Codex: Daemonhunters represents Games Workshop at its best. No Space Orks for comic relief; no C’Tan and Necrons to tie up loose ends that ought to have been left alone. This is the war for the soul of humanity. The Emperor’s Daemonhunters wage battles of such cosmic weight, they must remain secret to all but a few cursed with their knowledge. This is the second of a three-part series of books in the vein of the Realm of Chaos tomes from the old Rogue Trader days (Codex: Chaos Marines in fall 2002 and the Eye of Terror campaign in June 2003).
“The greatest threat to the Imperium of Man is, and has always been, the followers of Chaos and the foul Daemons of the Warp. The Inquisitors of the Ordo Malleus are at war with forces too terrible to comprehend and, together with the holy warriors of the Grey Knights, they must take the light of the Emperor into the darkness.”
Although the book details scenarios in which Daemonhunters would be used against any of the Warhammer 40,000 races, DH versus Chaos is the title fight of any evening. Inquisitors and Grey Knights marines are specifically beefed up to take on hordes of Daemons with a host of special rules such as Rites of Exorcism (which renders Daemons more susceptible to instability tests) and The Shrouding (enemy units must roll to check if they can even see the marines). These rules are balanced by Daemons being allowed back onto the table’s edge after being defeated. This endless wave reflects the dire circumstances necessary to warrant an appearance by the secretive Grey Knights.
Fielding a pure Daemonhunter army is not for the neophyte. Even at 1500 points, you’ll have far fewer models on the table than your opponent. Add mobility by trading models for vehicles like Rhinos and Land Raiders and you’ve got a very small—albeit lethal—fighting force. Putting Daemonhunters into an Imperial Guard army as an ally (they can also ally with Space Marines and Sisters of Battle) seems a more likely choice: It gives IG a good choice of elite troops while giving Daemonhunters more core troops and long-range punch for flexibility. The addition of Imperial Guard will give players a little more room for error unlike pure DH forces where every soldier is precious.
“Where other Space Marine Chapters were created from the gene-seed of existing Chapters, the Grey Knights were unique in that their gene-seed was said by some to have come from the Emperor’s own flesh. The Ordo Malleus was in its infancy at this time, the corruption of Horus lending new impetus to the creation of an order tasked with the hunting and elimination of the daemonic.”
The art and fluff (background material on the WH40K universe) are good enough to warrant purchasing the book even if you will never play with or against a Daemonhunter army. For painters, the color choice of the Grey Knights is rather limiting for those who take WYSIWYG a bit too literally. All the Grey Knight models photographed in the book look great, but they’re all the same color scheme and lack variety. There are, however, several good conversion tips about making Inquisitorial henchmen. Game-wise, Daemonhunters are a very balanced army. They have special rules to drool over, but sorely lag in the number of troops they can field. Quite a challenge.