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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Armies in 5th: Chaos Space Marines Part 5: Summary


We've reached the end of our Chaos journey. Let's review the key concepts we've discussed and look at the codex as a whole and generate the final verdict on where the Chaos Space Marine codex stands objectively and in relation to commonly held subjective opinion (now it sounds like a science!). In the previous Armies in 5th posts for CSM we covered the general lack of fast and sacrificial melta, anti-tank burden heaped heavily upon the dualistic unit of Obliterators, general lack of efficient Troop choices and the lack of HQ flexibility and utility. Not really a good list is it? There's another theme which has permeated these posts but not explicitly addressed either; the cost of the units.

Whilst combining the useful units of Princes, Chosen, Dreads, CSM, Plagues, Zerkers, Preds & Oblits can give you some flexibility in list building, the general lack of firepower, units and mobility compared to other lists across the board makes CSM one of the less competitive books out there. This is driven home with the increased cost of units, not only in buying weapons but in their base cost. Simply reducing the Biker cost to something somewhat reasonable would provide the CSM list with some cheap and sacrificial melta but as it is, the book chews through points all over the FoC just to try and keep up with mech, opposing firepower and the number of units an opponent can put down on the table-top. Having a melta/melta/Rhino CSM squad which is significantly worse than a flamer/MM/Rhino Tac squad but costs the same without any of the goodies CSM can access such as double combi (Rhino + Champ), Havoc Launchers or Icons (not to mention the Champ if you want them in any sort of combat) is part of the reason the CSM codex is sub-par. Whilst an extra 30 points per Troop might not seem like much, it adds up especially when your good units (Winged DP and Oblits) cost you well over 150pts per unit.


This increase cost in points across the board forces the Chaos codex to often bring less units to the table which on the whole are less effective compared to other armies or suffer as a balanced army (i.e. can deal very well with mech by spamming melta but suffers against hordes). To maintain a balanced force the Chaos army has to therefore cut-back on certain units and pay the premium for the units it needs such as Oblits, Winged DPs and Plague Marines. Which brings us to the final point of the CSM codex before we land our verdict. The CSM codex seems very combat oriented with the ability to take huge combat characters, possessed, Terminators, Marks of Khorne, Zerkers, Defilers, min 2A base, etc. but Chaos simply suck in combat. Whilst Dreads and Winged DPs are viable units which punch face in combat and bare bones CSM + Zerkers are decent torrent units, Chaos has no real counter to super units. Whilst this isn't a problem for most lists, most lists have more units to sacrifice and greater firepower available to them. Chaos do not and the lack of a combat unit which can scare TH/SS Termies, Command Bike Squads, Seer Councils, TWC, Tyranid Deathstars, Honor Guard, etc. means rock armies or balanced armies with rocks have a very large edge against them.


And yet internet forums often think CSM is one of the best books out there (often referencing tournament results and Lash) alongside Orks, Space Wolves and Imperial Guard (agree with last two at least). Unfortunately, the severe point discrepancy compared to newer books and the lack of comparable mobility and anti-tank leads Chaos to be stuck behind the bell-curve against the top-notch armies. This is not to say the army is bad but rather needs an extra 250+ pts to even be considered on a somewhat level footing with the newer books but are still suffering from inherent army weaknesses.

So here comes a classroom setting (remember you asked for them?). I want the non-regular posters (so Chumbalaya, VT2, Puppy, Smurfy, etc. not you) to apply the principles outlined in these articles and make the best CSM army list possible for 1750 and 2000 points. I've got an idea in my mind what I'm looking for so let's see what you can come up with. The 'winner' gets their list posted in this thread...yay! lol. Everyone else can comment as usual :P.

Edit: Here's the winner from the army list competition by Joshy Bear!

