Horus Heresy Faction Focus: Ruinstorm Daemons

The Demons of the Ruinstorm army list came out last summer, and it’s time to talk about it. We spent a while waiting for this one, and while some considered it an ‘uninspiring’ document, I thought it was worth looking at and was fun enough to play, and *spoilers* certain heavy skew builds are very, very strong.

Why Play Demons?

  • They’re amazing fun to model and you have infinite options from multiple GW ranges, never mind third party or 3D printing.
  • Options to run eight different Demon sub-factions, dedicated to the four major powers and some other big bad Demons.
  • No one ever gets to play against Demons; it is both weird and fun for your opponent and all your friends will think you’re a massive chad.
  • Demon Sovereigns and Arch-Demons are fun and enormously powerful; they will munch on anything in the game in melee.
  • Your games will be over super quick because you’ll either die before you hit your opponent, or you’ll eat your enemy alive and dedicate their corpses to the dark powers.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The Writing On The Wall

Games Workshop added a big caveat to this army list when they put the list out: “Because of the nature of this Army List, we recommend these rules be used for casual battles, and if players wish to use them in a competitive environment or at an event that they discuss this with their opponent or seek permission from the event organiser.”

This sucks. Nothing is worse than having to ask an event organiser or a casual opponent if you are allowed to use this army you have spent ages making. Imagine spending hundreds of pounds and hours assembling your army and then someone staying NO to you being able to use your army.

The second recommendation sucks even more: You cannot take an allied detachment of Ruinstorm Demons if you’re running another faction, or take an allied detachment of non-Demons if your main detachment is Ruinstorm Demons. The only person who gets Demon Lord of War choices are mono-demons.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The main reason for both these changes, as far as I can tell, is that Ruinstorm Demons are kinda nuts. Custodes ruined the game once and it seems that Games Workshop are keen to avoid it again.

This is an army with a massive skew. They’ve got some pretty glaring issues:

  • Only two (bad) line units.
  • No shooting beyond 18” range.
  • No Infiltrate, Deepstrike or Outflank.
  • No vehicles or transports to get your stuff closer safely.
  • No good access to Chosen Warrior for your characters, so they can get Challenge locked quite easily.
  • One anti-tank weapon, and it’s got a 12” range.
  • No access to good Interceptor or Augury Scanners, so Deep Strike, Infiltrate and Outflank are going to do a number on you.
  • Nothing in this assault army has Frag Grenades, so you’ll be I1 when charging into terrain. This is easy to forget and will make the game gruesome against players who know what they’re doing.

On the other hand, it’s a full melee army with lots of I5 floating around. Lots of the units are multi-wound and high toughness with a good Invulnerable save*. There is a lot of fast stuff in this list. Also, you know those Dreadnoughts that everyone hates? Sovereigns and Arch-Demons make them look positively friendly.

* I’m going to say Invulnerable Save a lot during this article, but I mean Æthereal Invulnerability (X). This is an Invulnerable Save that cannot be taken against attacks made with weapons with the Force special rule.

The way to fix this skew would be to use Allies, or to only grab the messy bit of Demons and use them as Allies. Grab some Tactical Marines to sit back on your objectives, a couple Lascannons to pop tanks from range, some infiltrating units to stick up the midfield. You could fill the gaps in this army pretty easily.

If you made it so the sizable gaps in this skew list could be filled with Allies, you’d have to make the Demons less good than they should be at melee murder. Same thing happens if you let other armies grab the good stuff (like Brutes, Sovereigns, Arch-Demons ) without the risks created by mono-Demons.

By making the army only work solo, you can deliver on the core Demon experience without making horrid soup issues. They’re doing their best to avoid the Custodes issue: That any Astartes army can add tons of hyper fast, WS5 I5 AP2 murder lads who will mulch basically anything you throw at them.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Breaching the Veil

There are ways around this “no allies” issue and we’re gonna talk about them here.

Traitor-aligned armies can take an Esotericist if they are Astartes, or a Rogue Psyker if they are Imperialis Militia. This allows taking up to three Troops or Elites Demon units as an Elite slot in your main force org, and deploying them from reserve via the Breach the Veil psychic power.

