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  1. #1

    Default Chaos Space Marines Tactica

    Hey guys, I thought I would consolidate my Chaos Space Marines 'tactica' here. Hopefully it can be of some use to all aspiring lords of Chaos 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. Something I didn't do earlier was example builds - I did these for HQs initially, but I didn't do them for the other units. I'll phase those in and also update this as necessary. Also, if you want to skip the wall of a text, I have included brief summaries for each of the Force Organization slots located at the bottom of each section. I am also going to do another post at a later date evaluating all of the individual wargear options and what units they benefit most. Thanks!

    HQ - Here are my thoughts on each generic HQ choice, and then some example builds that I find to be competitive.

    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.

    Now, for some example 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.

    Special Characters - I wanted to attend to these guys separately to give out a more in-depth feel of them.

    Abaddon - Still a nightmare in combat, but provides great buffs to your army - if you tailor the list to suit those benefits and remember that they are only really useful against Loyalist Space Marines. Typically, a good choice as he can reliably kill most enemy units in the game in combat, and will laugh off other armies dedicated combat HQs of similar costs - i.e. Mephiston, Draigo, etc. There aren't many things Abaddon can't deal with once he gets close - notably AV14 and the Swarmlord. However, his exorbitant price means you should reserve him for bigger games. A fun alternative - if you are playing against Loyalists - is to stick Abaddon into a unit of Obliterators and simply slowly advance towards your enemy. It makes the Obliterators even more of a target, but your opponent won't be happy when Abaddon tanks the damage whilst the Obliterators re-roll all 1s to hit and wound with lascannons, assault cannons, plasma cannons, etc. He also does work in this capacity in smaller games as you don't have to worry about a transport - this also allows him to move up with an army and they can all benefit from the joys of Preferred Enemy. A good choice overall IF you build the list around him.

    Huron - He has probably benefited the most from the new rules, at least IMO. He could be quite accurately called the jack-of-all-trades special character of the codex, with a heavy flamer, a S6 lightning claw with 2D6 armour penetration, a power axe, a random psychic power each turn, etc. He also guarantees D3 Infiltrating infantry units if he is your Warlord. He has a 4+ invulnerable save. You literally cannot go wrong with this guy. He is also very cheap - he costs about as much as a basic Daemon Prince. Excellent choice overall, you could quite easily throw him into any army list and he would do the job you give him well.

    Fabius Bile - He has lots of attacks, he is tough, he is strong, he can dish the pain out pretty decently and can give any enemy without a good armour save hell (and even power-armoured enemies have to be careful not to fail an armour save). He, like the Dark Apostle, can be seen as an upgrade character - giving an entire unit S5 and Fearless for free is a very nice benefit. This works well if you intend to use said squad in combat (which you should). However, his abilities are of questionable value - whilst the free upgrade to a unit is good, getting them into combat and realizing their durability doesn't change is still the kicker. Funny on Nurgle marked Chaos Marines, they are essentially super-marines with S5 T5 and Fearless. Personally, as his cost is similar to Kharn/Lucius/Huron, I wouldn't recommend him as his abilities just do not stack up IMO. However, he is not a bad choice by any means. Solid choice overall.

    Ahriman - I've used him a few times so far in the new rules, and boy, he is quite the nutcase. My recommended power load-out is this - roll once on Tzeentch (mandatory), roll once on Telepathy (if you don't get one of the Mastery Level 2 powers, switch for Psychic Shriek), and then either roll twice on Biomancy (any power here is good, but Iron Arm/Enfeeble/Endurance/Life Leech are almost unfair on Ahriman) or take a roll on Pyromancy. Two games in a row, I got Doombolt, Psychic Shriek, Iron Arm and Endurance, and my opponent simply could not beat him down without Ahriman making his points back. Dependant on luck mostly though, which means he isn't the best option for a competitive army. Allowing Thousand Sons to Infiltrate solves a few problems, and he can spam witchfire powers to your hearts' content. Very expensive, and will statistically be killed outright by two krak missiles. A solid choice overall.

    Kharn - You thought Huron's close combat abilities were good? Guess again. S7 I5 A7 AP2 with 2D6 armour penetration on the charge that always hits on a 2+ says hi. Get him into combat and also take advantage of his abilities, particularly his Warlord trait - as he grants Hatred to himself and his attached unit, you do not have to worry about Veterans of the Long War for his bodyguard unit. Keeping that in mind, he also gives the whole unit a 2+ Deny the Witch save. Run him into Grey Knights and laugh as their force weapons can't instant death you. However, be aware that daemon hammers and sheer number of AP3 attacks will still kill you. That is, of course, if they get to strike back (stay the hell away from Halberds). Also a challenge monster. Cheap as hell and one of the most damaging HQs in the game - there aren't too many things you should be afraid of, and remember, he's Kharn.

