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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Armies in 5th: Psychic Powers: Chaos Space Marines

Well this will most likely finish up the Psychic Power series for the moment as we’ve run out of armies with good psyness! We haven’t covered Orks, Necrons, Daemons, Tau, WH/DH and that’s all I can think of. They generally suffer from bad psychic or no psychic ability though I would imagine each updated codex will change that. If you would like them to be covered before updates though, let me know and I’ll drop some posts on them. So Chaos. Chaos a couple decent psychic powers but nothing fantastic. They have two platforms to use them, Sorcerers (which are included in TSon units) and Daemon Princes. Two problems with Chaos psychic abilities:
1) No psychic defense which means they are very vulnerable
2) Cannot cross mark specific spells

The first one is a real pain but a lot of armies currently have that problem so you just deal with it. The second is an even bigger pain as god-specific spells are useful on other marked units and it’s not like they become overpowered by doing so anyway. So let’s break it down. Competitive gamers already know what’s not on top whilst everyone else will complain about it...

(picture: © Greg Smalling)

Warptime - That’s right, not Lash. Warptime is a combat power and whilst Sorcerers aren’t great at combat, Daemon Princes are and re-rolls...well they are lovely and make the DP much more reliable and evil in combat. A Daemon Prince should simply not leave home without this power and it’s not god-specific so can be used on any type of Marked Prince. A good combination then is Nurgle for T6. No one likes T6 combat units and the DP brings the pain with it. Add in Wings for good measure. Even if this spell is nullified, the DP is still an impressive combat force. Warptime can be used in both player turns so you can shoot a psychic power and use this in your opponent’s turn.

Bolt of Change – especially useful on Sorcs/TSons but not fantastic (see GWvsJohn’s article on TSons). It’s a good strength, range, assault and AP1 so a nice shot from a Rhino. Unfortunately, TSons are expensive so it’s hard to spam this power + it’s Tzneetch specific. No Bolt for your Nurgle Daemon Prince because that would be broken. If you’re looking for a Support Sorcerer this isn’t too bad a spell but it really is best used in TSon squads as mobile bunkers but that comes with their assorted problems. Otherwise, Nurgle Daemon Princes are much better than Sorcerers in most cases.

Lash of Submission – well it has its spot. It’s not the game breaker most make it out to be nor is it useless like some others make it out to be but in comparison to what a Warptime Nurgle DP brings...ya well it’s down on the list of uses. Mech screws with lash quite severely but Lash is still capable of yanking people off objectives or pulling into assault range, etc. However, it’s again god-specific which reduces its utility and you have to buy it unlike in recent books where you choose 2 powers.

Wind of Chaos – kind of okay, kind of not. It’s a template weapon so suffers from range but is also not god-specific so could see some use on a Warptime Prince or drive-by Rhino. Then we look at the points...what!? Add in this is aimed specifically at tough targets yet is a template and you wonder what use it would really have against hordes. It’s better than the rest of the spells coming up but for the point cost you might as well buy something else unless you really want an armor ignoring template out of a Rhino.

Gift of Chaos – powers are getting pretty weak from here. This is one of those odd utility spells that when works is funny, but otherwise not really. You can pick out characters and drop them and characters with a low T are particularly vulnerable. Whilst most lists shouldn’t run a lynchpin character, there are always models you’d like to get rid of. Reliability is an issue though coupled with short range. Add in psychic defences and having to pay a lot for it...ya we will go back to Warptime & Bolt of Change thanks.

Doombolt – Like smite from BA & Vanilla Marines, not really useful particularly coupled with Chaos’s trouble with armor due to mediocre Elites and poor FA choices. Most psykers would prefer Bolt of Change or even Wind of Chaos over this shooting attack, especially with the large amount of cover hanging around in 5th edition. Leave it at home for BoC.

Nurgle’s Rot - since our Nurgle DP’s want Warptime this seems like it’s going to have opportunity cost issues. Then we look at what it does and shudder. 6” S3 hits? Woo, not going to do much except against hordes and your Zerks or CSM should be able to help with that. Keep Warptime with the DP yes?

It comes down to picking what type of psyker you want. A Daemon Prince should always have Nurgle mark & Warptime whilst a Sorcerer which is an IC and can hide in squads is going to prefer Bolt of Change or Lash of Submission. Sorcerers in TSon squads should always be taking Bolt of change for more anti-armor. I would always advocate the Nurgle DP w/Wings & Warptime over a Sorc bunkering for Lash/BoC/WoC but I know some people don’t like or use DPs so they are ‘viable’ options for the Sorc. Chaos really suffer on the overall anti-tank front though and Warptime DPs/BoC can alleviate that somewhat. Gift, Doombolt & Nurgle's rot are just laughable fun spells or spells that just don't cut it and shouldn't be bothered with.

7 pinkments:

Chumbalaya said...


Ishamael said...

As much as I love Librarians of the C:SM, I just keep playing armies that have absolutely no psychic defense. :< Tau make up with pew pew, yet when I get to play my Chaos I get to be ridiculous and invoke Khorne to curse the pansy psyker.

Played a team game one time, and Kharn *almost* killed my ally's Farseer. It would have been great if he did, but we needed to try and win the game.

AbusePuppy said...

I'm surprised to see Bolt above Lash. Certainly, Lash is overrated by many people, but Bolt is just a meltagun that never gets double pen. It can do a decent job on transports, but anything heavier than that is gonna laugh it off, and its short range and specificity in who can take it make it even more limiting.

Kirby said...

I put Bolt above lash because you can make a decent Rhino bunker. It's worse than a Tactical squad w/a MM but being able to shot out a S8 AP1 shot + whatever else can make CSM a viable choice if you don't want cult troops.

Kildash said...

Hey Kirby, just a small comment:

tzeentch princes with warptime do better, for equal cost. Why? I rarely find my princes (nurgle, tzeentch or slaanesh) being fired at by bolters... what i get shot by is melta, missiles and lascannons, and in that case, they're wounding on 2+ anyway, T5 or 6, and what you'd really want is a 4+ invun... also helps with peril-attacks btw.

Kirby said...

The 4+ invul is nice but only really against shooting attacks. When you get stuck into combat the T6 is often much more useful against a wider range of attacks (though Pfists still wound on 2s). It compliments what the DP is looking to do whilst the 4+ invul is trying to cover it's weaknesses elsewhere.

Tzneetch works but when your DPs get into combat, you'll find the T6 may often be more useful and the 4+ invul isn't going to make a massive difference in getting into combat (if it was 3++...).

Victor said...

Do you really consider warptime usefull? Having to re-roll every to hit and to wound rolls, even succesfull ones makes IMO warptime unreliable. Paying for something which if you use it you can get a worse result...

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