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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Chaos Space Marines Codex Review: Heavy Support

Obliterator Support! This is like somebody telling you what you're getting for Christmas, except that this isn't a surprise but the cruel reality almost everybody is aware of. But that does not mean we're slacking of by not doing a complete Heavy Support review, we just did: Read on and get excited.

Chaos Havocs

VT2: Evil devastator squad, but just as bad. As expected, no special rules.
Four dudes can have big weapons, with a twist. Those four dudes can take special weapons instead. Oh, momma.
When the book was new, you had little kids everywhere creaming their panties at the mere thought of massed plasmaguns, but because this is planet earth, we now know that's a terrible idea.

Every single heavy weapon's terribly overpriced. 20 points for a missile? 15 for a heavy bolter!? Dark angels bad. Oh, yeah, and no plasmacannons, multi-meltas, or anything special in the selection, bar autocannons - which, at 20 points, are way, way too expensive for their own good.

What you do is, you take squads of five, load them up with two flamers and meltaguns each, put them in a havoc launcher rhino, and drive towards the enemy's guns. Dead serious.
The manly alternative to this deranged, fluffy use is 3x20 guys with four autocannons per squad.

No, don't buy champions or sacred sticks.

If you don't have obliterators, these are the backbone of your dakka. Chaos has special weapons everywhere, but almost no way to fit in actual ranged weaponry - which makes their cost in points that much dumber.
It's almost like Gav wanted you to buy more terminators and obliterators, since everybody already had three squads of havocs with missiles or autocannons since 3rd edition.

Zjoekov: This unit also suffers mostly from being overcosted as VT2 said. Actually, I don't have much to add at all to it. I do however think that an Icon of Chaos Glory isn't that bad if you do want to field them with heavy weapons. You'll get setups like these:

5 man; 3 autocannons. 135 ponts.
8 man; 4 autocannons, IoCG. 210 points.

2nd squad at least doesn't suffer from running of the table, untill you lose the Icon of course. But then again, 'normal' Devastators suffer from the same thing, they just aren't that overpriced. (Ofc SW also gets split fire, while BA gets the option to add FnP) Autocannons as a weapon in a Devastator squad is good though. I hope (and assume) that these get simply cheaper in the next codex, maybe even with the option again to buy tankhunters. Couple that with properly priced Fast Attack units and you got a stable support base. Hey I can hope right?

Obliterator Cult

VT2: Semi-monster, with lots of guns. Disadvantages: moves very slow and can only use one gun per turn. Advantages: beefy profile, artificer armor, kills dinky squads that charge them, Invulnerable save and deep strike both come in handy occasionally.

There's a serious drawback to these; cost. 75 points each. In a certain vanilla codex, where the armor's available at 65 points base, well.
Unfortunately for you, this isn't 'that' codex, and as you have no access to anything from it, let's just break down obliterators.

Squads are limited to three, but the minimum is one. S8 instant-kills you.
If you really, really want to, you can go fist something with your heavy support, or you risk linked meltagun death with deep strike. You know, so your dakka's gone for later turns.

And - oh my god! They've got multi-meltas and plasmacannons! Emprah's pink cadillac, I thought you forgot completely about those guns, Gav!
Yes, this is the only place in the entire codex you'll find reliable versions of either, making obliterators mandatory in all armies. Yes, even when you pretend they're not, they still are, and your 'build' would work a gazillion times better with them added in.

So mandatory, the only accepted excuse for not running them is you not actually owning any, but even that's controversial.

Zjoekov: There we are. 'The 3rd of the great 3', you know: Princes, Plague Marines and Obliterators. Are they good? Yes. Are they really good? Chaos list simply need them, but also makes Oblits less good. (No matter how contradicting that might seem)

Biggest problem is that Obliterators need to do too much. As VT2 said: You need MM's, you need long range Anti-tank and some extra Plasma doesn't hurt either... Thing is they are all concentrated on the same unit. This leads to complications:
-When your oppenent actually plays with a proper 5th edition army (yes some do this, although sometimes I wonder if good armies only exist on the internet) your Long Range fire (Lasscannons) isn't enough.
-When your Oblits die early and you haven't done sufficient damage, you got a problem too. A serious problem actually.