If you’re a Word Bearer, you get more toys. Erebus can take HQ and Elites choices of War choices to deploy via Breach the Veil. Lorgar Transfigured can fill any non-compulsory slots in his army with Demons (again deployed via Breach the Veil).

Breach the Veil is very cool and also very strong and we’ll talk about how to use it (and how to cheese it) later, but the fact you can only take Elites and Troops choices restricts some of the more fun choices available, and completely avoids huge swathes of the units in the Ruinstorm Demons army list.

In place of a shooting attack, you deploy a Warp Rift Marker (a 3” blast template) within 12” of the psyker. It scatters if they fail a Psychic Check. You then deploy the demons from it as if it was table edge, the unit gets Interceptored (in the shooting phase), then they can shoot and charge.

However, Breach the Veil comes with a pretty hefty disadvantage. If the Psyker dies, those units are never gonna show up. Your 2 Wound models are pretty vulnerable to snipers and challenges, and you have to work harder to keep your HQs safe than normal. 5 Nemesis Bolter Recon Snipers are gonna do a wound to your Esotercist HQ on average (worse for the Rogue Psyker), and it doesn’t take more than a few messed up Invulns for a pretty big chunk of your army to literally vanish.

The other issue is that Breach the Veil happens in lieu of a shooting attack, which means they can’t use it if they’re locked in combat. If the Psyker gets locked up in melee, the Demons are never gonna show.

Credit: Charlie A

Demons have a couple of rules from the Age of Darkness Core Book that it’s worth recapping:

  • All Demons have Fear 1, and are immune to other units causing Fear. They can’t be Pinned, automatically Regroup, or choose to fall back due to Our Weapons Are Useless. If they fail a Morale check, they don’t Fall Back and instead take D3 Wounds with no saves. Never getting Swept is pretty cool honestly.
  • Force weapons Instant Death them.
  • Their Toughness and Strength are 1+ for Turns 1 and 2, normal for Turns 3 and 4, –1 for turns 5 and 5, and -2 on Turn 7. Most Heresy games are over by then, so this is pure upside. Stops you getting shot to pieces and that is kinda cool.

Some Demons are also Gargantuan. They’re basically a bit like Dreadnoughts, but can only react to “Big Units”, and count as 10 models when checking if they’re outnumbered. Psychic Powers can’t affect them, including Psychic Focus weapons, but not Force weapons. This is Monstrous from the Sub-Type list, but with some extra gubbinz and it goes on the Arch-Daemon and Ka’bandha Unbound.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Aetheric Dominions

You pick one of these and it gives a bonus to the whole army. Each one is vibed to a different Chaos God or other major Demon, like Malal, Samus Belakor and Vashtorr. There’s eight of them (one for each point of the star) so we’ll keep it fast:

  • Encroaching Ruin: Boring but strong Chaos Undivided option, which Samus has. They only take 1 wound when they fail a Morale Check, and gain Move Through Cover. Second rule is much more important than the first, as it gives the whole army full Initiative when charging into terrain.
  • Heedless Slaughter: Khorne option. You have to charge if there is a unit within 8”, but can add +1 to the Charge rolls and gain +1 to combat score and Sweeping Advance rolls. A bit underwhelming, but anything that gets you into combat and wins a combat is a good option in a melee army.
  • Putrid Corruption: Potent Nurgle option I use all the time. You gain Heavy (so no running) and a 5+ Corrupted Resilience roll that is ignored by attacks with Instant Death, Psychic Focus or Force. Just remember you can still Sweeping Advance, as that rule is Cataphractii armour and not Heavy.
  • Rapturous Sensation: Slaneesh option. Non-disordered charges mean you attack at plus 1 Initiative. You’re an Emperor’s Children now. This also comes with a situational ribbon for Blind and Concussive checks.
  • Formless Distortion: Your Tzeenetch option, gives some good bonuses but very unreliable and only works in melee. Roll a D3 in each combat, with different special rules on each option:
    • Coruscating Ectoplasma gives Concussive (1), Lance
    • Lashing Pseudopods: Reach (1)
    • Vorpal Talons: Shred, Sunder
  • Infernal Tempest: Not sure who this is meant to be themed after? Belakor perhaps? You gain Hammer of Wrath or increase it by 1 if you already have it. A lot of Demons have quite high base strength, so this is better than you think. It also comes with an 8” range shooting attack, which sounds fun until you clock it can only be used as a reaction. 90% of the time you should just Evade instead.
  • Ravenous Dissolution: Malal themed. Our first big miss! +1 to hit on the first round of combat with Demons, Corrupted Units or Psyker units, or units with Independent Character. This is okay but doesn’t happen that often, and will work on 1 to 3 units in most armies. Take another option.
  • Malevolent Artifice: Vashtorr themed. Wow, and just like that our second miss. Units can re-roll failed Armour Saves (not cover or Invulnerables) against Wounds resolved at a Strength value less than their unmodified Toughness. Most units in your army have a +4 save, apart from some of the BIG Demons who are now completely immune to small arms fire (spoilers: they were already immune to small arms fire).

