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Friday, May 7, 2010

GWvsJohn talks Chaos: Fabius Bile


I think my plan is to work my way through the Chaos Space Marines Codex, one unit at a time, with a sort "Best Of" (the worst) theme list for each unit. We already discussed Thousand Sons here and here.
This article will look at Enhanced Marines and their master, the former apothecary Fabius Bile (Horus Heresy novels ftw. If you haven't read them yet, get started).

We'll start with Bile, and we start slow. First, he costs 160 points, which, if you're new to 40k, is a lot. Every army needs an HQ, but unless they're cheap, like 100 points or so (LIbraians, Shas'el, Primes) they better bring a lot to the table. So what does Bile bring? A comparable (but probably slightly worse) stat line to a SM Captain, FNP, a decent shooting attack and always inflicts ID. What doesn't he bring? An invulnerable save, a power weapon, Eternal Warrior or really anything good. For his cost, he really doesn't do much. In terms of shooting, CC and survivability, I'd say he compares to 3 Space Marines. That's 45 points of killy. In terms of his actual model, stats and rules, he might be the worst HQ choice in all of 40k. Why would anyone bring him? For that last little rule, Enhanced Marines. So let's examine them.
Enhanced Marines are 3 points more than regular CSM and add +1S and Fearless. They also pose some risk to themselves, but it's really not significant. For 3 points, this is a pretty good upgrade. In fact, it solves a lot of the problems with the basic Chaos Space Marine. Normal CSM are very vulnerable in CC because without ATSKNF, once the break, they're done. Fearless helps with this. CSM also suffer from not being much better than a Tactical Marine in CC, +1S really helps here. I think if you could just upgrade CSM to Enhanced Marines without Bile for 3 points, you'd see a lot of them. But in reality, the cost isn't 3 per Marine. It's that, plus the extra hundred or so over what Bile is actually worth. So unless, you're bringing a lot of them, the cost is significant.
Now, how do we use them?
Bile: I think his best role is using the Needler to go after MC (of course he's only BS 4, can't have BS 5 and a special shooting attack, right?). The problem is that with t4, and no invulnerable, he's done if a MC ever gets into CC with him. He could also be used to tie up/kill crappy CC troops, but anything in the CSM Codex can do that.
Enhanced Marines: They're a solid Troops choice. I'd go 10, with a Champ, 2 meltaguns, power fist and a Rhino. That will run you 275. I think adding an Icon is a good idea to make the most of your Fearless and improved CC abilities. Khorne turns them into Berserkers with meltaguns (for the same per model). Slaanesh turns them into Marine killers. I think those are the 2 best. Nurgle is a little pricey, won't help against a lot of real CC units (ie power fists and thunder hammers) and they aren't better than Plague Marines (who can have meltaguns). A 5++ isn't worth it, so Tzeentch is out. Even at around 300 points per unit, I think the Enhanced Marines are a decent buy.
Shall we try a list? I don't have high hopes. My plan is to bring as many Enhanced Marines as possible, to counter Bile's cost. We still need fire support though, and that means Oblits.
160 - Fabius Bile
315 - 10 Enhanced Marines - Icon of Khorne, 2x Meltagun, Aspiring Champion, Power Fist, Rhino, Combi-Melta
315 - 10 Enhanced Marines - Icon of Khorne, 2x Meltagun, Aspiring Champion, Power Fist, Rhino, Combi-Melta
315 - 10 Enhanced Marines - Icon of Khorne, 2x Meltagun, Aspiring Champion, Power Fist, Rhino, Combi-Melta
305 - 10 Enhanced Marines - Icon of Slaanesh, 2x Meltagun, Aspiring Champion, Power Fist, Rhino, Combi-Melta
140 - 5 Enhanced Marines - Flamer, Rhino, Combi-Melta
150 - 2 Obliterators
150 - 2 Obliterators
150 - 2 Obliterators
This is another list (like the TS one) that will probably do very well against your standard, crummy FLGS or Warseer list, but would get pwned by a legit tournament quality list. Still, 45 Fearless scoring Marines are a pain, and S 5, 3 attack marines can kill a lot of troops. Remember, the Enhanced Power Fists are s9, so they're a bigger threat vs. Walkers.
Like the TS analysis, looking at Bile and Co. just illustrates the state of the CSM Codex. Good, but expensive Troops. Very overpriced HQ. No fire support outside Oblits who are good, but not great. No speed at all. It's a real shame that GW doesn't appear to have a new CSM Codex high on their list. Chaos is probably the best piece of background that 40k (and GW) have over other systems. The Chaos Space Marines are almost more iconic for 40k than the loyalists. They really need to be done properly.
-GWvsJohn

