40K: Sing Me That Sweet, Sweet Music of the Apocalypse

Or Why Noise Marines are the best unit in the Chaos Codex.

Noise Marines. Anyone who’s watched us play on our Twitch channel knows I am in love with them. This is a deep and abiding love. A love born of the joy I take in filling peoples ears with horrible, horrible music. The joy I take is creating a constant cacophony of sound. This joy grew into love based on the amazingly bonkers fluff for the Noise Marines. And it’s a love that burst into full passion based on the amazing rules the Noise Marines get in 8th Edition. Based on these powerful rules, I feel confident in saying that Noise Marines are the single best unit in the Chaos Codex, lets take a look at why.


Noise Marines are cheap – a basic Noise Marine with the default equipment is a bargain at 15 points. This makes them the cheapest of the cult troops, with Berserkers costing 16 points, Plague Marines costing 19 and Rubric Marines at 20 points. It’s only 2 points more than a basic Chaos Marine. Even with their signature Sonic Blaster they are only 19 points. Meanwhile, their Blast master is a measly 20 points, less than the 25 an inferior missile launcher costs. These low points make them steal for what they bring to the table.

Multi Use Unit

Noise Marines are a great unit in just about any role. While they may most famous for their ranged firepower, they are also a great assault unit. In assault they function similarly to regular Chaos Marines. However, their extra base attack really gives them some extra punch. Outfit the squad with chain-swords, and their ability, if part of an Emperor’s Children Army, to always attack first and you’ve got a potent close combat unit. For only about 20 more pts this unit will chew through a squad of loyalist or traitor marines. Add to that their ability to attack after death and the unit is a real threat in the fight phase.

Blow, Gabriel, Blow

Of course the real power of the Noise Marines is their ability to blow the enemy away in the shooting phase. While standard equipment works fine for a cheap unit of powerful troops, the unit really shines when kitted out with their signature noise weapons. Let’s take a look at the apocalyptic power they bring to the field.

The Sonic Blaster is an amazing weapon. Effectively an assault 3 bolter that also ignores cover, it allows the NMs a crazy amount of mid ranged firepower, while staying mobile and ignoring the enemy’s carefully chosen positions. The Blastmaster is one of the best heavy weapons in the game, effectually a souped up Missile Launcher with the power to shred both infantry and vehicles, and with both heavy and assault firing versions the unit can always keep moving. Lastly, who doesn’t love the doom siren? A better version of the flamer that doesn’t even replace your Sonic Blaster, so you can fire both? Amazing!

All this combines to allow a standard 10 man unit to put out between 26 -42 shots each time they fire. All of these ignore cover and about half have some AP value. With the use of the Endless Cacophony stratagem the unit can even fire twice. And don’t forget if you even get to the enemy they still are pretty good in close combat, this is no Astra Militarum Heavy Weapon Squad.

Music of the Apocalypse

Of course the single most amazing ability the Noise Marines have is Music of the Apocalypse. This ability allows your models to make return shots after they have been killed, even in close combat! One of the weakness of any unit, especially an expensive one, is that it will get destroyed without being able to do anything. This will never be the case with your Noise Marines, they will always get to make some attacks. This ability is simply bananas as it works in any phase and always allows you to attack back. I’ve seen charging Noise Marines cut down by over-watch fire, only to kill their target anyway. I’ve seen Noise Marines blasted apart by smite, only to kill an enemy unit before it can shoot their friends. There is no time this ability is not useful. It makes killing the marines almost as deadly as letting them live.

Add to this that GW has ruled that shooting attacks made in the fight phase benefit from Death to the False Emperor and you really have some madness.  For instance a slain Noise Marine might throw a frag grenade and then has the possibility of generating up to 6 extra attacks, which with an Icon of Excess are generated on 5+, thus allowing a single model to make 12 attacks after dying. Awesome!

The Best That No One Ever Was

So there you have it. For these simple reasons, and for their amazing fluff and musical opportunities I rank Nosie Marines as the best unit in the Codex. Their ability to effect the game in multiply ways while remaining cost-effective is unmatched. Their special ability is one of the best in the game, and the potential for combos in unmatched.  Simply put: they are true masters of their art and the battlefield.

