Hey guys,lets take a look at the Chaos Space Marines in detail. Oh, and Death to the False Emperor!
Basically, I go into detail about what I feel are the competitive choices in each of our force organization slots, and my recommendations on the best builds for each unit. Today we start with the HQs – Lets go over each generic HQ choice, and then some example builds that I find to be competitive.
CSM Generic HQs
Chaos Lord – Very cheap, very killy. A fully kitted out one will usually run you well under 200 points, which is lovely. They can take crazy wargear options, and there are currently several viable builds you could use. Think about where you want to put him, what you want him to kill, and what unit you want him to run with, in any order. Has a decent shooting option in the form of the Burning Brand (it makes Space Marines cry). He has access to similar weapon options as a Loyalist Captain, but he also can take Daemon Weapons; whilst I wouldn’t usually put the Black Mace on a Chaos Lord, the Axe of Blind Fury is fantastic and will make him a monster against other equivalent HQs. Basically, you can customize him to deal with anything you want, and he will do it cheaply. Very good choice overall.
Sorcerer – I have to keep resisting the urge to call them Sorcerer Lords. Brought in line with Loyalist Librarians, Sorcerers are in my opinion the best HQ choice we have right now. One with a 3+ 4++ and Mastery Level 2 is ridiculously cheap and has access to a very nasty primaris power from the Telepathy discipline – Psychic Shriek. Biomancy is a great psychic discipline, and Pyromancy has never failed me either. If you are using him in this role though, just stick him in with a Chaos Marine squad in a Rhino. Sorcerer’s aren’t what I would call a defensive or support psyker – pretty much all of his powers are geared to offense. Even a basic Sorcerer Lord with Psychic Shriek will be hard pressed not to make his points back in an aggressive army – just remember to keep the Sorcerer protected, he will fall quickly to other combat-centric characters. Excellent choice overall.
Dark Apostle – I’ve noticed some people don’t see this guy as very viable and don’t like his pricey basic cost. Weaker stat-line than a Chaos Lord, more expensive, etc. However, he comes with a power maul, a +4 invulnerable save, and some very interesting abilities base. I see this guy as useful in two particular ways – as he has the Zealot rule, he grants himself and any unit he joins both Fearless and Hatred. Remember how you have to pay about 50+ points for that on a 10-man squad?
Well, for about double the cost, they are getting to use his LD10, have Hatred Everything as opposed to just Loyalists, and you get a two-wound power-maul wielding sucker that makes everyone near him LD10. In that sense, he’s like an upgrade character for a unit – the only sad truth is that he is a HQ and not something like a 1-3 choice in the Elites section. He also lets any character (including himself) in the same unit re-roll their Chaos Boon rolls, which can be very handy – especially if it is to avoid turning into a Spawn/Daemon Prince at the wrong time. I think he’s priced decently for what he does, but it depends on what unit you want him to go with. Just remember, he makes Cultists quite nasty if you don’t go the Typhus route. Good choice, but only if you make use of his abilities – don’t think of him in the same way as you would a Chaos Lord.
One other complaint I’ve seen about the Dark Apostle is his option to take Veterans of the Long War for free – as it provides no benefit to him, it is argued that it should either be included already or not there at all. My response is that the upgrade is there purely for fluff purposes; Dark Apostles in the new codex come in many flavours, either as leaders of rebellious uprisings or as the ancient corrupted Chaplains of the Word Bearers. VotLW allows you to demonstrate what your Dark Apostle is – it seems pointless, but for players that are really keen on the background of their army, it is a good option to have.
Warpsmith – One of the few HQs I have yet to use, but I find him to be quite a decent choice. Like the Dark Apostle, his base cost is high compared to the Chaos Lord/Sorcerer, but he gets some great abilities to compensate. +2 armour base, 5 (count them) power axe attacks base, repair, etc. Having a meltagun, a flamer and the ability to repair vehicles on a 4+ is just the icing on this sweet cake. Don’t be afraid to stick him with a close combat unit or a shooty unit – his repair abilities also combine well with the Fiends, depending on which ones are used. Maulerfiends? Stick him in a Rhino and follow them. Forgefiends? Hang back with some Havocs or Obliterators and help out. Good choice overall.