My favourite of these are Enroaching Ruin, Putrid Corruption or Heedless Slaughter, but really this is just vibes so pick the one you modelled your stuff after!

Warlord Traits

A selection of four Warlord traits, one for each major Chaos god:

  • Conqueror of Kings: Khorne! +1 attacks when locked in a fight with an Independent Character. The whole unit (including the character) gets +1 when locked in a fight with an Independent Character. This is solid. Attacks are good. Extra Assault Reaction is pretty pants though. We tend to say this is the worst type of reaction when you CAN Overwatch, and your entire army has no guns.
  • Entropic Force: Nurgle! Damage Mitigation rolls made against wounds inflicted by the unit only go off on a six. Pretty pants. When a unit has a Damage Mitigation roll it’s usually at best a 5+. Then again, it’s an extra Movement Reaction, so one of the ones you want!
  • Eternal Reveller: Slaneesh! You can run and charge. Very good! You can also use your Warlord’s initiative instead of a charge roll as well, which means you won’t fluff that 6” charge (yes a Demon Sovereign has Initiative 6. Praetors are in DANGER.) Movement reaction too. Best one so far.
  • Walker of Paths: Tzeenetch. After Scout and Infiltrate and Seize The Initiative, take two units and put them in reserve. After this, redeploy a unit from Reserve (including one of the ones you just put there) somewhere on the battlefield or put them in Herald of Unreality. Redeploys are really good in Heresy, and this will confuse your opponent, take advantage of mispositioning, hide units you want to keep safe from shooting, and be even more useful if you Seize or are Seized on. Plus a Shooting Reaction for extra Evades.

The only whiff here is Entropic Force, but Eternal Reveller or Walker of Paths are both great.

Be’lakor, the Dark Master. Credit: SRM

Equipment Options

Use these to customise your big Demons for points. Sovereigns and Arch-Demons (big princes and greater Demons) can take three of these. Heirachs (mini-prince) can take two. Harbingers can take one, and can only choose from Ætheric Conduit, Miasma of Rage and Warp Forged Flesh.

  • Ætheric Conduit: Become a psyker and gain: Biomancy, Diabolism (Word Bearers style), Pyromancy and Telepathy. Use this to get the overpowered pinning power from Telepathy, buff your (or another unit’s) Strength and Toughness with A Dark And Terrible Power or Biomantic Augmentation (plus the extra physic weapons), or get access to something called a “Blast Template” that these other armies get talking about with Pyromancy. It’s good and also pretty cool. Take it on your big Demons, but remember Arch-Demons can’t buff their own Strength or Toughness due to Gargantuan, so will be buffing their friends.
  • Immaterial Wings: Get a Jump Pack with 14” movement and increase your Hammer of Wrath (X) by 1. Take it so your big Demons don’t get shot to death.
  • Aetheric Flight: You glide now. Increase your movement by 3” and move over terrain or other models. I’d generally prefer the Wings, but take it if it fits the vibes.
  • Miasma of Rage: Gain Rage (2). Points for more damage, you can’t go wrong.
  • Dark Flame: A torrent template gun with fleshbane and AP5? Not bad, but overshadowed by other options. .
  • The Unmaking: A 2 shot, 12” range S8 AP1 armourbane weapon? Not bad, but overshadowed by other options.
  • Warp Forged Flesh: Increase your Armour Save by 1. Armour saves are good in heresy, and you desperately want your big Demons to have a 2+ save.

