I know not everyone plays in a tournament. Heck, the majority of our 40k and Fantasy readers here don’t even throw down at a local event. But if they did decide to play at one, what kind of army should they play? Right now, the army I feel, as having the best overall shot versus just about any opponent is Chaos Space Marines.
The basic trooper of the Chaos Space Marines can be fearless. Yes I know only the cult troops are fearless, but if you are not taking them then you are not taking what is one of the strong points of the codex. Fearless helps you ignore an annoying part of the game. We all like our armies to be heroic, and losing a leadership test makes you feel like you are a weak general. Ignoring that one factor of the game lets you have less of a chance to fail.
Masters of Equipment
Chaos’s troops basic load out of a bolter, bolt pistol, and CCW allows you to have 3 attacks apiece on the charge. This is huge, as your normal troopers are as good as most assault elements in any other army. You mix this with one of the best basic weapons in the game and you have something that can fulfill whatever role you need on the battlefield.
This is still not even going into the fact that they can have a large loadout of heavy weapons. The army is one of the few that can take a large amount of melta weapons. Melta is the new plasma of 5th edition, and if you can’t take them in numbers, your fight versus vehicles will be a tough one.
Chaos also has one of the better transport options in the game. Yes they don’t have something that can fly but they still have a basic option that has become one of the best workhorses of the game. The lowly Rhino is more then just a box to hide guys in; it has now become one of the most useful units in the game.
Great Choices all around
Every choice in the codex has some sort of merit, even if they do not have the greatest advantage. Each unit can give something to the army, even the lowly Raptor, Biker, or Possessed. It is one of the few armies that can be built in multiple ways and still have a chance to win. I might play a Death Guard list most of the time, but I have had luck with Slaanesh, Tzeentch, as well as Khorne builds. Even the crazy dreadnought is not a bad choice when it comes down to needing a mobile multi-melta.
All of these advantages make CSM a great choice in the upcoming tournament scene. What I want to do now is go through some of the matchups you might see when playing with our beloved Traitor Marines.
IG: The new IG have some crazy build outs. Luckily enough for every rough IG army coming, there are a ton of builds that just don’t have enough to put a hurt on your evil marines. Concentrate on a side and try to use your rhinos to keep your guys alive from the initial barrage of templates. Move forward with your rhinos and try to get at least 24 inches of movement out of them if you can. If you can get close you can slowly chew through their units.
Orks: Orks will get a beating from IG, needing to change out how they are built. You will probably see more big mek builds with fields protecting BW coming at you. This is a change from the normal Nob Bikerz and helps keep the psyker squads from doing a ton of damage and making your 750+ point squads run away. With Chaos, you want to bring the hurt to them. If you can charge them, you can put huge dents in any of their squads. You limit their strength as well as attacks which can help out. Watching a squad of bezerkers butcher through a 30 man mob is pretty hilarious and satisfying as a Chaos player.
Space Marines: The drop pod build is something interesting, as and I see an all pod army to be a weak choice versus other builds you commonly see. If you are playing against one with CSM, just concentrate on a side and use your mix of units to make a marine player have to choose what they can try to deal with. Your guys can assault better then most marines and you usually have just as many weapons to bring to deal with any LRC’s that are running around. TH/SS termies are still scary, but you can bait them around and try to pull them away from you.
Daemons: I don’t think this army is the greatest choice in the upcoming tournament scene, but it is still something you have to worry about. If they are playing Khorne daemons, move into cover and watch as you strike first before they get at you. With daemons remember that your dreadnoughts and defilers can assault just about any basic unit and they won’t be able to do anything to you. Also, the simple bolter is one of the greatest weapons versus any daemon horde you might be fighting.
Nids: Not the best army choice right now, but they can put a lot of hurt on some of the new armies out there. IG can get pinned a lot by the change out to barbed stranglers, so it isn’t a bad choice in the upcoming metagame. As a CSM player the best thing is to use your rhinos to move and take out different sides of their army. Your heavy weapons should give you an advantage and let you kill MC’s pretty quickly.
As you can see CSM have a lot of advantages that let them have a chance versus any army you might see. I know I didn’t go over all the army match ups, but as you can see that using the APC’s to move quickly and create different concentrations of fire is the strategy to use in 5th Edition 40k. Mixed that with an army full of distinct advantages as well as different roles lets CSM be my army of choice when I decided to play in a competitive tournament.
As usual, shoot me an email if you have any questions, want me to review army lists, or anything else. I answer them as fast as I can and I have a ton of random lists floating around in my head.
Now some pics, here are some converted lootas and a nurgle dp.