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Friday, August 20, 2010

Armies in 5th: Chaos Space Marines Part 3: HQs & utility

So we’ve covered the disadvantages of Chaos in terms of mobility and anti-tank both relating to sacrificial squads and the premium Chaos pay for their units and whilst we covered one of their biggest positives in Obliterators, things have been pretty grim for them so far. Let’s see if we can change that just a wee bit. Let’s take a look at what the HQ slot brings to the CSM force.

On the face of things…not much (I thought we were trying to be positive!). Chaos Lords are designed to be decked out combat fighters who maul crap in combat but 40k never was and never will be based around hero hammer like Fantasy was in 7th. Whilst there are certain characters who can do this across armies such as Dante or Kharn, they either have other advantages which offset their cost (utility) or are pretty darn cheap (Kharn). So let’s look at Kharn first since he’s part of this Codex. For a very minimal cost you get a guy who can chop up anything in CC with a lot of attacks. Whilst he can also chop your own guys heads off, well he frankly kicks ass. The problem obviously lies in getting him there, particularly since Chaos Land Raiders are pretty meh. He is a one man wrecking crew though and if you want a combat oriented Lord, go for Kharn.

What about Sorcerors? They are unfortunately still in the role SM Libbies used to be in, not great powers but have the statline to buff themselves and poke holes in people. Again though, this isn’t what 40k is about and looking back at the Chaos’s Psychic Power review, we notice their powers aren’t fantastic either. If you’re looking for a cheap HQ who can potentially help the army out with some minor anti-tank or utility the Sorceror is probably for you but without great powers like Shield, Null Zone or Fortune, just doesn’t seem to cut it. The lack of psychic-defence is also a huge knock against them, one of the primary reasons many other psykers are taken for armies.

Let’s take a look at the positive then. Daemon Princes. These guys can fulfil two roles and only one should really be considered. Utility and combat beast. Utility is what is unfortunately all too common and that’s a Lash Prince. If you really want to use Lash it should be on a sorc who can hide in a squad. You’re paying for the DP’s statline, use it. Whilst Lash isn’t the overpowered/cheesy power it’s made out to be, it does have some utility usage in moving your opponent off objectives, into charge range, away from charge range, out of cover, into cover, etc. However, with the DP statline and ability to cast the close combat power Warptime + Wings and Mark of Nurgle, suddenly you have a very dangerous T6 combat beast. Sure he’s not too hard to take down when there’s only two of them and a 5+ invul, but it forces your opponent to remove them quickly. No one likes T6 beasts in combat w/re-rolls and this offers up the rest of your army more flexibility.

There’s the good and it’s very good. When you have two T6 flying monsters to distract from your Oblits (which are also very good), the expense you pay for everything else seems to hurt just a little less. However, there’s still a problem with this and it’s two-fold. The first is your army is predictable. Whilst (there’s that word again) players should be able to adapt to any army and deal with whatever is thrown at them, when playing against a similar build which has been around for years…well the build requires less tactical thought against it. Not a huge down-fall but don’t expect to surprise anyone with Chaos. The more significant downfall of Chaos HQ is the lack of utility. Whilst Lash Sorcs provide some utility, we’ve already covered how mediocre that is and nothing else Chaos has in the whole army really provides utility. Looking at the latest books, HQ aren’t designed as combat monsters (although they can be) but rather support characters. They lend something to the army such as orders, FoC swapping, auras, etc. Whilst they can kick ass in combat you take them for the army buff they give. Whilst Nurgle DPs provide target priority issues for your opponent, in comparison to other armies Chaos HQ aren’t as beneficial to the army as they could be.

Now having covered anti-tank, mobility and Chaos HQ, next article we’ll take a look at one of the internet’s favourite places to crow “awesome;” Chaos Troops.

3 pinkments:

NockerGeek said...

This has been an interesting set of articles; it's making me think about how I'm building my Chaos army, specifically in regards to recognizing and minimizing its weaknesses. I look forward to reading the rest of your analysis!

Kris said...

If you're looking at characters that adjust your army, I don't see how you pass by Fabius Bile without making a comment (admittedly, the comment may be not so good). +3 points a model for fearless units with +1S is not bad. Of course, it's limited to Troop Chaos Space Marines, and there's a decent chance of killing yourself, but still it's at least an interesting idea.

Kirby said...

Glad it's helping you NockerGeek.

@Kris; because I can link drop like this...


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