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October 22, 2012

Goatboy's 40k - CSM - Friends with Benefits?

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Goatboy here again and I want to talk about something mean I found while building lists. Chaos Space Marines with Daemon allies.


There is a pretty nasty combo I've been thinking about. In fact - I was waiting for the FAQ to come out to see if this would get changed and it looks like it hasn't yet.  So this got me to thinking, building, and designing a combo list that could be good.  We had a big backlash the last time this list was talked about and with the new updated CSM book it has come back and gotten a lot more streamlined and better.

So the question is - is it too good?  Is it broken?  Does it push the game into the territory similar to the end of 5th and some of the flyer nonsense we see in 6th?  Is it unbeatable?

So with that in mind let's look at the initial steps of the combo.

Epidemius - the initial step of the combo is trying to activate his tally quickly.  Once activated he grants all the followers of Nurgle abilities that can add up to being rather deadly to troops.  It doesn't help against vehicles but it sure helps these guys put a pile of gross pain on models that decided to get their boots on the ground.

For the players that don't know - the tally activates as your models with the Mark of Nurgle kill other models.  This Tally adds up and at the beginning of one of your friendly turns they get abilities based on the number.  This only gets checked at the beginning of the turn and Epidemius has to be on the table for this to work.

Here is the Tally

1-4 - Nothing - Papa Nurgle is not pleased and would like you to rub his footsies.
5-9 - Plagueswords now wound on a 3+. You don't want to know what it takes to make a plague sword.
10-14 - All followers of Nurgle have Noxious Touch. We call it the kissing disease.
15-19 - If you have FNP you now can roll on a 3+. We call this the super FNP.
20+ - All attacks from the follower of Nurgle ignore armor saves! Yes they put an exclamation point in the rules.  Fancy!

Now let's consult the latest Games Workshop FAQ:

Q. When The Tally of Pestilence reaches 20+ casualties the rules say that ‘All attacks from followers of Nurgle ignore armour saves’. Was this intended to affect both ranged and close combat attacks by the followers of Nurgle, as the text seems to indicate? (p52)
A. Yes, that is indeed the case. Both ranged and close combat attacks.


GW has added in the FAQ these attacks include any shooting attacks.  You can see where I am going with this right?  The new CSM book has given a lot more options for units to get the 3 dotted mark and help create this option.  Of course this is all well and good but the question is - how do I make sure to get this without having to have an opponent with lots of units that are not locked in vehicles.  Well this is how the magic happens.

Look at Typhus in the new CSM book.  Besides creating 2 new troop options for your CSM army he also has a nifty little ability called the Destroyer Hive.  This is a once per game ability that has Typhus activate a Large Blast template over himself that causes everyone who is touched by this template (Touched by the bad Touch) to take a Str 4 Ap2 hit that doesn't all cover saves.  You can only do this during an assault turn but it is kind of murky if he has to be able to attack to do it.  It says instead of attacking, but it also says during any assault turn.  It is an odd wording and really - it depends on what TO's will say to it and maybe a GW FAQ.  I have a feeling it will only work instead of him actually attacking - so he has to be in assault etc. 

So basically you would wrap Typhus in Cultists, turn on the bugs, and watch as you bring the Tally up.  Of course if people Rule you have to be in assault you can still get the tally going as needed - you just need to work on it a bit more.

But let's think of it working where you can just turn it on turn one.

Here is the army list thoughts.  It is a big one because the new CSM book allows for an army that can be a lot of single choices with very little need to duplicate the choice (Cultists will be one of the few duplicated options).

CSM with Demon Allies

HQ: Typhus - 230pts
HQ: Chaos Lord, Bike, MoN, Power Weapon, Sigil of Corruption, Burning Brand of Skalathrax, Veteran of the Long War - 175pts
Troops: Cultists X 25 - 110pts - the Sacrifice
Troops: Cultists X 30 - 130pts - Zombies hooray FAQ! - bubble wrap cover unit.
Troops: Cultists X 30, Autogun X 30, MoN - 220pts - Killers
FA: Chaos Spawn X 5, MoN - 180pts - they hold up a bad unit - ie Dreadnoughts etc. and they are fast.
FA: Chaos Bikers X 10, MoN, Veterans of the Long War- 280pts
Heavy: Obliterators X 3, MoN -  228pts - Helps get the tally if needed - shoots guns - Etc.
Heavy: Havocs X 7, Autocannons X 4, MoN - 162pts - No armor save Autocannons! Eat that GK!

Fortification - Sky Shield - 75pts - Auto landing on it - then getting a 4+ inv save.  I will take that deal.

Ally
HQ: Epidemius - 110pts
Troops: Plague Bearers X 7 - 105pts

If for whatever reason it is determined you can only do the power when you are in an assault - then go ahead and change the Sacrifice to Zombies.  There is enough beef in here that it should still work without Epidemius on the table top.  If you want you can drop the Sky Shield as well - but I would probably advise against it.  It helps make sure you don't land into a pile of Zombies as you cover the table in models.  The Burning Brand will get very fun when you start to ignore all armor saves and wound on a 2+.

Epidemius comes down first turn because he joins the PlagueBearers and creates one unit - thus you never get a two wave drop.

So the question is - how do you fight against it?  Well like I said earlier this list has a major issue with Armor.  A Blood Taloned Dreadnought will blow up each of those cultists units in one round of combat.  You also only have 3 Effective answers to a LR.  You could look at a way to add in 2 Meltas on the bike but it is an uphill battle for a smart player to just ignore your army and go for the win.  The army is a bit slow with only two fast units that will come out to hurt you.  Kill those guys and you can grind the game down and win.  Flyers will also be a problem as I didn't add a Dragon due to the lack of a MoN option. I wanted to try and not duplicate exact options in hopes to create a unique list that looks nutty on paper but will work well when all the gears get in place.

That is the best thing about this new CSM book.  It really emphasizes the idea that you don't need to duplicate options. You can get larger units that will hopefully survive a turn of shooting at them.  You have decent options in all Force Org slots and you can easily tailor a list to fit whatever play style you want.  This really gives me high hopes for later codexes that will come out in the future.

So what do you think about this combo?  Can I blast the Destroyer Hive without being in combat?  Do I have to work to get that tally up using some fast options to get involved in the opponents army?  Does this smell bad to you? Remember I am asking this because I want an answer before I even attempt to play this army against Darkwynn and friends.  We got lucky with the quick answer to Zombiegate and I want to see if the intention of the rule was just as a way for Typhus to say F this combat.
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