Daemon Prince – I’ll be honest – I wouldn’t recommend the Daemon Prince. Whilst he is a crazy killing machine and, if kitted out appropriately, will make armies lacking S10 weaponry or lots of high strength firepower cry, he tends to be over-priced for what he does. Stay away from Grey Knights, Tau and Necrons. They will ruin your day in short order. However, despite all of that, he is the most powerful of your generic HQs by quite some margin – and he is a massive target because of it. Combined with the Black Mace, there is little the Daemon Prince cannot kill in a single game turn – provided you don’t roll badly for the daemon weapon, of course.. Also laugh as you auto-sweep I3 enemies and lower. Even I4 is reliant on the absolute luckiest of dice rolls to get away from you, and WS9 means you can laugh off krak-grenade wielding Space Marines. Make sure to identify any S10 or instant-death weapons in your opponents’ army, and stay away from them. Expensive choice, not typically considered to be efficient, but certain builds can be quite nasty if used right.
Example HQ Builds
Chaos Lord w/ mark of Tzeentch, terminator armour, chainfist, lightning claw, sigil of corruption – I’ve seen some variations of this, but I think a lot of people agree that this is one of the more frightening Chaos Lords to deal with. 2+ armour, 3+ invulnerable saves against anything. Chainfist for dealing with +2 armour/monstrous creatures/tanks, lightning claw for infantry/MEQ. Very cheap too. Works well in pretty much any role.
Chaos Lord w/ mark of Khorne, juggernaught of Khorne, axe of blind fury, sigil of corruption – Attach a unit of Chaos Spawn or Bikers and send him barreling into a suitable target. Keep away from Walkers. He will rip through all manner of targets; he has the number of attacks to deal with entire squads single-handedly, he can scythe through TEQs and MEQs alike with impunity, he can do damage to light vehicles, and the tasty +4 invulnerable save gives him a 50% chance of laughing off any S10 AP2-3 etc attacks. Fast and durable enough to make it through your opponent’s shooting phase, and deadly to a wide range of targets. Veterans of the Long War and Meltabombs are also useful, cheap upgrades, depending on what you expect to face. And the big cherry on top? This killing machine will cost you less than 200 points.
Daemon Prince (any kind) w/ the black mace, wings, power armour – I find the best way to run a flying Daemon Prince is to make him a Nurgle prince, whilst being Slow and Purposeful means you can’t sweeping advance enemies by making use of your extraordinarily high initiative, you get a permanent +5 cover save which increases to +3 in any kind of terrain. However, any of them are useful – just remember that a Daemon Prince with the Black Mace won’t find much benefit from Furious Charge. Anyway, this is a very expensive model (in the Abaddon price range) that can fall to a single S10 hit.
However, flying gives you serious mobility and durability against non-skyfire weaponry. All the juice that comes with being a flying monstrous creature is here, but the real meat of this unit is the Black Mace – this is okay normally, but in the hands of a model with Smash, it becomes terrifyingly powerful. At WS9, you will hit almost any enemy in the game on a +3, and against unlucky Loyalists, you do so with re-rolls on the first combat round. You then wound everything on a +2 resolved at AP2 and I8. Remembering that you have 5 attacks base, +D6 and other bonuses. Toughness tests galore, let us not forget! Just remember not to go anywhere near Tau with this guy.
Sorcerer w/ sigil of corruption, mastery level 2, meltabombs – My personal favourite build for a Sorcerer Lord so far. Cheap as chips for what he does. Give him Psychic Shriek, put him in a Rhino with a Chaos Marine squad with a meltagun or plasma gun, and you are set. The second psychic power you generate is basically a bonus – Pyromancy is risky as it is mostly witchfire powers (meaning you waste his mastery level), but Biomancy is very good for almost any situation.
Next time – the named characters… Have at it folks. What’s your favorite CSM Generic HQ and how do you equip them?