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Goatboy’s 40k: Keepin’ the CSM Dream Alive!

6 Minute Read
Jul 25 2016



Goatboy here again on another lovely Monday morning – it’s Chaos Marine update time!

I will be flying back after an adventure in the lands of Tennessee and the battles at the ATC (American Team Championships).  Hopefully will be coming back with some winnings, decent stories, and a great time.  I might go into the games I played there later after I had a few days to digest and bring myself back to normalcy.  This means I need  to come up with something else to chit chat about and today the talk is about the rumored Chaos Space Marine updates.


How Goatboy feels after playing 40K all weekend non-stop.


If you remember back about a year ago there was a White Dwarf rumor update coming for the “Bad” guys of the 40k universe.  Intermixed with the rumored “Greater Daemons” and a reworking of the book we had a small bit of info about the bad guys getting a set of “veteran” traits to help make the troops into something decent.  With chatter on having things like Infiltrate, stubborn, and maybe even fearless.


How to Not Fix CSMs

I know a lot of people think fixing the Chaos Space Marines mean making them not  get swept nearly as easily but I don’t think that is the right way to go. Think about all the stuff out there that is actually assaulting you and then try to imagine any troop choice stand toe to toe with that unit.  I don’t think there is a basic troop choice that can take getting smashed in by a Death Star, Knight coming in, and heck even a dreadnought.  Unless that choice is intermixed with a ton of IC’s and other buffs – there is really no hope for them to not get hit, punched a lot and then most likely killed or the very least run down.  Heck I can even say getting run down is better as it usually leaves that troop choice without the ability to use the most “broken” rule in the game – hit and run.  Still we all have in our heads the idea the sons of Chaos coming in, kicking a ton of butt, and being the ultimate baddie.


black legion armor

But This Might Work

Which leads me to think that the only way to make the Chaos Space Marine better is to really just make their role a lot better.  The reason they are not taken is that as a whole most troop choices are pretty terrible.  The only reason you see Tactical Marines on the table top is because they are forced to be chosen in most Marine armies that utilize formations.  Pretty much if it isn’t a formation that troop choice is most likely going to be Scouts or Bikers.  This has me thinking then that really – while unless Chaos get a formation that rivals the powers of the Demi Battle Company – the poor Chaos Space Marine will be left in the dust as no matter which one we take the troop choices in CSM just suck.

To make their role better we have to figure out what they can do.  I mentioned how Scouts are a decent troop choice for Space Marines as they do a lot of neat things.  The ability to infiltrate/outflank/scout move is huge as it allows you to adjust your game plan on the fly.  They also get an option for a combi weapon that can help out and you all of a sudden have a cheap troop choices that can set up in a bunch of different ways and help support the rest of your army.  This lets me think that definitely will see some kind of Infiltrate option as it is one of the better ways to help “fix” them by giving the CSM player options.

I think we could even drop the CSM to 2 points over a cultist and they still wouldn’t be nearly as good as just a bare bones set of Cultists to a lot of armies.  I think the right balance is to give them more rules to make the point cost worth it – whether its a locked in ability due to a “legion” choice or some other form of army wide rule to help make them better.  Heck I could see “Legion” formation that get a set of rules for free if you pick X amount of units.  The sky is the limit to figure out the best ways to represent Legions, create benefits for a crappy troop choice, and maybe let the Chaos Space Marines become viable.


Real “Veterans” of the Long War

Here is a list of rules that we could see appear as “veteran” upgrades.  I really hope they don’t cost too much, not some kind of icon garbage upgrade, or get shackled with bad “taxes”.

Infiltrate – I already talked about this – but being able to have a bunch of guys with decent armor, a decent gun, and a shifting set of deployment options would do wonders.
Drop Pod Assault – Give them Dread Claws dangit.
Furious Charge and Chain Axe Upgrades – the new Chainaxes from Horus Heresy sound like a great option and letting them take them for free might make for an interesting assault unit that hits pretty dang hard.
Stubborn – I think Stubborn should be a simple rule they could have to help guys stay around when needed.
Stealth/Shrouded – These guys strike from the shadows in a lot of books so why not give them that ability.
Apothecaries etc – FNP is strong but it would be a neat option to have for large squads of Chaos Space Marines.
Horus Heresy Weapon Options – there is a ton of neat weapons from the Heresy and it would be neat to see some things flow into the Chaos Space Marines. Cataphract armor is pretty dang neat and adding it to a Chaos Lord could make the Havoks, Noise Marines, etc work a heck of a lot better.
Charge After Run – This power has started to come back into armies and it makes no sense that Khorne guys can’t have access to it.
Tank Hunter – This is always a decent power especially with the return of Flyers, Knights showing up everywhere, and a ton of Free Rhinos to remove.
Hit and Run – is always a problem power but it could be nice to see a Legion with it.
Sniper Rounds – This could be really cool, make a decent set of power that isn’t just a Marine thing, and could really combo up with the whole idea of an infiltrating kill team force.
Soul Blaze/Warp Flame rounds – This is probably too good but the idea of forcing checks and lighting people on fire is a pretty interesting thing.
New Combo Units – Like Juggernaut riders and other things that people have converted and used for Counts As nonsense.

This is just a small list and I am sure there is a ton of stuff you could do.  They could “loot” marine options or have other stolen gear.  I really just don’t want them to be carbon copies of the marine abilities as the Legions should be different, good, and fun to play.  Personally infiltrate has a lot of mileage to myself as the shift to scout moves a after seize and the fact CSM have access to Melta/Plasma it might actually be good.  Or heck just make them so cheap that taking them makes sense.  Instead of Free Rhinos we just get a free 5 stack of CSM.

The hardest thing right now in 7th edition 40k is that in reality – troops are pretty worthless.  You only see the barest of troop taxes taken in a lot of lists and really the formation tax is what you see the most of.  This makes the old CSM just weaker as while as whole, their rules, abilities, and army slot isn’t completely terrible they are just not good when you have another, cheaper option.  I almost want to see a push back towards troops only being allowed to score or the fact that all troops, no matter how they are taken, are objective secured.  I sure hope Veteran rules don’t just sit on the sideline as the Cabal is still the only “Chaos Space Marine” unit taken.


~How would you fix the humble “Chaos Space Marines” Troop unit? 

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