Normally, I would take Immaterial Wings and Warp Forged Flesh on every big Demon. Fast movement and a 2+ save really can’t be overrated. For your Arch-Demons and Sovereigns, you can either grab a psychic power, one of the weapons, or Miasma of Rage as your third option.

I’ve got no clue what you do with the Harbinger. Psychic Powers seem like a solid option at first, but remember they will usually be using their Shooting Attack replacing Herald of Unreality.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Unit Spotlights

Going through each of these units one by one, there is a theme. Big demons are strong, small demons are not so strong.


Some big Demons and some Reserve shenanigans.

Demon Sovereign

Your Greater Demon, coming in at 400pts after the upgrades you should always be buying. As above, give it Immaterial Wings, Warp-Forged Flesh and Biomancy/Diabolism from Aetheric Conduit. This big big fella is going to cause your foes a world of hurt, and is going to toss about dreadnoughts like nothing. There is a reason they are 400pts.

If you hit a unit on turn 1 or 2, it’s lights out. You are Weapon Skill and Initiative 6 with 6 Attacks on the Charge, Strength 9 thanks to Demons + Psychic Powers with an AP2 Brutal (2) weapon. with Murderous Strike (5+). You’re going to punch before Praetors or Dreadnoughts, then hit on 3s, wound on 2s, cause 2 saves per wound thanks to Brutal, with any 5+’s to wound are Instant Death. You were Instant Death on anything that wasn’t a Dread before, but now your Atomantic Reflector requires 2 Invulnerable Saves that will do D3 per fail wounds (because Brutal + Murderous Strike + Atomantic Deflectors piling on top of each other). You’re going to mince a Praetor or Contemptor before they swing, stand a good chance to kill a Leviathan too. Primarchs are safe, but everything else is in danger.

You have the option to take a Unwieldly Weapon that gets Brutal (3) and +3 Strength. If you’re charging into terrain a lot this downside might not matter as much as you think, but in my limited testing I have mainly used the normal Sovereign Armament. (Edit: It turns out this is not a downside, as creatures with the Monstrous Subtype ignore Unwieldy. For 10pts, you should now take this every time!).

This model is a character, so Challenges are going to suck. You don’t have a Sergeant or Chosen Warrior to accept for you, so you might end up wasting a turn mulching a sergeant or veteran to death. They’ll lose the fight by a lot, and take checks at a negative modifier thanks to Fear 1, but Stubborn and Fearless with lots of Challenges will take a few turns to chew through. If I could make one balance change for this whole army, it would be taking Character off this model.

They’re good on defence too. Toughness 6 before modifiers (take a Psychic Power to unlock Toughness 8 for the first few turns), 3+ Armour Save (take Warp Forged Flesh to make it a 2+), 4+ Invulnerable Save and It Will Not Die (5+). I run mine with the Feel No Pain from Putrid Corruption for a big durability boost.

Any good 3k Demons army should include one or two of these, sent to hunt after dreadnoughts and tanks, leaving the melee deathstar for the Arch-Demon. I’ve seen some events cap these at a 0-1 choice and that might be smart if the rest of this list was better, but the big Demons are really needed to keep this army on the map.

Demon Heirach

Your Demon Prince, roughly 300pts after upgrades. A smaller version of the Sovereign, they are only WS5, S5, T5, I5 , with 4 Attacks and 4 Wounds. Their Infernal Armaments is Brutal (2) AP3 with 6+ Breaching.

This unit is a big miss, being stuck with an AP3 weapon and an underwhelming statline compared to their boss. It’s probably best to leave them at home, pay the extra 100pts, and get yourself a Sovereign instead.

Demon Harbinger

Your Demon Herald with a very specific purpose: using Herald of Unreality to Breach the Veil-esque your Demons in from reserve. 160pts after a single upgrade, with WS5, S4, T5, I5 with 3 Wounds and Attacks, and who can be attended to by a unit of Demon Attendants (these are Brutes!).

