice with your lists, so the wall he will have to climb might be a little higher at this point.


Put it this way, all of yours and their arguments are correct to a degree.


If you had not taken the time to try and maximize your army list, but instead just grabbed a handful of demons and tossed them together, then you would still be able to take advantage of the conclave doctrine but it might not have the same outcome as you have been getting now.


The same is true on the other side. I agree whole heartedly that if you just "grab" two armies and go head to head then they should be fairly balanced. But, in this case that is NOT what has happened. One side grabbed an army and the other side maximized an army. Especially if you have "intel" on what hte enemy is bringing. If you know your opponent is bringing lots of flyers but yet you dont bring in fly repellent you cant whine too much when they bite you.


Now, I could be completely wrong, but that is what I have seen so far.


If the elf player wants to post up their lists for help we will be glad to discuss that with them too.


Another idea could be instead of playing a head to head kill em all type game, play a scenario or two and see how that affects the outcomes.

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Hi mate, thanks for your quick yet thorough reply.


In terms of army design and strategy I just might be the blind chicken managing to find corn. I've only used the Demonic Conclave doctrine a total of 3 times, playing against Crispymerc twice, and the elven player once.

We've only had 4 games each at 750 pts. I've been somewhat familiar with my list in the sense that I've developed the list starting at 500pts, chosing to place alot of focus on speed and to some extend magic. My opponants have been a bit more prone to altering their lists frequently along the way - especially the elven player and the overlord/crusader player. I guess that makes me somewhat more used to my list and strategy than is the case with them.


I did spend some time reading in here, and asked some questions and directions when needed. Other than that I guess I basically just picked up where I left off when playing WHFB - By choosing to try and dominate the movement/speed portion of the game, and maneuver my way into favourable situations against opponants who in general tend to have me slightly outmuscled 1on1.


I'll definately try to talk the Elven player into making use of these forums, so he can hopefully reap the benefits of the expert advice freely shared in this community. Its definately a valuable ressource in terms of getting new perspective on things, rather than sitting all by your lonesome cooking up strategies yet untested.


We actually do use scenarios to some extend. We randomly roll map-types, like for instance dungeons where you cant fly or use indirect shot, villages, cities, forests etc. We also use map objectives where you might need to capture and hold a section, buildings you need to destroy etc etc.


Again, thanks alot for your input.


Oh, and happy birthday! :bday:


- Azazel

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The beam-doctrine changed Azazel's army from a good 6th division list to heavysuperleague-list. A doctrine that basically teleports a complete army. It became an "it's the end of the world as we know it"event when it hit the gaming board. 2 times in a row the list completely grinded 2 lists with a few "pocket combos". All troops were running around in disaray while they where being eaten up with a speed noone had seen before.

I see the beam-doctrine as something that is a little bit too good compared to other doctrines. It is "evil", not just "anoying" like the others.

Having some aid from the experts in the cheesefactory, helped me get back on the board, and actually have an interesting game (unlike before which was very onesided entertainment). I'm sure our elf player also gets back in the saddle and brews something a bit more nasty, once he has recovered from the same shock as me).

I am still not completely convinced that that the beam-doctrine is ballanced, compared to other doctrines, that get some defensive strikes, fearless, 1 " longer charges, deflect or something similar.

What anoys me most was that the change of a doctrine could change so much. You really had a feeling that even a monkey could win with the Beamdoctrine. It was just too easy.

I still have to see if my army can do well against our other players(and have my revenge). I'm not sure if its just an anti-Azazel-list or another heavyleaguemonster.


Now that all of us know that Azazel brings nuclearboms to knifefights we may have some more fun again (if we can make some ourselves).

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Well, the one area that I will agree with you is this...


Azazel is making great use of use flying demons with swift attack. And yes he is keeping you on your heals because of it. If opponents keep bringing the low DV casters, he will keep eating them up with that tactic.


Swap Lysette with Argyrian and all of a sudden he cant do that anymore. Granted that is a huge turn around and a lot of points difference, but my point is, yes, if you know your opponent is going to use a particular model, models, and/or tactic but yet you dont make any changes to counter or negate it, then who is to blame?


Play a couple of games without Lysette, or make Lysette bait for something more and then the opponent's strategy will have to change too.

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@Crispy It's not as broken as you think. Powerful? Yes. Broken? Far from. In one game you've managed to turn your fortunes around, so take heart. Is this game balanced? Yes. But balanced is a relative term. Is everything balanced to each other? No. If it was then equal points could deal with equal points. The game is based around figuring out ways to deal with the small inequalities. The game is balanced because each faction can do something better than another. Darkspawn if you look at their stats are actually pretty fragile. Few models have tough/regeneration. Low to average DV's average MAV and RAV. They have the best casters, high MD, and good speed. Azazel has focused on what the Darkspawn are good at. You are beginning to do the same.

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I hope this is just a "the grass is greener on the other side" thing, and that we just were too slow to see our own options. I still don't see that darkspawn is outclassed in the DV department. Compared to mercs and elves they all have DV 8-10. Mercs will have to take change of heart to just to have a model that can move more than 7". They generally look pretty average allround. In other words they must use their doctrine to fill holes rather than boosting the list(no burrow,fly or cav). The only thing that may be an equalizer is probably in the wizard department (where they have a greater selection than others).

Since I managed to get close victory (though not an easy one), I have regained my figthing spirit. The super whinning happend before our last game, so I have lowered the "completely broken flag". As I see it, as long as I have my 150pts cavalry investment, I still have a chance vs Darkspawn.


ED:Having a nuclearbomb shinning in the inventory was ofcourse a chance too good to pass for Azazel, and all the whinning was not intended to make him look like a poor player. It seems like our "nuclear-bombs" are not as obvious as his, so we have to dig a bit further down in our toolbox.

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Mercs will have to take change of heart to just to have a model that can move more than 7". They generally look pretty average allround. In other words they must use their doctrine to fill holes rather than boosting the list(no burrow,fly or cav).

This is not entirely true. The Merc Axeman are an interesting model in that they have only a single attack, plus the SA Rush Attack. This means they have the ability to execute their single attack (and only suffer a single defensive strike in return) at a range of up to 14". While this does not replace Cavalry or Flyers, it represents a major tool available to the list, as they are inexpensive for their ability.


Further, I think you may be looking at the capabilites of the faction from the wrong angle. Not every faction can do the same things; not everyone has flyers, or cavalry, or burrowers, etc. Everyone has deficiencies in some regard; Mercs are not unique in this respect. What is unique is their doctrine that allows them to take whatever they want from any faction if they choose. You will have to work harder to beat some factions, but other factions will have to work harder to beat you.



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