HQ
Demon Prince (mark of Nurgle, wings, Warptime)
Demon Prince (mark of Nurgle, wings, Warptime)
Summoned Greater Demon

Troops
Plague Marines (5 strong, Plague Champion, powerfist, 2 x meltaguns, Rhino)
Plague Marines (5 strong, Plague Champion, powerfist, 2 x meltaguns, Rhino)
Chaos Space Marines (10 strong, Aspiring Champion, powerfist, meltagun, autocannon, Chaos Glory, Rhino)
Chaos Space Marines (10 strong, Aspiring Champion, powerfist, meltagun, autocannon, Chaos Glory, Rhino)

Elites
Chaos Dreadnought (multi-melta)
Chaos Dreadnought (multi-melta)

Heavy Support
Obliterator Cult (2 strong)
Obliterator Cult (2 strong)
Obliterator Cult (2 strong)


Total: 2000

22 pinkments:

VT2 said...

Lack of effective units, much more bad than good choices, litte forethought, heavily inflated points costs for everything, obvious 'pick me's' and 'don't pick me's,' and a total disregarded for the players of the army.

Welcome 4th edition army design. Destination: four+ years of horribly limited playing.

Fortunately for all bew players, every single one of the old design team's gotten the boot, so this isn't likely to happen again.

Nice work on this set of articles, Kirby.

Joshy Bear said...

HQ
Demon Prince (mark of Nurgle, wings, Warptime)
175

Demon Prince (mark of Nurgle, wings, Warptime)
175

Summoned Greater Demon
100

Troops
Plague Marines (5 strong, Plague Champion, powerfist, 2 x meltaguns, Rhino)
210

Plague Marines (5 strong, Plague Champion, powerfist, 2 x meltaguns, Rhino)
210

Chaos Space Marines (10 strong, Aspiring Champion, powerfist, meltagun, autocannon, Chaos Glory, Rhino)
240

Chaos Space Marines (10 strong, Aspiring Champion, powerfist, meltagun, autocannon, Chaos Glory, Rhino)
240

Elites
Chaos Dreadnought (multi-melta)
100

Chaos Dreadnought (multi-melta)
100

Heavy Support
Obliterator Cult (2 strong)
150

Obliterator Cult (2 strong)
150

Obliterator Cult (2 strong)
150

Total: 2000

I'm not entirely happy with the list as it seems the troops are too expensive for what they do. Oh well. Keep the Dreadnoughts by the Princes or the Plague Rhinos. Greater Demon is used as another deterrent to enemy assaults and with four possible candidates, I think he should be fine showing up where he needs to. Alternatively, you could replace it with another Dreadnought.

The CSM either use their autocannons to support the Obliterators in long-range shooting, or advance into mid-field behind the Princes, Dreadnoughts, and Plague Marines.

Behemoth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Behemoth said...

I belive the best basic framework is


HQ
Deamon Prince, nurgle, wings, warp
Deamon Prince, nurgle, wings, warp

Elite
3 Terminators, 3 combi-meltas - 105 points (termicide units)
3 Terminators, 3 combi-meltas - 105 points

Troop
8 plague marines, Fist, double melta rhino Icon
8 plague marines, Fist, double melta rhino Icon
10 Marines, fist, melta, autocannon rhino
10 Marines, fist, melta, autocannon rhino

Heavy
2 Oblit
2 oblit
2 oblit


For your various point totals, play around with adding/subtracting troops and termicide units.
You can also consider adding a 4th /w autocannon to your termies, to give them something to do after the drop - they often get tasty chances at rear+side armor.

Kildash said...

HQ:
Daemon Prince of Nurgle with Warptime and Wings
Daemon Prince of Slaanesh with Lash of Submission and Wings

Troops:
5 Plague marines, including 2x meltagun
5 Plague marines, including 2x meltagun
5 Plague marines, including 2x meltagun
5 Plague marines, including 2x meltagun
9 Khorne Berzerkers, including Skull Champion with power weapon
9 Khorne Berzerkers, including Skull Champion with power weapon
6x Chaos Rhino with dozer blades

Heavy Support:
2x Obliterator
2x Obliterator
2x Obliterator

Total: 1998

Simple rhino-rush with oblit-cover. I know some folk prefer double nurgle-princes since they're more lethal than a slaanesh prince, but as you (kirby) have pointed out, lash adds some utility to this otherwise simple rhino-rush.

