Goatboy here again and is this not a glorious month? Let’s look over the awesome and merely decent in the new CSM codex.
Has the return of Chaos brought you some enjoyment? Does the idea of mechanical Monsters bring you joy? Does the evil wrecking the grim dark of the 40k universe make you tremble in excitement? Well if it does then this new book, new set of rules from the campaign tome, and a whole slew of awesome models will bring you some much daemonic joy you are just overflowing with the bringers of doom. If you haven’t figured it out – I really like this book. I do not think it is insanely strong – but it feels like a Chaos book. Which is really all I can ask in a new release.
Let’s do a quick bit of Good, Bad, and what tha? for this release. There is still some bad because well – it is still based around Marines. But overall I think this is a nice win for 8th edition and shows me some design thoughts that might help bring 8th edition in line with what they feel armies should be. There are tricks, strong units, and a lot of choices in building an army. This is all I could want in a release, especially the army I like the most fluff/story/model wise. With that, let’s go with what is good.
CSMs – The Good
Will start with something that isn’t rules related. The new models are pretty dang amazing. The only one I am somewhat meh on is the Master of Execution – but that is more from my own opinions of using other models from AOS to make a Khorne Version of it. Each of the new kits are pretty amazing too. They look daemonic, powerful, and have a ton of flavor. Abaddon is the boss we always wanted him to be. He is huge, imposing, and per the Campaign book – kicked the crap out of Marneus’s butt. The new Chaos Space Marines – from the simpler Shadowspear set and the new multipart kit all look good. The new Havocs are tops and my favorite new model is that new Lord Discordant. Every model I want to buy and try to figure out a way to fit in an army. Great model release mixed with a strong book release means this is a home run bit of effort for GW.
Beyond the models I think the rules are pretty good too. The first new set of options I find interesting is the new Dark Apostle rules. At the start of a battle round the Dark Apostles and his hype men can bust a phat rhyme and bring about some sweet rules on a 3+. This all happens before the turn begins so even though you might not get the first turn – you can easily plan for the alpha strike with some well timed affirmations from the dark gods on how much of a bad a$$ your army is. Each one is pretty powerful with a few really shining and coming to the top. Yes we lost the auto rule of reroll to hit in close combat – but chaos doesn’t have a lot of issues getting reroll 1’s and plusses to hit to make it effectively a full reroll. The best ones are Benediction of Darkness (-1 to hit for a unit… seems good), Warp-sight Plea (+1 to hit with ranged weapons to a unit), Soultearer Portent (+1 to wound with close combat attacks to a unit), and Illusory Supplication (5+ inv save to all units within 6″). Those are all amazing and let you build some crazy combos if you get a nicely set up turn of say wounding a Knight on a 3+ with a set of Khorne Berzerkers. Or having your new sweet Havoc squad blow a ton of bullets into something, shoot again with a strat, and hit on a 2+. Seems pretty dang good. The 2 Disciples/Hype Men are pretty cool too as they are not Characters but can’t be targeted unless they are the closest. This means those pesky new Snipers can shoot these turds. Pretty dang sweet and take that Vindicare!
Next set of rules I think are pretty dang good is the new Lord Discordant. First of all I know he has 12 wounds and a degrading profile. This means he can be targeted by Mortars and other things – but he has a 2+ save so I am not too worried about that. He is fast, has a lot of wounds, and has a ton of ways to get healed up. He has the Warpsmith rule so with a Master of Possession nearby who has Sacrifice to cast – could target the Discordant, do a mortal wound, and then auto heal 3 wounds back to him. This gives him a net regrowth of 3 wounds a turn – which is pretty dang neat. There is a ton of neat interactions with him as he is a harder hitting Maulerfiend with a ton of Attacks, strong aura, an ok shooting gun (take autocannon as it keeps him cheap), and if you say mark him something specific he can get activated with some friendly daemonic characters nearby. This guy comes in with 12 attacks total which is pretty good. Most will kill basic models and a new relic from the Campaign book could make this a really mean large squad troop killer. The random Spirit Thief rule seems fun if you hit a unit of vehicles. I don’t think there are too many around but it is something interesting to think about.