    He can chop up monstrous creatures (remember to keep away from ones that can challenge you though), stands a great chance of blowing up Land Raiders (and thus any other ground-based vehicle), chops through walkers, weaves through Terminators and other Infantry, etc. Also, just in case his rules confused you, here are a few clarifications that I've found; he always hits on a 2+, even if he would otherwise hit automatically, in combat - this means you still risk hitting your own models when attacking a model that is WS0. Hatred also does not allow him to re-roll his misses; his rolls of a 1 are treated as 'hits' against his own side, even in a challenge, as it affects the same combat. As such, the only time he can actually make use of Hatred himself is if he is by himself in a combat (i.e. no allies) - however, the main reason he has Hatred is that he confers it to his unit, which is great and means you don't have to worry about paying for Veterans of the Long War. Very good choice overall.

    Typhus - Nasty in combat, but of limited use against Walkers and high armour vehicles. Can make monstrous creatures cry. One of the toughnest nuts to crack as far as small arms fire goes. Fear is situational and you shouldn't bank on it. Be aware not to waste the Destroyer Hive - it might kill half a Terminator squad, but it will also make mince meat of his bodyguard. His best application (arguably) is his ability to make Cultists into Plague Zombies free of charge. T3, Feel No Pain, Fearless, scoring models that are cheaper than Ork Boyz. They can't do anything in shooting, but they are objective-holders/grabbers unparalleled in our codex. A 'build-the-list-around me' kind of guy, especially given his very high entry fee and inability to embark on a cheap transport. Good choice overall - becomes very good if you pair him with Cultists.

    Lucius - Why aren't you taking Kharn? All jokes aside, Lucius is a useful character that is in the similar price range of Kharn and Huron - i.e. cheap. Lucius is quite different to those two however, and you must understand that if you want to make him worthwhile. Lucius is a challenge-monster against anything that isn't T6 or has a +2 armour save. The reason being, his I6 and A-reflecting opponent's weapon skill as well as Shred makes him very good at killing enemy commanders, infantry, MEQs, etc - but not much else. Unless you are lucky, you won't typically succeed against +2 armoured opponents or monstrous creatures. Don't be tricked by Armour of Shrieking Souls and its AP2 - +2 armoured opponents typically carry weapons that will put Lucius out of his misery from one failed save anyway. With three wounds, anything that ignores his armour (i.e. almost every combat HQ) will only allow him to really cause a wound back once or maybe twice.

    Hence, that particular ability shines against things that force armour saves and not invulnerable saves, i.e. hordes/infantry in general. He doesn't have to worry about hidden power-fists either because he will promptly single them out and kill them before they strike. Against a Space Marine Captain in power armour (how often does this happen though?), he will have 7 attacks on the charge, hitting on 3s with re-rolls, then wounding on 4s with re-rolls. That is more than likely a dead Captain, all before he gets to strike. In that sense, yes, he is quite good. Putting him up against Lelith Hesperax is hilarious. As I said before, he is not able to deal with certain units, and as such should be used against what he will do well against. A solid choice overall, but you need to be careful with him.

    Summary! The most competitive options are probably Chaos Lords, Sorcerers and Huron. If you are wanting to adopt a theme, i.e. a single mark, then Huron probably shouldn't be your HQ (Undivided). The Chaos Lord will usually cost you more if you trick him out, the Sorcerer however doesn't need many upgrades to deal damage. As far as marked special characters, Kharn and Typhus are the best.
    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 10-27-2012 at 11:04 PM.

  2. #2


    Elites - I would typically say this is the one section of the codex that you don't need to worry about. You aren't as spoiled for competitive options that are necessary to a good army list as you will find in Fast Attack and Heavy Support, but that doesn't mean you can't make Elites work. Just remember that it is arguably the weakest section of the codex.