12 pinkments:

Chumbalaya said...

I've always liked Fabulous Bile; he's got a neat little story and variant lists are always cool.

Shame the CSM book just sucks =/

GWvsJohn said...

What do you think of the list? I know including Bile is a huge block on concrete on the army's feet, but is this the best way to run him?

Chumbalaya said...

I think it is good for CSM. 5 Rhinos should do ok and Oblits should be fine sitting back providing support. It would be nice to have the means to disable/destroy a Land Raider without sacrificing a 250 point squad, but that's just how CSM works these days.

sonsoftaurus said...

I've played around with thoughts of a bile/enhanced list, never got around to actually playing it.

Bile himself could be good situationally, if you can keep him away from gribblies that would instadeath him. He could tear through a brood of warriors or something similar though. Hopefully in the next edition he'll at least be able to confer FNP to an attached squad and get a crummy 5++.

To get the most out of him I agree you need to go big or go home - some of the lists (although smaller) only wind up with 20 enhanced marines and hardly seem worth it. 45 is much better. I also agree that IoK or IoS are the routes to go.

GWvsJohn said...

@son: Except the vast majority of Warrior broods have whips and swords, meaning Bile is i1 and has no save at all. 12 attacks and he's cooked.

As for improving Bile in a new codex, he either needs to be a lot cheaper, a lot better in CC, or give support. Enhanced as it is now is good, it would be cool if he could give FNP or Fleet or PE to like a squad per turn. Sort of turn him into a CSM Tervigon. I also think of all the CSM SC, he needs EW the most. He's Fabius friggin' Bile, he's known for keeping things alive, lol.

The_King_Elessar said...

Or all of the above...

Kirby said...

Not a bad list considering the restraints...problem is, like any list that hypes up on Troops, lack of killing power. You'd be unlikely to lose most objective missions simply due to 45 Marines in Rhinos backed up by Oblits but winning? Eh :(. For a theme though in Chaos, it's not bad ^^.

P.S. Loved the post a day you promised me!

Sean said...

I've seen a lot of people go with a Power Weapon rather than Fist on Slaaneshi Marines, so you're still taking advantage of that extra I. Is that a mistake here?

GWvsJohn said...

I never promised :) It was always free time dependent.

@Sean: the problem with the PW is that it allows any walker or t8 beastie to tie you up in CC forever. You need that fist to at least threaten them (or MB I guess). Complete vulnerability to walkers is a problem with a lot of "CC" units ( posessed, banshees, LC termies)

Capt.Al'rahhem from Heresy-Online said...

Good post. I'm actualy working on a Fabius themed CSM army. I've been wanting to do CSM army for awhile but none of the legions/gods every really held my interest. I've always thought Fabius was awesome (fluffwise)so away I go. Thanks for the thoughts & ideas for actual using him in the current game. I don't know if my army will work as I'm trying to avoid Mech. & Marks but I never play competatively anyways.

Da Warboss said...

Well, the enhanced troops are about same cost as Zerks in total model costs, but you get the added bonus of Bolters. Worth it if you want clsoe assault.

Mate Matyas said...

I have experimented with Bile lists and they were suprisingly usable, but well mostly about fun. My idea was also to use as many enhanced CSMs to compensate the cost of Bile.
I gave them a Slaanesh icon and mostly power weapon (only 1-2 fists). They are kind of "economical berzerkers" that way. Bit cheaper, no WS5, but has bolters and I5 comes also when getting charged. Against SM they were quite strong backed by oblits.

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