This unit is underwhelming in melee, but gets to Summon up to two units (one per turn) in from Herald of Unreality (+1 unit goes into reserve for each Herald after the first). In place of a shooting attack, place a Warp Rift Marker (a 3” blast template) in base contact with the unit, then the unit moves on from the blast template as if it was a table edge. The unit can then shoot and charge.

There are some downsides here compared to Breach the Veil. The Warp Rift Marker is not deployed within 12”, and is instead in base contact with the model. However, there is no psychic check, the marker does not scatter and there is a NO CARVE OUT to allow units to Interceptor this arrival in the shooting phase, like Breach the Veil has.

I think this is a straight-up mistake in rules writing from GW, but right now it is pretty clear rules-as-written that the arriving unit doesn’t get Interceptored.

Let’s talk about a scenario here. Your Harbinger moves 8” and deploys a 3” blast marker in contact with their base. A Ruinstorm Sovereign or Arch-Demon with Immaterial Wings arrives on the table without being Interceptored and moves 14”. You are 25” inches away from your initial deployment point for the Harbinger, and can now charge a unit within 12” with a +3 modifier from the Wings increased movement value.

Even better: If you have a Warlord Trait, Walker of Paths can redeploy your Harbinger to somewhere else on the board to make the threat range even bigger. Eternal Reveler grants a minimum 6” charge so you can’t roll a double one, and allow the Warlord to Run and Charge, adding on another 6” to your combo. Casual 37” minimum threat range on a Sovereign with this Warlord Trait. Heedless Slaughter gives +1 to charge as an Aetheric Dominion.

Or, you can take two Harbingers, and use one of them to daisy chain another one out. First one moves 8” and then deploys the Warp Rift marker for 3”, then 8” of movement for the second Harbinger, then 3” for the second Warp Rift marker, then 14” of movement of the Immaterial Wings. This adds up to 36” plus a charge range with 3+ modifier, before you added any of the previous Warlord Trait shenanigans.

You know the, “If you hit a unit on turn 1 or 2, it’s lights out” that sounded super hypothetical about 10 paragraphs ago? It is a concrete certainty at least one Sovereign or Arch-Demon arrives to ruin your day on turn 1. Or, run two (or even three???) Harbingers and either do a daisy chain for massive range, or deploy both a Sovereign and an Arch-Demon into the backline. This could potentially be screened well by not leaving space for enormous bases to fit between units but we don’t actually know how big a “Greater Demon” base is meant to be.

I hope, dear reader, the reason we cannot soup this list is becoming apparent.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones


Two options here, both are serviceable:

Demon Brutes

Returning from the Bound Demons list with a massive glow-up, these are your meat and potatoes. WS5, S5, T6, I6 with 3 Attacks and Wounds. 4+ Armour Save and 5+ Invulnerable Save. This is your premier unit for bringing in as pseudo-allies with Breach the Veiling and they’re pretty good.

They attack before most marines with a respectable cluster of AP3 Brutal (2) Breaching 6+ attacks from their Infernal Armaments plus Hammer of Wrath (1). Turns 1 and 2, they’re S6 and T6, meaning they will be 2+ to wound and 6+ when being wounded by the ubiquitous S4/T4, so they feast well on Marine equivalent units with 3+ saves. They’re 135 for 3, with extra models costing 40 points. Six-man units of these get spammed in my army.

Demon Beasts

Most stuff in this list moves 8”, but these guys go 10”. WS4, S5, T4, I4 with 3 Attacks and Wounds, but only a 5+ Armour and Invulnerable Save. They’re cheaper than Brutes, 30pts as opposed to 40pts, but are armed with normal Daemon Weapons, which are only AP4 but go to AP3 on a 6+. This is a big downside.

The upside is that you can give them Ætheric Flight for 5pts per model and you should. You could give them Immaterial Flame instead of their Demon Weapons and you shouldn’t.