    Chosen - A meltabomb more expensive than a standard Chaos Marine for a higher leadership, an extra attack base, and....five special melee/ranged weapons regardless of squad size. In reality, the latter is why you will take Chosen - think Sternguard mixed with Imperial Guard Special Weapons Teams and you have a pretty accurate summary of this unit. A five man unit with four plasma/melta guns will threaten damn near everything, and a Rhino gives them the mobility they crave. Quite cheap too. However, be aware that running Chosen in this way means you will lack the numbers to take hits back. I do not under any circumstances advise you to use them as a close combat unit - Terminators do it much better and are only slightly more expensive. Can be made Troops - and thus scoring - with Abaddon. Even the feared Dreadknight won't want to get close to a squad with four or five plasma guns. Also be aware that combining said plasma gun spam with Abaddon's Preferred Enemy bubble is both tasty and dirty - for you and your opponent, respectively. This isn't as good as it might seem at first though, as the afore-mentioned lack of numbers and expense-per-model ratios do not work in your favour. You are also relying on situational abilities and will not really faze horde or flyer-heavy armies. If you are in a marine-heavy meta though, go nuts. A good choice overall - but they must be made to fit a specific role. If you want utility or close combat, go for Terminators or standard Chaos Marines. You should always be using Chosen to bring lots of special weapons.

    Possessed - Nasty on the charge, and that is about it. They have an invulnerable save and have nasty extra abilities rolled for in each combat phase. Ultimately, less random than before, but still probably too expensive for what they do. Mind you, it can be funny having the equivalent of Rubric Possessed (+4 invulnerable saves) to troll Thousand Sons players with the fluff-abuse it represents. I might be selling them a bit short, but their lack of ranged options limits their role, and in reality, Berzerkers or Terminators will do the same job more efficiently and less randomly. Marks give you interesting options to work with, and the high base strength is nice. However, again, outshone by other melee-oriented options. This may be an unfair summation, as their random abilities are all quite good - either you re-roll all failed to wound rolls in combat, or your weapons become AP3, or they gain +1 attack and +1 initiative - just be aware that you are unlikely to get what you really need on any given turn. A mediocre choice overall.

    Chaos Terminators - They are Terminators, they are cheaper than the Loyalist equivalents when kitted out similarly, and are very customizable. We don't have TH/SS flying out our backsides but, hey, who needs them? The popular options with Chaos Terminators revolve around high numbers of combi-weapons - in this role, Chaos Terminators are cheap, durable, and provide some very nasty firepower - keep in mind that this is situational and dependent usually on deep strike scatter. A typical squad loadout is three Terminators, with three combi meltas/plasmas, one chainfist, and a mix of power fists and power weapons. This kind of unit can threaten virtually any target and is quite cheap. It will also play mind games with your opponent, especially if they have valuable units in their back-field.

    In general though, Terminators are similar to Chosen in the sense that they are able to fit a wide variety of roles depending on how you outfit them - unlike Chosen however, Terminators don't suffer from being specialized to one particular kind of role, and they don't have to worry as much if they are in small squads. The aforementioned three combi-weapons/chainfist/two power fists kit out for a three-man squad will do the job very well. And let us not forget that you can use them in the classic 'CHARGE!' role; stick them in a Land Raider, attach a Chaos Lord/Abaddon/Kharn/Typhus, give them the appropriate mark, run them at your opponents biggest damn target. For those that like their eggs in one basket, but as always, devastating when it works. Always a good bodyguard unit. Marks and Icons can be quite nasty on them - T5 Terminators, +4 invulnerable save Terminators, I5 Terminators with claws and Feel No Pain, etc. Costs add up quickly though, but the slew of options available will mean you are hard-pressed not to indulge yourself. Overall, a good choice.

    Helbrute - Hmm. Cheaper than Loyalist options, but lack the two most competitive options that Loyalist Dreadnoughts get (Drop Pods and dual-autocannon load-outs). However, these guys will still do their job well - they have a lot of juicy options that can make them very deadly against certain enemies. Remembering that you come with Extra Armour base through your Crazed rules, you get quite a good deal on the surface. However, the Helbrute suffers from a lack of focus - you don't have any in-codex means of getting them into your opponents lines quickly, and to make a ranged platform you have to take a missile launcher with your other weapon option, which limits your effectiveness. The Helbrute encourages having a ranged weapon and keeping the close combat weapon. This is fine, but the inability to give it that focus really reduces the Helbrute's viability. However, I don't mind something that is the minimum triple-digit cost for what it does. Ultimately, this is a unit that you should not rely on - send it at your opponent and hope it kills something valuable before it dies. If your army has a lot of more threatening targets, you may even find this guy can do a lot of unexpected damage to your opponent. A solid choice overall.