You got to look at it while having in mind the whole picture: 3x2 Obliterators is 450 points. That's 6 lasscannons at 3 seperate targets while not being twinlinked. Yes do the math please. Then you have 2 Deamon Princes which die to bolters, some inadequate troops (Plague Marines have little damage output) and Terminators in reserve. Sooo..... Yes that just isn't all that scary when facing proper armies. Armies which have more ranged firepower than 6 Lasscannons...

See Oblits would be really good if you actually had proper support, other forms of Anti-tank. Then their versatality would actually be realy usefull. Now you usually shoot lasscannons for 2 turns and then you're dead. If you face good armies that is....
If you face bad armies: Then Oblits are great! Your oppenent probably troubles killing them and the Princes in time and you might actually not need to shoot lasscannons for 3+ turns (as they took less vehicles and/or you actually kill those with Princes and Plagues now), so they get to use Plasma Cannons and other fun weapons.

This is therefore also the reason why a lot of people still think Chaos is competitive (and Oblits being OP lol): Chaos players play with a good build almost all the time, even 'lesser' generals; the build is that simple to understand. Their oppenents do however field crap...err, I mean unoptimised lists with their armies and thus Chaos looks competitive. Simple isn't it? True though, really.

I hope you get the general picture now, also on how to use them: Against proper oppenents you deploy in 90% of the cases at least 2 out of 3 squads, many times all 3. Then you move and fire lasscannons to attempt at least supressing some vehicles. Anything else is a bonus.
Against bad oppenents you can do whatever you want with them and they'll singlehandedly win you games.

Chaos Predator

VT2: Almost identical to its space marine version, but somehow costs more. Outside of autolas and lasboat configuration, these aren't useful to you. Chaos has enough dakka, but lacks anti-armor and range, so lascannons are welcome.
Yes, even at such an inflated price.
Yes, this is proof of how terrible the book is.

That's all there's to it.
Bunker in a corner. Shoot, shoot, shoot.

Unfortunately, predators are quite clearly not obliterators, and at 130 for two las, versus their two body weapons at 150, the only reason to run predators is because you don't own obliterators.

Zjoekov: I don't agree with VT2, Chaos has not got enough dakka either sadly enough (Ever tried shooting down Fateweaver + Fiends/Crushers or a horde of TWC? Good luck) ... But apart from that he's completely right and therefore I have nothing to add. (Anti-tank is more important in this case than extra Dakka) Well I could go on and precisely explain why you take Oblits over Predators, but I don't think it's needed. Ask and thou shall receive though.

Chaos Vindicator

VT2: It's a vanilla vindicator that costs more, but lacks siege shield. Gav 'forgot' to give it a free stormbolter, so you have to pay for a basic, puny gun.
Strictly terrible, and not an obliterator.

Zjoekov: What VT2 means to say is that the Vindicator lacks as an Anti-tank platform and therefore is not an option. Apart from that the Vindicator has its own problems and these have been discussed to death on the internet.

The Chaos version has 1 sweet thing: Deamonic Possession! Yeah baby, you got a special upgrade which is usuable. It lets you ignore shaken and stunned, which is nice as suddenly not all 6 damage results hurt anymore. It does cost 20 points and reduces your BS to BS3, but you saw something like that coming already of course. Contradictionary to popular believe, BS3 does hurt scatter weapons. Not as much as non-scatter weapons, but enough to feel the pain of it.