This unit is fine. I’d rather take Brutes since they do so much more damage, but being able to fly makes them into a legitimate backline harassment unit, possibly something cheap to be stuff into Heralds of Unreality for a 29”ish charge on something important in your opponent’s backline. This unit would be GREAT and a viable Brute alternative if it had Line, and this is the second balance change I would make to this list.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones


It goes downhill from here. A bunch of these units can take Immaterial Projectives, S User AP4 2 shots at 18” range, but I wouldn’t bother.

Lesser Demons

You have to take 20 of these guys and it’s a bit sad. They have Line, which helps win games. WS4, S4, T4, I4 with 2 Attacks and 1 Wounds, with a 5+ Armour and Invulnerable Save. 12pts per model. Ten bolter shots kills two guys, which isn’t great. They’ve got the normal Demon Weapons, which are only AP4 but go to AP3 on a 6+. They’ll kill Auxilia but bounce off Marines. I wish this unit breached on a 5+ or something, or were just a bit cheaper.

These are a bad unit. You have to take 20 of these guys and I think you should only take 20 of them. Alternatively, you could run 120 of them for 1320 points, and still have all your space left for the big Demons.

Demon Swarms

They have Line and Support Squad, so can’t be your compulsory option. WS3, S3, T3, I3 with 2 Attacks and 4 Wounds, but only a 6+ Armour and Invulnerable Save. 16pts per model. No weapons at all, so basic close combat attacks. A lot of Wounds but terrible Save and Toughness, they’re going to vanish. They might be good if they were half the cost.

A bit an aside here, both your Troops units are pretty underwhelming. I wish they were either much cheaper or had some kind of Respawn rule like Militia do. Currently, Demons monster mash is very good, but Demons wave assault is distinctly underwhelming.

Fast Attack

Demon Cavalry

12 inch move, so dead fast. WS4, S4, T4, I4 with 2 Attacks and 2 Wounds, with a 5+ Armour and Invulnerable Save. 150pts for 5 so 30pts a per model. Like the Lesser Demons they’ve got the normal Demon Weapons, which are only AP4 but go to AP3 on a 6+.

The speed is good, but you pay a premium for it in points and they’re both squishy and extremely underwhelming in melee. If you want something fast, I would grab the tougher flying Beasts instead.

Demon Harriers

These have Immaterial Wings and the Lesser Demon profile and weapons, but with only 1 attack. They lose Line but get to fly.

150pts for ten. Eh. Acceptable but still expensive.

The main issue with the last five units was the fact that they say Demon Weapon on the profile. Maybe if they were AP3 on a 5+ not a 6+ they’d be recoverable, but right now any unit with Demon Weapon should just be ignored wherever possible.

Heavy Support

A slight return to form, perhaps?

Great Ruinstorm Beast

A big Demon with WS4, S5, T5, I3, with 4 Attacks and 5 Wounds, with a 4+ Armour Save and a 5+ Invuln, plus Hammer of Wrath (3). Back with Infernal Armaments again. That sounds solid, but they’re 150 points (extra ones cost 125 points).

They are pretty tanky and a good distraction carnifex, but with only 4 attacks they do as much as much damage as a single Demon Brute (at I3 not I5) and cost as much as three and a half of them. 5 Wounds is nice, but you’re better off just bringing Demon Brutes.

Ruinstorm Demon Behemoth

It’s a monster mash model with a Demon Sovereign-esque profile and access to the Brutal (3) Sunder Behemoth Blade the Arch-Demon gets, but they attack at I3 and WS4. 400pts after upgrades; the same cost as a Sovereign, but with massive downsides. Maybe there is a place for this if you run out of HQ slots, but right now they’re just inferior to the Sovereign.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Lord of War

I have said Ruinstorm Arch-Demon a lot in this article and this 600pt model is going to ruin the days of a lot of Astartes.

Ruinstorm Arch-Demon

“Rare is the storm that can wake such ancient and terrible incarnations of the Warp as these” and 600 pts is a hell of a price tag for the single most lethal non-unique unit in the Horus Heresy. If you are an event organiser thinking about allowing Demons in your event which has no Primarchs in it, you should consider restricting this unit as well.