    Mutilators - I'm not sure what to think about these guys. If you put one next to a Paladin, you get for the same cost - one less WS, one less LD, cause Fear, no psychic abilities, no force weapon, but instead you get paired combat weapons (and thus 3 attacks base) i.e. everyone gets chainfists/lightning claws/power axes/power mauls/power swords. At face value, this seems like a fantastic deal - unlike the Paladin, the Mutilator can essentially deal with any threat in combat and take withering amounts of firepower. However, that is just face value. Mutilators have no decent transport options and with Slow and Purposeful it is unwise to march them up the field. Unlike Paladins, they have no guns and thus rely on getting into combat. They can Deep Strike, but that is obviously risky. They can never be made to score like Paladins can, and they are capped at a squad size of three. As such, I am torn on these guys - they sound great at first, but how they would actually work in game is an entirely different matter. Marks are a good option for Mutilators - any of them can be useful, but Nurgle and Khorne will probably be the most common. Nurgle makes them immune to S8-S9 instant-death - which is what will usually target them if Obliterators are a good example - whilst Khorne increases their attacks so they can shell out ludicrous amounts of damage. A mediocre choice overall.

    Now for the juicy part - Cult units! Remembering that each unit can (and probably should) be made scoring through the use of the appropriate HQ with the appropriate mark.

    Khorne Berzerkers - Blood for the Blood God! This sums them up pretty well. Get them into combat = profit. Getting them into combat is the killer though, what with Overwatch, paying for a transport, having to endure at least one round of shooting when they jump out of said transport, etc. The options are typically unnecessary on these guys - the ability to take multiple plasma pistols is fine, but the real deal for them is chainaxes. It is a small points increase to make all of their (many) combat attacks AP4. Do you really want to kill make Dire Avengers cry? Do you want to make an Imperial Guard player feel insignificant for putting Carapace Armour on his Veterans? Do you want to do more against your main.....wait, that's right. Against Space Marines, AP4 will not help you. In that sense, think about what you will face and whether or not the upgrade is worth it. Typically, +4 armour units will get crushed by your sheer weight of S5 attacks anyway. Furious Charge, Rage and Fearless make you a powerful combat unit - but the latter also makes you vulnerable to targets you do not want to engage.

    Also, what do you give the Skull Champion? A power fist so the unit can more reliably handle vehicles/walkers? Or a power sword so you can butcher MEQs? I would recommend the latter, as a Skull Champion with a power weapon will give even I4 HQs (such as Librarians) pause with the sheer number of attacks he generates - you are also likely to butcher any sergeant that gets in your way. Ultimately, Berzerkers are good at what they do and not much else - they will also typically be killed quickly by other armies dedicated close-combat units. Of course, such armies will typically be using much more expensive, non-scoring units in that role, hency why Berzerkers do fill a nice little niche. They will power through standard tactical marines, but will be blasted by Terminators. Remember that, and you can make them work. And get them a Rhino! Though you can't charge when you jump out, the tax is worth it so that you aren't getting blasted on the way to your target. A solid choice overall.

    Thousand Sons - The core of my themed army lists, and obviously my favourite cult unit fluff-wise. However, they are also sadly seen as the least competitive of the cult units. As much as an AP3 bolter and a +4 invulnerable save sounds great on infantry, they have quite a few issues. They are highly expensive for what they do in the sense that cover saves are readily available in 6th Edition that will largely negate their AP3 boltguns. And again, they are still just boltguns - because of their cost, you can't have a lot of them to make up for their S4. A +4 invulnerable save has many obvious applications, but again, cover is readily found in 6th Edition, and a smart opponent will learn to simply shoot their anti-infantry (i.e. standard boltguns) at them - they die like any other space marine in this way. Mind you though, I've had a squad of these guys beat back an Assault Terminator squad twice in the same game without suffering a casualty. If your meta is dominated by lots of low AP weaponry, this works a charm.

    They are also Fearless and, unlike other Cult units, they come with Veterans of the Long War in their basic cost. That sounds great, until you realize that they are terrible in combat - i.e. even worse than Tactical Marines. Thousand Sons do not have grenades and thus, outside of meltabombs on an already expensive aspiring sorcerer, they cannot deal with vehicles outside of glancing AV10 (which is unlikely). The Sorcerer is limited by having access to middling powers, and has no defense against Perils of the Warp. The only power you actually want is Doombolt, but you have a 50% chance of rolling it - the other power isn't all that helpful. It is cool to have a mini-psyker leading your unit though, and he even comes with a force weapon. He is easy prey for challenges though, but you will assuredly laugh your pants off the one time he kills a much more expensive HQ through a lucky force-weapon wound whilst tanking due to his +4 invulnerable save (which I've seen happen - one of mine killed a Greater Daemon from the previous Chaos codex). As much as I love them, they aren't that great - over-priced is the most accurate description I can give these poor automatons. Stick them in a Rhino so they can shoot quicker, or combine them with Ahriman for a nasty flanking unit. A mediocre choice overall.