And seriously guys... Chaos marine units with fist melta and autocannon in rhino? you must be joking...

Kirby said...

Hmm do I mark these as we go or at a set time period?

Kjetil said...

Unnamed1750 Pts - Chaos Space Marines Army

1 Daemon Prince (HQ) @ 175 Pts
Warptime; Eternal Warrior; Mark of Nurgle; CC Weapon (x1); Wings

1 Daemon Prince (HQ) @ 175 Pts
Warptime; Eternal Warrior; Mark of Nurgle; CC Weapon (x1); Wings

1 Summoned Greater Daemon (HQ) @ 100 Pts
CC Weapon (x1)

4 Plague Marines (Troops) @ 230 Pts
Mark of Nurgle; Icon Bearer; ; Blight Grenades; Feel No Pain; Bolt Pistol
(x4); CC Weapon (x4); Bolter (x2); Meltagun (x2); Frag Grenades; Krak
Grenades

1 Plague Champion @ [43] Pts
Blight Grenades; Feel No Pain; Mark of Nurgle; Bolt Pistol (x1); CC
Weapon (x1); Bolter; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades; Meltabombs

1 Chaos Rhino @ [70] Pts
#Searchlight; #Smoke Launcher; Daemonic Possession; Pintle Havoc
Launcher; Combi-Bolter

4 Plague Marines (Troops) @ 225 Pts
Mark of Nurgle; Icon Bearer; ; Blight Grenades; Feel No Pain; Bolt Pistol
(x4); CC Weapon (x4); Bolter (x2); Meltagun (x2); Frag Grenades; Krak
Grenades

1 Plague Champion @ [38] Pts
Blight Grenades; Feel No Pain; Mark of Nurgle; Bolt Pistol (x1); CC
Weapon (x1); Bolter; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades

1 Chaos Rhino @ [70] Pts
#Searchlight; #Smoke Launcher; Daemonic Possession; Pintle Havoc
Launcher; Combi-Bolter

4 Plague Marines (Troops) @ 260 Pts
Mark of Nurgle; Icon Bearer; ; Blight Grenades; Feel No Pain; Bolt Pistol
(x4); CC Weapon (x4); Bolter (x2); Plasma Gun (x2); Frag Grenades; Krak
Grenades

1 Plague Champion @ [63] Pts
Blight Grenades; Feel No Pain; Mark of Nurgle; Bolt Pistol (x1);
Power Fist (x1); Bolter; Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades

1 Chaos Rhino @ [70] Pts
#Searchlight; #Smoke Launcher; Daemonic Possession; Pintle Havoc
Launcher; Combi-Bolter

6 Summoned Lesser Demons (Troops) @ 78 Pts
CC Weapon (x6)

6 Summoned Lesser Demons (Troops) @ 78 Pts
CC Weapon (x6)

3 Obliterator Cult (Heavy Support) @ 225 Pts
Power Fist; Lascannon; Multi-Melta; Plasma Cannon; TL Flamer; TL Meltagun;
TL Plasma Gun

3 Obliterator Cult (Heavy Support) @ 225 Pts
Power Fist; Lascannon; Multi-Melta; Plasma Cannon; TL Flamer; TL Meltagun;
TL Plasma Gun

3 Obliterator Cult (Heavy Support) @ 225 Pts
Power Fist; Lascannon; Multi-Melta; Plasma Cannon; TL Flamer; TL Meltagun;
TL Plasma Gun

Models in Army: 42


Total Army Cost: 1996

I still feel it might be lacking something, possibly more durable troop choices over the full obliterator squads, favoring another plague marine squad over 3 oblits and some other stuff.

Txt44x said...

Howdy Kirby, thanks for this informative series. I play CSM myself, much like a stubborn fool. Anyways based on your articles I might go along the lines of:

-HQ

Nurgle DP, Wings, Warp (175) x2

-Elites

Dread, ML, Flamer (105) x2

-Troops

PM x 5, Plasma x 2, rhino (180)

Berzerkers x 10, Champ, P. Fist, Rhino (285)

CSM x 10, Champ, C-melta, Meltax2, Rhino (230) x 2

-Heavy Support

Obliterators x 3 (225)

Predator, Lasccannons, HL (145) x2

2000 pts. Preds stay back for support fire, Dreads and Oblits move one way, DPs, zerks and CSM mover another way, PM sit on one obj. For 1750 maybe take the dreads, HLs and 1 c-melta out. Decent or crapfest?