WS7, S8 T8, I6, with 6 Attacks and 8 Wounds. 2+ Armour Save after Warp Forged Flesh, 4+ Invulnerable, It Will Not Die (5+). 14” move after wings. Eternal Warrior. Hammer of Wrath (D3). The Behemoth Blade is Brutal (3), Sunder, AP1 on a 6+ to wound.

This guy wipes out a Leviathan before it swings. With Miasma of Rage for 8 attacks on a disordered multicharge he can kill a talon of two Contemptors. At WS7 and I6 and Brutal (3) he can take a good chunk of the Primarchs, and they don’t have wings and can’t be catapulted out a Demon Harbinger with a 31” threat range.

The only thing that clears this unit is lots of Brutal. A Contemptor hits this guy on a 5+ and wounds on a 4 on Turn 1 and 2. Lascannons will do an alright job (roughly 32 lascannon hits to bring them down on T1 or T2 before potential It Will Not Die or Putrid Corruption), but because of Harbinger Shenanigans, they’re going to be locked in melee a lot of the time.

They’re also not a character, so can’t be challenged and tied up by Chosen Warrior. The only blessing is that their stats can’t be modified by Psychic Powers due to Gargantuan, so you’re safe from Biomancy or Diabolism pushing these maniacs to S10/T10.

Take one in your list, throw them at a Death Star and let the galaxy burn. I’ve ran one in three games, and Drustos Vol, The Eyeless One, has only died once, and it took Pertuarbo, five Iron Circle and four Contemptors to bring the big man down without any friendly support in a megagame, with not a single Contemptor standing afterwards.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Unique Characters

We have rules for Ka’Bandha, Corax Utterblight and Samus. Gonna blast through em:

Ka’Banda is an Arch-Demon equivalent with a load of fun rules about messing with Sanguinius, some insane Hellstorm anger template nonsense, gives Rage 3 to all Heedless Slaughter Demons within 12” and S12 melee but no Brutal on his weapons.

Corax Utterblight is a Sovereign equivalent. He explodes when killed, lets friendly Putrid Corruption Demons within 3” re-roll their special damage mitigation, is Murderous Strikes 4+ in melee (no Brutal) and is a Biomancer. He also comes with 9 Wounds at T8, but only has a 4+ Armour Save for some reason

Samus is a Sovereign equivalent. He messes with opponent’s reserves and Psykers, and increases his allies Fear (1) to Fear (2) within an 18” bubble. Only 4 attacks in melee, but I7 with Armourbane and Murderous Strike (5+).

All three of these guys are fun and semi-viable, but come with some sidegrades to the normal Sovereign or Arch-Demon. You’re normally better off running an Arch-Demon (especially since Corax and Samus are really Sovereigns) but there is a place for them on the table. This is how special characters should be in Heresy and I love them.

Putting it All Together

  • Monster Mash Good: Arch-Demons and Sovereigns are very good and very fun. Flying dreadnoughts on steroids and with psychic powers.
  • Lesser Demon Spam Bad: Any unit with a Daemon Armament is pretty bad. They need more AP or to be cheaper.
  • Demon Brutes Good: Demon Brutes are the other stand out unit in the army list. Good thing I built 12 of them when the Bound Demons came out summer before last.
  • Demon Harbingers Jank: Apart from the vague concept of Custodes, this is the largest jank vein I have ever seen in Heresy. When I realised that you could daisy chain the Harbingers I nearly fell into a canal. It won’t get FAQed since it’s in a Legends-esque ‘optional’ non-competitive ruleset.
  • There Are Meat on These Bones: On an initial readthrough, I suspected this list was Militia-esque* trash. It is not. Monster Mash is very strong and I think it genuinely eats both March of Ancients and Custodes alive, the bogeymen of the current Heresy “meta”, should you believe a “meta” to exist.