    Plague Marines - T5 with Feel No Pain, 2 special weapons with no minimum squad requirement. What more needs to be said? Poisoned close-combat weapons. Work best with either two meltaguns or two plasma guns in a rhino typically. 7-man squads tend to work out best in terms of both efficiency, the actual purchasing of the models, and venerating the unholy festering stew of Nurgle. You are crazily durable and can deal with almost any threat when kitted out appropriately, but don't for a second think you can just throw them at the enemies toughest units; Plague Marines will still die quickly to AP3 weapons, and as good as Feel No Pain and T5 is, cover will increase your survivability exponentially. Another key attribute of Plague Marines is that they have defensive grenades - this can really screw up units that rely on charge bonuses to swarm their opponents in attacks. Any opponent of yours that plays a Khorne army will hate you. Just remember that you are the second most expensive cult unit, and the most expensive per model. A very good choice overall.

    Noise Marines - This is very much a unit that you need to decide their role before you outfit them. If you want a close-support unit, give them the extra close-combat weapon, stick a Doom Siren on the champion and give them a rhino. They will typically make their points back the second the Doom Siren unloads on a Space Marine squad and/or charges. I5 makes them a nasty proposition for Space Marines by killing them before they can strike back with all of their attacks, but remember that I5 won't matter against units like Wyches. If you, however, want a ranged-artillery unit, beef them up to 10 models, give them all Sonic Blasters and one a Blastmaster, as well as an Icon of Excess. Sit them on an objective and they will blast (pun intended) their opponents into dust.

    In either role, they are quite efficient - their Sonic Blasters will absolutely reave low armour-save armies such as Dark Eldar, Tyranids and Orks. By reave, I mean 'annihilate' - all of their weapons ignoring cover makes them a brutal unit to use against horde armies. They also cause Pinning tests (or is that just the Blastmaster?). They work exceedingly well when combined with a Slaaneshi Sorcerer - the Slaaneshi Sorcerer can make whatever your Noise Marines shoot at die in abundance. Ultimately, which role you pick is really up to you - both are good, and both will be carried out well. I would typically recommend the ranged role, as shooting tends to be king in 6th, and Noise Marines do it better than any of the other Elites or Troops choices. A very good choice overall.

    Summary! Terminators, Plague Marines and Noise Marines are the best bet for a competitive army list.
    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 11-26-2012 at 07:39 PM.

  3. #3


    Troops - The backbone of the Chaos army, and our source of scoring units. Also by far the smallest selection of units (before any force-organization changes) in any of our slots.

    Chaos Space Marines - Our primary Troops choice and the most common scoring unit you will probably see in Chaos army lists. The wealth of options and possible ways to run these guys means that very few army lists will use similarly equipped units to each other. You already give certain Xenos armies great pain by having a marginal base entry cost per model for someone who is still a space marine. This, paired with a nice 20-man squad limit, has led to the tactic of 'horde marines'. Fill the board with bodies and overwhelm your opponent with so many marines/bolters/special or heavy weapons that they simply can't deal with you. You can alternatively run such horde marines into the thick of combat in the name of Khorne - switch their bolters for an extra close combat weapon and give them the mark of khorne. Is this competitive? I would say no. But fun, definitely fun.

    Upgrades are where this unit certainly starts to get interesting. You can give them Veterans of the Long War for almost nothing - this is....situational. I find it unnecessary, personally. The boost in LD means you are much less likely to fail morale checks, and Hatred is good, certainly. I dunno, I find bare Chaos Marines do fine. Nothing wrong with taking it. The Marks range from good to situational at best - let's start from top to bottom as far as this unit is concerned (in my opinion). Running a basic Chaos Marine with just the Mark of Nurgle is the same cost as a Tactical Marine - T5 marines say hi, Loyalists! This is both funny and highly useful - T5 makes your standard units much less prone to small arms fire, and also hilariously hard to kill against S3 enemies in combat. Khorne gives you both Rage and Counter Attack - nice in of itself. You can turn your Chaos Marines into Grey Hunters for.....a higher cost. Sorry, you don't get a better deal than Space Wolves here. However, this mark is still good and gives your units some much needed defensive and offensive punch. Slaanesh is simple and helps when fighting other MEQs, but is less useful against most Xenos armies - you will strike first against Necrons/Tau anyway, and Eldar/Dark Eldar will still go first most of the time in any case. Tzeentch gives you a +6 invulnerable save - not that useful. Unlike Havocs, you probably wouldn't want these guys sitting on a certain fortification, so I wouldn't recommend this mark.