Cheers, T.

Borkai said...

Hmm yeah well I still thought that chaos were competitative, when i threw the list together and had 45 points left with only 2x5 plague marines... not enough at 1750 to win objective based games consistently!

ok so i tweeked the list and came up with this (ended up dropping chosen with 5 melta guns for MM dread and affording a third PM squad)

HQ
DP, nurgle, warptime, wings 175

DP, Tzeench, warptime, bolt 200 (this guy aint bad, 4+ invuln and can str8 ap1 vehicles as well as charge in if the target was a walker/tank that survives).

Elite

dread MM 100
dread TL AC 110 (kept the DCCW on both for the threat and to push the centre and support the rhinoes/DPs)
4 chaos termis 1CF/reaper, 3x combimelta/PW 175 (deepstrike or as you see fit)

troops
5x plague marines 2x melta, rhino with combi melta 180
5x plague marines 2x melta, rhino with combi melta 180
5x plague marines 2x melta, rhino with combi melta 180

heavy
2x oblits 150
2x oblits 150
1 defiler 150 (saturation of av12 walkers in the face, well maybe not saturation at only 3 :P)

1750

I know you guys would prefer 3x2 oblits, and probably droping the chaos termis too, but you didn't ask for clones.

Borkai said...

woops tzeench DP has wings too!

Kirby said...

I'll give it until the end of today to 'mark' these and see if we get any others.

Bigbaboonboy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bigbaboonboy said...

Great series that summarises the current csm plight very well.

Hmm tricky one but would probably go with something like this although I really would feel like there should be much more on the table:

1750 Pts - Chaos Marines Roster

HQ: Daemon Prince (1#, 175 pts)
Wings; Mark of Nurgle Warptime

Troops: Chaos Space Marines (6#, 145 pts)
5 Chaos Space Marines w/ Meltagun x1
1 Rhino w/ Havoc Launcher

Troops: Chaos Space Marines (6#, 145 pts)
5 Chaos Space Marines w/ Meltagun x1
1 Rhino w/ Havoc Launcher

Heavy Support: Obliterators (2#, 150 pts)

Heavy Support: Obliterators (2#, 150 pts)

Heavy Support: Obliterators (2#, 150 pts)

Fast Attack: Bikers (3#, 119 pts)
3 Bikers ; Meltagun x2

Fast Attack: Bikers (3#, 119 pts)
3 Bikers ; Meltagun x2

Elite: Dreadnought (1#, 110 pts)
Missile Launcher; Twin Linked Autocannon

Elite: Dreadnought (1#, 110 pts)
Missile Launcher; Twin Linked Autocannon

Elite: Chosen (6#, 195 pts)
5 Chosen Flamer x1; Meltagun x3;Power Weapon x1; Chaos glory
1 Rhino w/ Combi-flamer

Troops: Plague Marines (6#, 180 pts)
5 Plague Marines w/Meltagun x2
1 Rhino w/Combi-flamer
Total Roster Cost 1748

Farseer Dave said...

This is my m8 Joe's ETC army List , quite nice imo. Best Chaos List iv seen.

HQ 1: Daemon Prince Wings Lash of Submission Mark of Slaanesh total 155pts

ELITES
Elites 1 Terminator Squad 3 x Terminators 3 x combi meltas total 105
in Transport 1

Elites 2 Terminator Squad 3 x Terminators 3 x combi plasma total 105
in Transport 2

TROOPS
Troops 1 Chaos Space Marine Squad 5 x Chaos Space Marines total 75pts

Troops 2 Chaos Space Marine Squad 5 x Chaos Space Marines total 75pts

Chaos Space Marine Squad 5 x Chaos Space Marines Icon of Chaos Glory total 85pts
in Transport 3

HEAVY SUPPORT
Heavy Support 1 3 x Obliterators 225pts

Heavy Support 2 3 x Obliterators 225pts

Heavy Support 3 3 x Obliterators 225pts

Transport 1: Land Raider 220pts
Transport 2: Land Raider 220pts
Transport 3: Chaos Rhino 35pts

Total 1750pts

fester said...