What do you think of Noise Marines? What unit do you think is best in the new Codex? Let us know down in the comments! 

  • lunahula .

    I think we need basic chaos space marine miniatures and new noise marine miniatures. Then again, you would have to add it to the long list of of stuff we really desperately want but probably wont get soon enough.

  • Bootneck

    FW Emperors Children Legion Kakophoni models are pretty sweet, a couple of chaos part swaps and you have got truly excellent Noise marines.

  • Rafał Pytlak

    Slaanesh! Witness meeeeeee!


    Yeah I do love them, they are pretty much the most versatile of the cult units for CSM. But I do have to concede they need new models they are still pretty good all things considered but their getting more dated with each passing year.

    I did love them in the traiters book and love them more in 8th, I am just bideing my time until they finally come out with an Emperors Children codex.

  • benn grimm

    Always nice to see people remember how much they always loved a unit the mostest when it gets new rules/becomes points efficient…

    • 6Cobra

      I’ve been playing Noise Marines in a mono-Slaanesh army for 20+ years, through thick and thin. I’m actually a little upset at the prospect that they could get a rep as the “best”, become the netlist auto-include choice du jure for WAAC players, and then I’ll get to suffer the sneering judgment of guys like you who’ll assume I’m a bandwagon jumper.

      • benn grimm

        Don’t be paranoid. You like em, continue using them, you know as well as I do (having been in the hobby a similar amount of time) the difference between bandwagoning and enjoying your (however brief) time in the sun. Let those sonic blasters wail, don’t get so hung up on the nonsense.

  • I_am_Alpharius

    Frankly, Death to the False only really makes them dangerous again Imperial units. Even then it’s only a 1/6 or 1/3 (with Icon) chance of actually triggering. I’d say it’s six of one half a dozen of any other to whether they are the “best unit” in Codex:CSM. Is a 5 man unit going to cut it and do the damage? Probably not. So you’re looking a 10 marine unit; which, then becomes a bit more a points sink.

    • DoctorBored

      The trick is ranking it against units of similar point cost. Take a Havoc squad with Missile Launchers and throw it up against a Noise Marine squad with Blastmasters, see which one does more damage, all things being equal.

      • I_am_Alpharius

        Reckon the Havoc Squad will win out more often that not with their longer range.

        • DoctorBored

          Might, but how will they fare in close combat? How will they do if they have to move towards an objective? Are their weapon options really comparable to the varied firing modes of sonic blasters and blastmasters?

          In all of those other ways, Havocs lose out, which makes Noise Marines the better choice.

          • I_am_Alpharius

            In the case of Havocs vs Noise Marines its an apple and oranges; the battle role of Havocs is not primarily to move and hold objectives (except, perhaps, if that objective is in your deployment zone). Havos will still have good odds at nailing the Noise Marines and simply blowing them off an objective. Don’t get me wrong Noise Marines are good, but the “Best”? I don’t think so.

          • DoctorBored

            To each his own, but to serve a point, if Havocs and Noise Marines have a similar cost, but one is only effective at one battlefield role while the other can be Troops in the right army and can fullfill many roles for the same cost, why wouldn’t you take one over the other?

            Perform this same comparison over many different units of different point costs and you start to see a pattern. Noise Marines win out over quite a few other things in the Codex because of their flexibility and raw shooting power.

          • I_am_Alpharius

            “other can be Troops in the right army”

            Indeed, ; but now you’re wondering into the realm of them only being the best in one army – Emperors Children; which of course make sense. Any other CSM army and then they revert to being just another unit.

  • But hey, GW is ONLY going to sell their newest models. Its a PAY TO WIN strategy that punishes people who have been playing forever. This 3rd edition kit that is close to 15+ years old that makes one of the most powerful units in the codex is obviously a money grab to make people buy new units

    • defensive

      Well, they are the most expensive out of all the Chaos troop options…

  • DoctorBored

    Now if only they had some updated plastic models.

  • Ryan Freivalds

    Chaos’s FAQ, just released, keeps them in the Troop role as they were in the index. Fantastic.