    Now for icons. Vengeance is available to any marked or non-marked unit - Fearless is great and worth the price if you can't stick a Chaos Lord/Dark Apostle in the unit. Excess gives you Feel No Pain, but is only available to Slaanesh units - obviously, Feel No Pain is awesome for an entire unit, but the cost and ability for the bearer to be sniped out is a scary proposition (albeit this is a weakness of all icons). Wrath is nice, but only worth it on a dedicated combat unit - and such units are of debatable use. The Tzeentch and Nurgle Icons aren't really useful, although they are cheap to compensate. Fear is useless against Fearless/Space Marines, and Soul Blaze is unlikely to do any real damage. As far as both marks and icons are concerned, I would say they can be ignored. For competitive lists, the best mixes would be either Nurgle, Slaanesh and Feel No Pain, or just Fearless. The other 'upgrade' for the unit would be the choice between exchanging their bolter for a combat weapon (not recommended), or taking an extra close combat weapon for a small points increase (worthwhile). Neither are necessary, but the latter is very good. Just remember - do not take the Mark of Khorne without taking the second combat weapon. Trust me. Having the extra attack all the time means you will get 3 attacks on the charge anyway, and essentially always have the second attack per Counter Attack.

    Now, for special weapons and whether or not to take a Rhino. Because I feel as if I am waffling too much about Chaos Marines, I will make this short - take special/heavy weapons based on what you want the unit to do. Do you want a bunker unit with the Mark of Nurgle or I5/Feel No Pain? Taking a special weapon such as a plasma-gun or a flamer as well as an autocannon or missile launcher is recommended and makes the unit threatening to a wide range of targets. Fearless also helps this unit out quite a bit. If you want a midfield-rushing unit ala Grey Hunters (which I recommend) give them two plasma guns or two meltaguns - or a mix. Any of the three options is fine, and will probably depend on what you expect them to come up against (heavy tanks or terminators/light tanks typically) - just remember the plasma gun/meltagun option is the only one that does not require kit-bashing. If you are using them as aggressive objective-grabbers, I would almost always give them a Rhino. As much as Rhino-rush armies are falling by the wayside, the Rhino is still a smart and cheap purchase that won't let you down.

    Also, consider what characters (if any) you are attaching to a Chaos Marine unit. If you use a unit in a rhino, you obviously can only take a 9-man squad and thus only one special weapon. This is fine, as usually the character will have tools that make up for the lack of the second special weapon (i.e. a 10-man unit with two meltaguns is the same as a 9-man unit with a meltagun and a Warpsmith in that sense). The way I usually run my Chaos Marines - and this is fine for competitive setups - is the basic bolter marine with a meltagun/plasma gun and a rhino transport. Cheap, still space marines, and can deal with most targets that get thrown at them. Ultimately, I wouldn't run too many Chaos Marines - running several units of them, similar to Grey Hunters, doesn't work quite as well. Two-three units is good. There isn't much to compare against, but Chaos Marines are always a recommended choice.

    Cultists - This is a great unit, I must say. Their dirt cheap nature and the abundance of cover means that almost any army list can find a use for these guys. Say you feel you have enough points tied up in two Chaos Marine squads, a blob of 20 Cultists will be under triple-digit cost and give you the perfect extra scoring unit. Just don't expect these guys to kill too much, however, always remember that their pitifully low cost means you can spam them to all hell. Giving them autoguns and two flamers turns them into a very decent defensive unit that is quite cheap - this also makes them quite threatening to other horde units. This unit makes Chaos one of the very few Space Marine codexes that can run horde armies - as much as T3 and 6+ armour sounds terrible, the aforementioned flux of cover boosts their survivability exponentially. They also don't require a Rhino. Combat cultists can be a useful foil for your other melee units that typically want to avoid Overwatch fire or being hit back, and they can actually be decently threatening in large numbers. Just remember they will die in droves and you are set.

