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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Armies in 5th: Chaos Space Marines Part 2: Anti-tank

Last article we covered how the limited mobility of Chaos compared to other armies affects their whole army construct. Specifically, this lack of mobility exemplifies the general lack of firepower the Chaos army can put out compared to other armies and the relatively uselessness of their Fast Attack choices. However, other armies still can be as limited in mobility as Chaos (I.e. IG w/o Fast Attack) and still be more competitive even taking into account their better ranged firepower. This article therefore looks at Chaos’ ability to counter opposing mech armies.

One of the best ways to counter mech armies is with melta weapons. MM weapons on fast skimmers are your best bet but Chaos doesn’t have any of those and unfortunately, their only MM is available on their Dreadnought. A solid platform but not always reliable in what you want it to do. So Chaos have to ‘resort’ to meltaguns. Not a bad thing as quite a few other armies have very few platforms for long-ranged MM type guns (hell, only Tau w/Railguns and SM variants come to mind really). However, most armies can get cheap melta they can sacrifice. Whether its super-cost efficient or there are a bunch of them running around, Chaos cannot do this without sacrificing their midfield presence (I.e. CSM, Plague Marines, etc.).

A lot of players advocate small Terminator Squads with combi-meltas as sacrificial melta but these squads are quite expensive for that they do (noticing a trend?) and don’t provide to the army as a whole. Other sacrificial melta squads like meltavets, ISTs, Celestians, Speeders, Piranhas, etc. benefit the army in other ways either through their transports or utilities such as blocking. They are therefore useful against any lists whilst Termicide squads are not. They also eat up your Elite slots where Chosen or Dreadnoughts are much better choices.

Both of these squads are more capable of providing to the Chaos army at all times but neither of them can be classified as sacrificial melta. Much like Chaos Bikers and Raptors or BA ASM and SW Grey Hunters, Chosen are too expensive and valuable to the army to be considered sacrificial melta. They are certainly preferable to lose compared to your CSM/Plague Marines but Dreadnoughts are able to provide that mobile MM on the advance. CSM are also poor sacrificial melta needing to take 10 guys to get 2 guns and being Troops. Plague Marines are in the same boat in relation to the Troops aspect but can take 2 guns at smaller squad sizes. However, they are very expensive and are much better at sitting on objectives. So what then do Chaos do about anti-tank? Whilst they can take melta styled weapons in their Elites and Troops which are effective, they are still at a disadvantage compared to other armies.

This is where Chaos Heavy Support really shines. Whilst Predators are very similar to SM variants (and we are not doubting the efficacy of ACLC Preds I hope), Obliterators are perhaps one of the best units in the game even when over-costed a wee bit. Being able to throw about 2-3 weapon for whatever the job requires is fantastic and although you pay for it, the unit is worth it and shores up some of the deficiencies of the Chaos codex, specifically long-ranged anti-tank. Combining Oblits with meltaguns/MM in Elites & Troops allows Chaos to deal with mech, if at a higher point cost comparatively.

Although Chaos doesn’t have effective sacrifical melta or great ranged anti-tank, they are a solid midfield force with their Elites and Troops. Whilst they are still paying a premium for this compared to other armies and because of their limited ranged firepower & mobility in comparison, they still suffer against optimised mobile and shooty lists but are very capable of dealing with sub-optimal lists.

Next article will look at the utility the HQ choices provide for Chaos with a brief touch on their special characters which can be of use (I.e. Kharn).

13 pinkments:

Kevinmcd28 said...

I like your analysis kirby, good article. You do point out what Im having trouble with in my Chaos army, how the heck to pop all that razorspam out there.

jabberjabber said...

Agreed -- obliterators are tried and tested units that are excellent in the anti-tank role. I'm more than happy to give up my converted predator for obliterators in the heavy support slot :)

VT2 said...

Chaos has a lot in common with orks and eldar.

For some strange reason, people fear the 3-man terminator squads.
"Oh, noooooooo! They've got...9 power weapon attacks on the charge!"

There are two benefits in taking terminators over dreads.
Terminators don't shoot your own stuff. Terminators let you take a bad land raider without using obliterator slots. You need these for your berserkers in larger games.

Borkai said...

@VT2 do you march stuff in the very small front arc of fire of your dreads? that is unwise.

I think it comes down to CSM bikes being your best bet for melta platforms that are sacrificial, they have high T, can speed boost etc and only cost 119 for 2 meltas, yeah that aints great economy, but what do you do when ur elites and heavy are filled?

VT2 said...

The majority of people don't play dreads like they're supposed to be played.

Even if they don't end up shooting your own stuff, they still run the risk of not shooting at all. Means you've paid 100 points for a multi-melta that won't do any shooting, but will instead do its very best to run within the opponent's meltagun range.

Instead of all that, you can pay 105 points for three terminators with combi-meltas, and put excess points into a land raider for your berserkers.

The terminators are cheaper than bikes and raptors, and give you something more. Much, much better option - which isn't saying much.

mad-doc said...

"how the heck to pop all that razorspam out there"
Play a real Space Marine Codex. :)

Kirby said...

lol mad-doc.

In regards to Terminators/Dreads; LR are bad and expensive. Godhammers with real PotMS are bad and Chaos ones are worse so steer well away from them. Taking sacrifical melta as termicide is fine but your army list is much weaker in midfield which Dreads/Chosen add to. Sure Dreads aren't the most reliable fire platforms but 3 of them not clumped (so a single blocker can't stop them) provides some decently reliable anti-tank as they move up-field and some real combat oomph.

VT2 said...

I want my chaos marines mercenaries back :'(

Stopped playing chaos after the first game.
Only the lord, Ramiel, remains of my army.

Auretious Taak said...

"Borkai said...
@VT2 do you march stuff in the very small front arc of fire of your dreads? that is unwise."

Check out the rules for Walkers and LoS mate. 360 degree field of fire iirc.

VT2 said...

Yeah, and i said most people don't play it like that.

Stop stalking me around the blog, please. It's unnerving.

Borkai said...

Yes Taak, very correct. Pivot on the spot etc doesn't count as moving, and the dread's fire frenzy rule even states they pivot on the spot to target the nearest thing, so ouch my bad. golden rule, read the rulebook yourself and don't listen to blog advice ;)

AbusePuppy said...

Walkers actually don't have a 360 fire arc; they explicitly have a particular facing, unlike infantry. The question is really whether fire arcs are the same thing as vision arcs.

Anonymous said...

AbusePuppy described the crux of it. The "fire arc" of a walker's weapons is indeed 45 degrees. This can matter to any walker because if it is immobilized there is no way to shoot something outside of that arc, as a walker *must* rotate to face its target when shooting, but immobilization prevents vehicles from rotating (it does not specify in which phase).

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