LATE COMER FOR KIRBY TO RAG ON

1750 Pts - Chaos Space Marines Army

1 Chaos Lord (HQ) @ 110 Pts
Mark of Nurgle; Bolt Pistol (x1); CC Weapon (x1); Frag Grenades; Krak
Grenades

5 Chosen Chaos Space Marines (Elites) @ 200 Pts
Bolt Pistol (x5); CC Weapon (x5); Plasma Gun; Plasma Gun (x4); Frag
Grenades; Krak Grenades

1 Chaos Rhino @ [35] Pts
#Searchlight; #Smoke Launcher; Combi-Bolter

5 Chosen Chaos Space Marines (Elites) @ 200 Pts
Bolt Pistol (x5); CC Weapon (x5); Plasma Gun; Plasma Gun (x4); Frag
Grenades; Krak Grenades

1 Chaos Rhino @ [35] Pts
#Searchlight; #Smoke Launcher; Combi-Bolter

5 Chosen Chaos Space Marines (Elites) @ 200 Pts
Bolt Pistol (x5); CC Weapon (x5); Plasma Gun; Plasma Gun (x4); Frag
Grenades; Krak Grenades

1 Chaos Rhino @ [35] Pts
#Searchlight; #Smoke Launcher; Combi-Bolter

7 Plague Marines (Troops) @ 216 Pts
Mark of Nurgle; ; Blight Grenades; Feel No Pain; Bolt Pistol (x7); CC
Weapon (x7); Bolter (x5); Meltagun (x2); Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades

1 Chaos Rhino @ [35] Pts
#Searchlight; #Smoke Launcher; Combi-Bolter

7 Plague Marines (Troops) @ 216 Pts
Mark of Nurgle; ; Blight Grenades; Feel No Pain; Bolt Pistol (x7); CC
Weapon (x7); Bolter (x5); Meltagun (x2); Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades

1 Chaos Rhino @ [35] Pts
#Searchlight; #Smoke Launcher; Combi-Bolter

7 Plague Marines (Troops) @ 216 Pts
Mark of Nurgle; ; Blight Grenades; Feel No Pain; Bolt Pistol (x7); CC
Weapon (x7); Bolter (x5); Meltagun (x2); Frag Grenades; Krak Grenades

1 Chaos Rhino @ [35] Pts
#Searchlight; #Smoke Launcher; Combi-Bolter

5 Chaos Havocs (Heavy Support) @ 130 Pts
Bolt Pistol (x5); CC Weapon (x5); Bolter (x3); Meltagun (x2); Frag
Grenades; Krak Grenades

1 Chaos Rhino @ [35] Pts
#Searchlight; #Smoke Launcher; Combi-Bolter

5 Chaos Havocs (Heavy Support) @ 130 Pts
Bolt Pistol (x5); CC Weapon (x5); Bolter (x3); Meltagun (x2); Frag
Grenades; Krak Grenades

1 Chaos Rhino @ [35] Pts
#Searchlight; #Smoke Launcher; Combi-Bolter

5 Chaos Havocs (Heavy Support) @ 130 Pts
Bolt Pistol (x5); CC Weapon (x5); Bolter (x3); Meltagun (x2); Frag
Grenades; Krak Grenades

1 Chaos Rhino @ [35] Pts
#Searchlight; #Smoke Launcher; Combi-Bolter

Models in Army: 61


Total Army Cost: 1748

Kirby said...

Aw come on Fester, if you're going to do Rhino spam it goes like this =D.

Sorc w/Lash
3x5x Chosen w/2 meltaguns w/Rhino w/Havoc
6x5x CSM w/meltagun w/Rhino w/Havoc
3x5x Havocs w/2 meltaguns, 2 flamers w/Rhino w/Havoc

1880 points. Play around with numbers and add some more flamers =D.