    As far as their options go, Cultists can be made to fit different roles. You can make them like Ork Boyz by giving them the Mark of Nurgle, but just remember, aside from your higher I you are paying the same cost for something that is worse off in other areas (no Fearless, less attacks, less WS, etc). Tzeentch is actually not that bad on these guys, but it is still only a 6+ save. Khorne makes blob squads of these guys put out absurd amounts of attacks (i.e. Ork numbers). Slaanesh makes them strike at the same I as Marines, but the lack of grenades and size of Cultist squads means this isn't too useful. Giving Cultists autoguns is really up to you - you lose the extra combat attack and can't shoot and then charge. You have a higher range but until your opponent gets close, you won't get to rapid fire anyway. You put out ridiculous amounts of overwatch fire though. Heavy Stubbers are ok, but whether they are worth it or not is up to you. Flamers are the better choice overall, but always remember that it depends on what you expect your Cultists to get close to.

    Cultists change significantly when paired up with certain characters. As has been made abundantly clear, Cultists work very well with Dark Apostles. The entire unit becomes LD10, Fearless, and has Hatred (Everything). This actually makes them a pretty nasty prospect in close combat, and as long as you can protect the Dark Apostle, you can tie valuable enemy units up for quite a while. A Chaos Lord does the same job, but without conferring Hatred (unless you roll the appropriate Warlord Trait). Basically, Fearless turns Cultists into one of the most cost-effective tarpit units in the game. The best kind comes from one that cannot be sniped, and this leads into.....Typhus. For free, you lose your guns, can't take any marks or other weapons, but gain Fearless, Feel No Pain and Slow and Purposeful. Needless to say, this makes Cultists into highly effective scoring and tie-up units. 30 Zombies will cost you almost nothing, and sat in cover on an objective, will be punishingly hard to dislodge. Also a funny way of tying up nasty close combat units for a few turns so you can happily deal with other threats. And when said Zombie unit dies, charge another one in! That isn't even sarcasm - they are so inexpensive that this is actually a viable strategy. Draigo's shiny dozen won't be so threatening when they are tied up by multiple Zombie units for most of the game whilst the rest of their army is systematically destroyed by the Chaos forces which have much less points invested into said combat.

    Ultimately, you cannot go wrong with Cultists. I recommend them heartily - one unit is a perfect extra scoring option, and an army of them allows you to invest far more points into other slots. Just be aware that, obviously, they will end up costing you a lot more in terms of money.

    Summary! I find the best choices tend to be Nurgle Chaos Marines, Chaos Marines with dual special weapons in Rhinos, blob Cultists sitting in cover as objective holders or Plague Zombies.
    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 10-27-2012 at 09:53 PM.

  4. #4


    First of all I want to say that this 'Tactica' is great. It offers insight in all the different units and makes it easier to choose which units to add to an army.

    But I have some questions about what is described in this tactica...

    Quote Originally Posted by Learn2Eel
    Chaos Terminators - ... A typical squad loadout is three Terminators, with three combi meltas/plasmas, one chainfist, and a mix of power fists and power weapons.
    The way I read the Chaos Terminators entry in the codex is that each terminator may choose to either replace his storm bolter OR his power sword ('may choose ONE of the following three options')
    So the 3 combi meltas/plasmas with some power fists is not possible.

    Am I correct ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Learn2Eel
    Noise Marines - ... If you, however, want a ranged-artillery unit, beef them up to 10 models, give them all Sonic Blasters and one a Blastmaster, as well as an Icon of Excess. Sit them on an objective and they will blast (pun intended) their opponents into dust.
    Quick question... Can the Noise champion carry a Sonic Blaster or not ?

    Thanks for the input and for this great 'Tactica'

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Planet of Sorcerers


    Quote Originally Posted by Eberk View Post

    The way I read the Chaos Terminators entry in the codex is that each terminator may choose to either replace his storm bolter OR his power sword ('may choose ONE of the following three options')
    So the 3 combi meltas/plasmas with some power fists is not possible.

    Am I correct ?

    The FAQ has made it "Any Terminators may take any of the following 3 options."

  6. #6


    Hi Eberk, as Saint_Anger says, Terminators can take any of the three options and thus you can now take combi-weapons in conjunction with power fists and so on.

    As to your second question, yes At least, I am pretty sure he can.

    Also just a general note for everyone, sorry for not having done the updates I said I would, haven't really been online lately. I'll try and add some more within the next week. Thanks again, and I hope the tactica is helping everyone out!

  7. #7


    the FAQ... I always forget about those will have to print it and put it in my Codex I think;

    Another quick Tactica question about the Icon of Excess with Noise Marines.

