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Monday, October 24, 2011

GWvsJohn talks Chaos: Noise Marines

Ruinous Powers

Our uncompromising march through the tolerable options in Codex: Chaos Space Marines continues with a popular, but often misunderstood choice, the Noise Marines. The Emperor's Children are one of the coolest legions. Noise Marines have awesome fluff. They have traditionally had cool minis. Overall, there are a lot of reasons to like the noise boys. However, there are just as many reasons to dislike them. The Noise Marines might be the perfect example of why the Chaos Space Marines not only need a new codex, they need an entire redesign.

Every unit needs specific rules to transform them from background to battleground. For some, it's easy. A guardsman has grenades and a lasgun. For others, it's a little more difficult, but still straightforward, like combat tactics, ATSKNF. For the esoteric chaos units it becomes a challenge. Noise Marines are characterized (in the fluff) by their need/desire for sensory overload and their use of sonic weapons. In the current codex, sonic weapons are way overcosted, but the concept is decent. Ranged weaponry with multiple statlines to represent differents pitches. It fits the background and it fills a niche in the army list. Make them cheaper and everyone is happy. The sensroy overload translation is a different story. Somehow that becomes +1 initiative. WTF? Don't misunderstand me, +1 init is a prefectly fine bonus for a CC squad. Unfortunately, Noise Marines carry upgraded guns, making them a shooty unit. Now that init bonus is almost totally worthless. This is a problem. Fix Noise Marines GW. Don't tweak the Chaos Codex for 5th/6th. Totatlly re-write it. People will buy models. I promise.

Anyway, despite my ranting, Noise Marines actually have a place in a "competitive" CSM list. As mentioned previously, one of the biggest (if not the singular biggest) problem with the Chaos Codex is a lack of range. Chaos Marines can bring 3 units with any real range from the HS slot and that's it. No, 175 point autocannon/plasma guns squads don't count. Not by a longshot. Outside HS, Noise Marines are the only unit that can even think about bringing any ranged threat. I see 2 real options

125 - 5 Noise Marines - 5 Sonic Blasters

This squad can put out an impressive 15 bolt shots at 24" or 10 and stay mobile. Now 125 points for 15 s4 shots is hardly a bargain, but they also score. This squad can advance turn 1 and put out some anti-infantry shots. Stay still turns 2-4 and put our more anti-infantry. Then fall back to objectives turns 5+ while still putting out bolt shots. Fearless and a comparative lack of threat means they will probably be a low priority target and survive many games. They also give some protection to your oblits and preds since they do have bp/ccw and i5. Not a great squad, but it's not going to hurt your list to bring it. As I've said before, Chaos Rhinos are good, so bring one with a combi or havoc for added NM mobility, extra cover and backup transports for your melta squads. If you need objective holders and anti-infantry, this is your squad.

140 - 5 Noise Marines - Blastmaster

Before we go further, yes, 140 points is a lot for (effectively) a missile launcher. This is the CSM codex though, so we expect to overpay for everything. The squad does exactly what you need it to. A ranged anti-tank shot, with some anti-troop capability (s8 ap3 blast might scare some stuff). Fearless plus range keep it safe on an objective. Only 1 shooter, so cover should be easy. As above, decent CC protection and a rhino option. Should the squad need to get going, 2 36" s5 shots isn't anything special, but it's better than almost anything else in the codex. Overall an overcosted, but not terrible unit.

The comparison, obviously, is the previously mentioned 175 point auto/plas squad. I think the Noise Marines are better, but let's compare. First cost. Chaos lists are more point starved than any other codex. Every saving helps. Those 35 points mean another terminator, half an oblit or bringing plague marines over normal CSM for your melta. It's a significant difference in any book, only magnified in the CSM book. Next anti-tank. 3 s7 shots vs a s8 blast seems like an easy win for the CSM, but one of those shots is only 24". Given that we want this squad to sit back and hold objectives, it's really 2 s7 shots vs 1 s8 shot. A autocannon is a better AT weapon than a missile launcher, so slight edge to the CSM. Now anti-troop. The CSM stick with their 2 s7 shots, while the Noise Marines have an ID eager s8 blast and pinning. Edge to the NM. Next survivability. Fearless vs 5 extra ablative wounds. It's a tough comparison. I like the reliability of fearless, but I udnerstand the counter argument. I think it's a wash. Defensive capabilities. The CSM bring twice as many bolters, the plasma and extra bodies. Clear win for the CSM when things get <24". Finally mobility. The CSM squad is bigger and clumsier and loses almost all real shooting on the move. The NM squad is more compact and can put out 2 s5 shots. No comparison. To me the squads are comparable, but the Noise Marines are 35 points cheaper. If you need range and objective holders, I'd go with the Noise Marines.

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