Hey everyone, Reecius, from Frontline Gaming, here again to discuss tactical choices in the Heavy Support Slots for Chaos.
So. Let’s be clear. This is a tactics article geared towards making efficient list building choices that help you to win games of 40K. If playing to win offends you, or you think any BoLS article that isn’t a How To on LARPing the Horus Heresy is horrifying, you may want to pass on this one! That said, I know some of the commenters here at BoLS love having an article to poo poo on over their morning cup of hatorade as a part of their daily routine, so we now both play our parts.
Chaos has some great choices in Heavy Support. I honestly feel spoiled for choice as I do with the book in general. I really feel that this is a great book that will provide a TON of lists and permutations of lists that will reveal themselves to us over the entire edition, which is awesome. I don’t think this will be a “one list to rule them all” book as we saw with the previous Chaos Dex. I was fortunate enough to learn one of Phil’s processes when writing a Codex (as related to me by a friend that spoke to him about it), and he said that he comes up with a number of lists he thought would be fun to play (and it is a lot of different types of lists), and then building a Codex around that. I think that is a quite clever idea, and it is fun to try and figure out the lists he had envisioned.
The troops still have my guessing a bit (and I am really disappointed that CSM’s aren’t better, but that is my only real complaint of the dex, to be honest) but with more and more practice games, we’re getting it worked out. All praise the Kelly for fixing the issue with Zombies only coming in 10 man units. Brains!! Besides being flat out cool, Zombie Hordes make great, cheap scoring units.
The choice that a lot of folks gravitated towards immediately in Heavy Support was Havocs. Why? Dirt cheap firepower. Long Fangs are still one of the most efficient units on the table top and Havocs give a lot of the same at a comparably cheap price point, but without the bells and whistles of the venerated Fangs. However, for 115pts, you get a 5 man unit with 4 Auto Cannons. Win.
A lot of folks have been excited about Flakk Missiles, but they really aren’t that hot, in my opinion. At 25pts per weapon, and not having interceptor, they are expensive and any Flyer coming on the board is going to target them first before they can fire. Auto Cannons are actually very close in AA capability on a point for point comparison, and as good or better against everything else. They also have the benefit of being able to hide when facing Flyer nation, and then move out of cover and shoot as they will be snap firing anyway.
Las Cannon Havocs are a solid choice, too, and we will be seeing quite a few of these units I imagine. The other nice benefit of Havocs is that they go with an Aegis Line and Quad Gun like steak and fries! Sarge mans the Gun, the boys line up behind that Aegis Line and unleash hell, or the warp as the case may be.
Lastly, as pointed out to me by a reader of ours over at Frontline (thanks Nick Wenker) the Veterans of the Long War is a really solid upgrade. For 5pts, you halve the odds of failing a break test (from 1/6 to 1/12). Considering these guys will attract a lot of attention and that they are often close to the table edge, you really don’t want to have these guys run for the hills on a crappy roll.
Obliterators are the other stand-out in heavy support that grabbed my attention immediately. Oblits are the business, and now that they have Assault Cannons, they’re even better. Mark of Nurgle is the clear winner in my eyes, as it makes them proof against Instant Death from most weapons, and gives you a big boost against small arms fire. They have leadership issues (which is very interesting, I think we will see Daemons in the new Daemon codex losing Fearless and Eternal Warrior based off of the new rules, which somewhat explains the dramatic points drops in Flamers) but they are very flexible, being able to deep-strike and fight reasonably well in HtH. While not as points efficient on a per shot basis as the Havocs, their mobility, flexibility and increased durability makes them a really solid choice, in my opinion. Too Oblit to quit! Yeah, I went there. Cheesy jokes all over the place, today!
The poor Defiler. I love Defilers but they really got the Carnifex treatment this edition. If you play against loads of strength 6, you’ll love them. Las Cannons, not so much. So far in our test games the Defiler has been a massive points sink You pay a lot of points for durability against mid strength, AP 3+ weapons when any player with a brain in his head will shoot it only with weapons that will one shot the Defiler. I don’t think it is awful by any means, just as I don’t think the Carnifex is awful, it just struggles in comparison to other choices in Heavy Support. It straddles the line between Maulerfiend and Forgefiend, but doesn’t do either job as well and costs a lot. At least it can take a Dirge Caster!
Speaking of the Fiends, the Maulerfiend is a big winner, chicken dinner for me: fast, cheap, hits hard and a cool model. Imitative 3 is a bummer as with the Defiler, but unlike his Crabby Cousin, the Maulerfiend can take lasher tendrils which really up its odds of surviving to swing against swifter foes, particularly other Dreads or Monstrous Creatures. For the speed and cost, this is a solid unit that I think will see a lot of play time. Too bad he can’t take a Dirge Caster, but oh well.
The Forgefiend is not bad. I am not sold on it over Havocs which do the same thing cheaper, at longer range and without the odds of being one-shotted like the Fiend. Ectoplasma cannons only being 24” is another drawback in my eyes, plus the model is ugly as sin to me, so I won’t be using it. However, I can see the Hades Autocannon version getting playtime for its volume of strength 8 attacks.
The poor Chaos Land Raider still struggles. If only we got a Crusader style Land Raider chassis, it would make a HUGE difference with a lot of the assault units available to Chaos. But, we get the old school Raider. As a straight gun ship, it really isn’t bad. Set it in a good firing position (behind an Aegis works very well) and let rip with the 2 twin las cannons. AV14 is in a renaissance these days and the fact that a glance doesn’t stop you from shooting really helps these bad boys to give you resilient firepower. Again, compared to Havocs they aren’t as efficient, but they are tough nuts to crack.
As an assault boat, it works really well. Mine have never failed to deliver my assault units where I want them in our test games so far. It then almost always dies to a melta weapon or Monstrous Creature/Dreadnaught. For the points, I’d rather have a big unit of Assaulters running up the board on foot. Hopefully we’ll get a White Dwarf update with a new Chaos Land Raider variant in the future!
The Vindie and Predator are nothing new, so I won’t go too far into it. A Vindie is a solid choice for the Strength 10, AP2 blast, particularly now that blasts are so much better. And the Pred is a solid offensive tank, but suffers the same drawbacks as any vehicle: one shot, on kill. Again though, park it behind an Aegis and let er rip. While it can be one shotted, it is also immune to small arms (at least from the front) so it does have a place in a list, plus it’s cheap as chips.
I hope that helps some of you to make solid choices for the heavy support slots in your list! What I am using? Most likely 2 units of 5 Havocs with 4 Auto Cannons, and a unit of 3 MoN Oblits with an Aegis and Quad Gun. I may drop one unit of Havocs for a Maulerfiend, but time will tell. I like the Vindie, but I have 3 in my Marine army and I like using the Chaos specific units for variety. I like having a large variety of units because I like the flexibility and I think it is more fun to play, but those cheap Havocs are just tough to resist.