Totally unusable? For high-end-play (whatever that might be), yes. Everything below you can gimp yourself and take them. How? 2 Vindicators, some Autocannon CSM, 1 squad of 3 Oblits and Termies with combies. Basicly instead of Vindicators supporting your list, you support the Vindicators. Wait, that sounds actually pretty bad and it is I guess. Well not my fault, I'm trying my best to help the Vindicator lovers out here!

Chaos Defiler

VT2: It's a fleeting dread, but it also has a battlecannon. Why, you ask? Not even Andy Chambers could answer that.
If you know anything about coversavehammer 40,000, you know that battlecannons shoot paint removal shells, so these primarily exist for beating people up in combat.
Three attacks base, two extra for additional combat implements, with the bonus for charging, all equals six massive attacks. Too bad it's 150 points. Massively high weaponskill 3 makes it terrible even at this job. What's that, Gav? It gets initiative 3, so all dreads ever kill it before it can even strike? Yeah, sure - why not.

Zjoekov: Deamonic Possession included in the cost at least, little boon here. Did we say that it's huge and AV12 like a Vendetta? But without anything to migitate this? Expect this thing to die. With a smaller model it wouldn't be half bad... at least if it didn't take your primary Anti-tank slot. *sigh*
Setup: Heavy Flamer will never see any use, take an extra DCCW instead. TL-Reaperawesomesausage? You can keep that; it's way better than a Battlecannon to reliably damage Av11 and below and we all know transports need to die. Actually, the fact that I mention this already shows that this unit doesn't work in the chaos codex: Assuming that you need to shoot the Reaper a lot? Now that's not why you wanted him did you?
All in all if you want to use him: See the Vindicator, same deal.

Chaos Land Raider

VT2: I know what you're thinking. "Did he reduce the cost 30 points by dumping the machine-spirit?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I kind of lost track of myself, but being as this is a land raider - the most powerful and expensive tank in the game - and would blow your librarian's head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?

No, you don't feel lucky.
This is a piece of shit. Never take these as dedicated heavy support choices, and never run them as gunboats.
As we established earlier, 'raiders come from terminators, with their sole reason for existing being busing khorneflakes around.

Chaos are so gimped, they lose the machine-spirit, but gain nothing from it. Gav even dared to tamper with the land raider's point cost. In case you didn't know, that's something not even Ward was allowed.
Alright, we fit possession on it. Slap a combi-melta on, too, because we want to pretend we're like the loyalist version. Still can't shoot two targets a turn. No, not even with the old, bad ballisticskill 2.

Combi-melta for 10 points? On my land raider? When loyalists pay 10 for a multi-melta? If Gav's involved, it's more likely than you think
Zjoekov: I'm a little less harsh on the Land Raider than VT2, but that doesn't mean I think it's good. I have to admit: I'm not really a fan of Land Raiders in any codex, there is something about them which I don't like. (I think it's the fact that once in a while you lose both to some lasscannon shots and outright lost the game there)

Thing is: 2 Oblits are 150 points. Land Raider is 220 points. The gap isn't that huge and they do perform the same main role (long range anti-tank) while the Land Raider gives you the option to act as a bunker for some troops too, while having Twin-linked weapons. Oblits die and so do Land Raiders. Land Raiders have no other gun options, but then again: You don't get to use those often with Oblits anyway. Land Raiders can screen your Princes and give cover to rhinos too.

I don't know, I'm getting confused now we're nearing the end of the Chaos Codex Review... It's like I'm carrying a heavy burden the whole time and frankly, I'm quite sick of it. I'm done with this codex.

No Deamonic Possession btw; the loss of the BS4 through the whole game hurts more than not shooting for a turn. Extra armour when you plan on delivering something. (for example Berzerkers or Terminators without 3++ and Frag Grenades)


Heavy Support suffers from the rest of the codex, you need (long range) Anti-tank and you can only somewhat get it here. The units themselves aren't that glorious either overall, some suffering from being overcosted and others from a bad model. Oblits are the obvious choice here (sorry) and Land Raiders or Predators are passable substitutions for them if you refuse to take them.

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