*I say this as a devoted militia player

Sample Lists

Below are two sample lists, as a treat. The first is a little “allies” detachment to put on top of a normal list, clocking in at just over 500 points:

Ruinstorm Demons Detachment, 520 points

Aetheric Domain: Encroaching Ruin 

Centurion Esotericist (Force Axe) 95pt

Rhino 35pt

Bound Demon Brutes (Enroaching Ruin, 6 Man) 255pt

Bound Demon Brutes (Enroaching Ruin, 3 Man) 135pt  

Total: 520pts

Your Centurion starts in a Rhino, which drives forward 7″ so the Librarian can dismount 1″ plus half movement of 4″, then summon the Demons up to 12″ away (at least 3″ away from enemy models). It then only scatters if you fail a Ld9 Psychic Check, then the unit moves 8″ then charges 2D6″. Casual 31″ plus charge range Breach The Veil catapult to eat some important unit with a 3+ armour save.

I’ve taken Enroaching Ruin as the Dominion for Move Through Cover to make sure you punch at full Initiative and don’t get slowed by cover.

We’ve grabbed a second unit of 3 Demons to pull the same trick again next turn if the Centurion doesn’t die to snipers or get locked in combat. You could take 6 Demons instead, but I wanted to be risk averse and 500pts and 9 models plus a Librarian and a Rhino you likely already own felt like a nice break point for a fun conversion/painting project.

Now for the big boy 3k list, taking full advantage of Harbinger Monster Mash nonsense:

Ruinstorm Demons Army, 3000 points

Aetheric Domain: Putrid Corruption 

Demon Sovereign: Ætheric conduit (Biomancy). Immaterial Wings, Warp Forged Flesh. Warlord: Walker of Paths

Demon Harbinger: Aetheric conduit (Telepathy), Attendants x3. 285pts

Demon Harbinger: Aetheric conduit (Telepathy), Attendants x3. 285pts


Demon Brutes (6 Man) 255

Demon Brutes (6 Man) 255


Lesser Demons (20 Man) 220

Lesser Demons (10 Man) 120

Lesser Demons (10 Man) 120

Heavy Support:

Demon Behemoth (Warp Forged Flesh, Immaterial Wings, Behemoth Blade) 430

Lord of War:

Ruinstorm Arch-Demon (Immaterial Wings, Warp Forged Flesh, Miasma of Rage) 590

We’re starting with a pair of Harbingers and a trio of big Demons, one each of Behemoth, Arch-Demon and Sovereign as our Warlord with Walker of Paths for re-deploy nonsense. One Harbinger begins in reserve, ready to either be redeployed onto the battlefield or kept in reserve for a Harbinger daisy chain. The Arch-Demon begins in reserve also, and we either Harbinger it out turn 1 or put it on the board ready for a turn 1 charge, and bring the Sovereign back into reserve in for more Harbinger nonsense. We can also Herald of Unreality an extra unit due to the second Harbinger, perhaps the Behemoth. We have lots of pre-game options here.

I’ve taken Putrid Corruption here. With this much winged stuff and reserve nonsense, not being able to run isn’t too big a hit, and a 5+ damage mitigation really helps.

For extra nonsense, both Harbingers have Telepathy, which I plan to use to turn off reactions in the Assault Phase, so not only can the summoned Demons not be reacted to when they arrive, but they also can’t be Overwatched thanks to Telepathic Fugue. Once your Demons are out you can start Pinning things with Telepathic Hallucinations.

Filling out the rest of the list, each Harbinger comes with 3 Brutes, and we have 12 more in Elites. I ignored my own advice and took a big unit of Lesser Demons for the midfield, plus 2 more for the backfield. If I wanted to run at 2.5k, I’d drop the Behemoth and move the 20 man Lesser Demons down to a 10 man squad.

I am confident that this list is absolutely lethal. It has good matchups into Dreads and Custodes, but does poorly into horde armies or lots of tanks. Let me know if you get a chance to deploy something like this in one of your games.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Round Up

Thanks for joining us on this enormous article about Ruinstorm Demons. At first glance, I thought this list was a write-off, but it isn’t. I genuinely think this has a chance to explode the game wide open, and I love to see it. Lemme know your thoughts below.

As the Heresy event organiser at the June Goonhammer Open, we’re going to allow armies to ally Demons in and vice-versa. We’ll see if it’s a good idea. We’ll come back and update this article if that turns out to be a mistake. If you’re coming to see us in Leicester in June, consider the gauntlet thrown.