Derek said...

Oh man...I don't know where to begin with this.

I basically disagree with everything you have said here.

dreads should never be taken. Neither should summoned deamons. mixing an autocannon with a melta and fist is just...oh man. I mean...wow. I hope you realize how unconventional this list is.

If you have caused any new chaos players to buy dreads then I feel really sorry for them.

Also, in the current american GT, CSM is Tied with SM right now for second most first places.

IG is number one.

And then 3rd place is orks.....another army you say isn't competitive.

So of the top 4 armies, 2 of them you think are not competitive. My mind is blown. I was lead to this site hoping to find good tactics for eldar, but i'm now having to question everything you say based on your opinions on orks and chaos.

Kirby said...

This has been covered multiple times, check the Chaos label.

Tournaments aren't valid as an actual measuring stick for good armies either. This has also been covered before though hopefully MoD will have his article that I asked for up sometime soon.

I can show you why those armies are bad on Vassal if you'd like or in person if you live in Sydney? Or we can look at the two tournaments who have been run very similarly and have an actual 'competitive' line and we don't see significant Ork/Chaos numbers (those being NOVA and BFS and as more of these tournaments are run, hopefully we'll get more data even though they still suffer from a bunch of problems which MoD's article will explain).

Nothing has ever given me pause to make me think Chaos or Orks are good lists. Chaos suffer in every respect compared to their loyal counterparts and once Orks lose momentum, they have serious issues (beyond their issues in dealing with mech spam and AV14 all-round).

TheAngelKing47 said...

I think you should post another homework assignment for a best CSM army at 1000 points... my current build sucks and I'm trying to make it work.

Derek said...

Kirby. So you say that tournaments aren't good evidence, but yet you post one of the worst chaos lists i've ever seen in my life in your article. Could you describe to me what makes you think that the codex list you posted is good? I'd like to see how your list would do in those tournaments that you claim don't count, heh.

Also, I think the The rank and file in 40k goes about like this:

IG
SM / CSM
Eldar / Orks
most others


So, since I provide results in tournaments as evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to invalidate my point?

Derek said...

Also, if you are invalidating common tournaments on grounds of comp scoring systems, then that is only proof that chaos is doing better than average, since chaos list are universally punished for their composition.

Robert said...

Chaos is one of those armies that fly in the face of 'theory-hemmerists'. You can complain about them all you want, and say they're not competitive, but you can't change a simple and undeniable fact: they win a LOT of tournaments. From what I've seen, they win at least twice as often as vanilla Space Marines do in competitive settings, and 'three times as often' is possible.

That said, it's true, a lot of their units are a bit lackluster. So why do they win so much? Four reasons:

1. Daemon Princes with wings. Lash is indeed great, but warptime is almost as good, and makes them less of a target. They're a lot cheaper than the Chaos Daemons version, to boot.

2. Fantastic troops. Regular space marines are so-so, but plague marines, berserkers, noise marines, and deep striking 'objective grabbing' lesser daemons are fantastic. 1000 sons are fun, but admittedly a bit expensive. Still, give the sorcerer warptime, and you have quite a solid unit.

3. They can present 'competitive' lists with things they don't have a way of defeating. Lash, land raiders filled with berserkers, noise marines hiding in a rhino (with blast master and havok launcher), and entrenched obliterators to name a few. These units are some of the most difficult in the game to deal with effectively, without wasting a lot of time and resources.

4. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, since most tournaments have a point system, where different levels of victory gain you different amounts of points, Chaos is very good at massacring opponents. They don't always win, but when Chaos wins, they usually win 'big'. This is also what gives many Ork lists an advantage at tournaments.

Oh, and I have to call shenanigans on the claim that 'their success at tournaments doesn't make them a competitive army'.

Being competitive means doing well at tournaments, so the OP is effectively saying that 'their success at tournaments doesn't make them successful at tournaments'.

P.S. We've always been at war with East Asia.

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