Finally thing I think is really good is the new Havocs. We have all seen the new weapon will see everyone convert/change/etc for. The Reaper Chaincannon is one hot little weapon. I expect a lot of players to take the updated Heavy bolter, shove a cool chain gun on the tip of it, and call it a day. The ability to move and fire with the weapons is huge as this unit can easily poor out 32 shots that hit on a 2’s with bonuses to wound. Mix in the Mark of Slaanesh and you got a unit that can do all of this twice. Throw them in a Rhino to keep them protected for a turn and watch as they pop out and blow through whatever you are playing against.
The Master of Execution feels very odd in this book. He is designed to go after characters but has no real way to get there. His model is neat and as another Cheap HQ option he could be interesting – but Chaos has a ton of those with Aura abilities. I just don’t see the point in taking this guy say over an Exalted Champion or a Dark Apostle and friends. Plus I think there are some more interesting AOS models you could use with some kit bashing over this guy. He just feels odd in the book.
The Shadowspear stuff didn’t show up with any reworked point costs beyond a “mistake” or something I expect to be one. I am sure you have heard the Obliterators are the updated datasheet from Shadowspear but have the old point level. This could be 65 points of awesome if they stay that way. I don’t expect them too – but if they do then the Obliterators jump even higher in the good pile of Chaos stuff. The Greater Possessed are neat models that I wish were just a bit cheaper. I think they can do wonders in a Daemonkin army – but they feel like one of the first things you cut as you try to fit in more monsters. I didn’t expect a lot of the points to change as I felt the overall level from the last Chapter Approved seemed on point for the bad guys of the universe. Of course – if they were cheaper I would just be a happier Goatboy.
I also feel that the lack of Renegade armies new rules from Vigilus in the updated Codex was a bit of a mistake. I know they want you to buy Vigilus – but the thought was you could do fine with just the new Codex for most of the rules. It would have been nice to lock all the legion rules in one place – with Vigilus being updated rules specific for the Legion doing the attacking. I will talk more about Vigilus later on this week as a nice little bonus article. I have told some of my Chaos buddies that buying the new Chaos Dex with Vigilus will be come no matter what kind of flow chart you follow from GW. It has the updated points, updated information, and so many bits of fluff/art pages that it is hard to pass it up. Plus Chaos players love buying new things with evil art in it.
I was really hoping for an updated Khorne Berzerker kit. Beyond the Noise Marines (rumors point to new stuff so that could be ok) – the Khorne Zerkers are just a weak kit when you compare it to the rest of the army. It feels like a missed home run to bring in some of the AOS Khorne designs into 40k with cool baroque armor, awesome chain axes, and the brutality Khorne deserves. I get the feeling you could kit bash some out of the new Chaos Marines and adding some Forgeworld helmets. This would make for that Dynamic Khorne warrior you want. I made a ton of out of Blood Warriors and Chaos Backpacks. I really need to rework their weapons to make things match correctly but they still look neat.
I was really hoping we would see something for the Renegade Knights in this updated book. It would be easy to throw how the Marks add to them and maybe how they could interact. I know adding the Daemon Keyword would be too much – but it still makes we wish we had more flavor there. I don’t expect it to show up somewhere beyond some love in a Campaign. It looks like Baal is coming next which would indicate Khorne and the Blood Angels duking it out. Maybe will see some more Khorne love there – even though we got a ton of new Khorne nonsense.
Overall this book feels great. It has a ton cool rules, aura interactions, and updates to make it feel like a fairly new army. This is all I could ask for and with the Vigilus campaign book adding even more awesome bits to this – this feels like a whole new set of fun rules for the upcoming season of ITC. Too bad I can’t play these guys in the next event I am signed up for.
~Until next time – DEATH TO THE FALSE EMPEROR!