    I have a 6-man close combat unit of Noise Marines (CCW, doom siren, power sword, Rhino -> Chaos Lord bodyguard) and a 12-man ranged unit of Noise Marines (sonic blasters, blastmaster -> bodyguard of Sorcerer). Which unit would most benefit from the Icon of Excess (and why ?)

    (In the tactica there is only talk about giving the ranged unit of noise marines an icon of excess and I don't understand fully why only the ranged version)

    Thanks for the feedback.

  8. #8


    I think in the article I say that Feel No Pain is great for any unit, but I wanted to stress that a big unit sitting in cover with Feel No Pain will be unreasonably hard to dislodge.

    Ultimately which unit you give Feel No Pain is up to you - what unit do you think needs it more, i.e. which unit do you expect to be taking more firepower? Typically that would be a close-combat unit, so I would say your assault unit. However, be aware that some armies will prioritize your ranged unit because of the damage they can do to certain units - i.e. Tyranids, Daemons and Orks will probably target the ranged unit more with their own long-range weapons. In that case, the points may be better spent on them.

    There's also the valid 'point-per-model' cost of certain upgrades that affect an entire squad, and a good example would be Psybolt Ammunition for Grey Knights. It is the cost of a Strike Squad member to give all Storm Bolters in the unit S5. Now, the value of Psybolt increases exponentially the bigger the squad; a 5-man squad means you are essentially paying 4-points-per-model for it. A 10-man squad, however, pays only 2-points-per-model for the upgrade. This may seem trivial but it is a good way to work out when an upgrade is worth it for a unit if you can't decide and want to resort to number-crunching. As such, bigger squads would benefit more from expensive upgrades like the Icon of Excess.

    Of course though, if the upgrade is worth it, then you are likely not to care about that ratio anyway.

  9. #9


    I have used both Nurgle Havocs and Obliterators on a Skyshield Landing Pad in my Epidemius list, and WOW, that's an amazingly durable and devastating firebase, which also jacks up the Tally of Pestilence very quickly. I don't advance my Oblits in that case, just place the Pad so the back edge is in your deployment zone, so the Oblits and Havocs start in the deployment zone, then the Havocs stay put, and the Oblits can move up usually towards table center, from where all their weapons can hit, including assault cannons. If I wasn't doing an Epidemius list, this Pad formation would still be effective, but I'd probably take Tzeentch Havocs for the 3+ invul whilst on the Pad.

    For HQs, I agree that the Shrouded rule makes the Nurgle Princes the best option...Swooping 24" into cover along the way means you really don't need the Slaanesh option for the extra range, though I want to try both and compare. I think the Murder Blade is all that's needed on the Princes however just for the extra attacks. They're S6 so they probably don't need the Fleshbane of the Black Mace, although I suppose vs other MCs it would be helpful, but they can Smash InstaKill a DP if he fails to kill said MC. The JuggerAxeLord is freaking awesome; I usually run mine with Spawn, however I have come think Bikers would be better because of the must do Challenges crap (the Biker Champ can challenge so the Lord can smear away the rest of any other Infantry unit). I've also seen a Black Mace Nurgle Bike Lord do impressive things. Even at AP4, he can cream most anything, plus the Curse helps nail survivors.

    I haven't used any Elites yet, looking forward to painting my Termies and putting Typhus with them so he can actually do something, as I really like the cheap masses of zombies for all my Troops. Typhus is NOT good in an Epidemius list however, since zombies are not actually Nurgle followers, just in case nobody noticed that.

    Bikers are nice and cheap and good fast fodder. Spawn are the same, Nurgle Spawn especially. The Heldrake is certainly best with Baleflamer, plus being able to Vector Strike at 36" range coming in is actually really good at nailing light Transports. I've seen people use Raptors, one squad came in behind my Heldrake and bolt pistoled it to death, that sucked! Warp Talons look cool but way to pricey, although maybe with a Jump Sorcerer they could be interesting?

    Forgefiends can miss, and my Warpsmith didn't repair squat when its arm got blown off, even putting it with a Defiler on Skyshield Pad didn't much help them vs a ridiculous GK Jokaero spam list (36" multimeltas...Bull$*%&!). I want to try out Huron with a Maulerfiend or two, that sounds fun. Actually a whole Daemon engine army would be fun like that, we'll see how many I can fit.

    Great tactica compendium!

  10. #10


    Very helpful OP. In lower-point games (I only really have the time to play 1000 points) is it worth taking a Rhino with a Havoc Launcher as a poor man's Vindicator/Whirlwind?


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