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"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Armies in 5th: Chaos Space Marines Part 1: Mobility

Well it’s been a while since one of these. Armies in 5th are back! To jog your memories Armies in 5th articles analyse how an army operates in 5th edition and is not a codex review. These articles will tackle common misconceptions around the internet on how the reviewed armies are percieved and hopefully provides insight into how 40k works and the specific army reviewed. This new edition of Armies in 5th will focus on Chaos Space Marines and once GWvsJohn is working less, hopefully he’ll continue his CSM Codex review. This codex is commonly thought of as one of the better books out there by the internet forums thanks to special troops such as Plague Marines backed by the power of Obliterators and ‘cheese’ of Lash. However, the book of Chaos suffers quite significantly to other books with FoC problems and this is not shored up enough by decent Troops, HQ and Heavy choices.

You’ll notice the title of this article is mobility and whilst Chaos are generally no less mobile than any other 12” mech based army, there is far less scope for their mobility in being able to destroy tanks quickly, tie up units or block. Some armies like SM variants have Land Speeders which can quickly run out and drop a couple of MM shots into a Land Raider and either kill it or block it. Tau & Imperial Guard can do this as well with Vendettas and Piranhas. And all of these are 12” move based armies. However, not all competitive SM and IG use Speeders/Vendettas so is Chaos really suffering in competitiveness or simple flexibility in army design? Because SM & IG can generate signiticant firepower from the rest of their army list. I.e. Artillery, Russes, Rbacks, Chimeras, Preds, Dreads, etc. Chaos are at a disadvantage in terms of firepower and applicability. Whilst their Dreads are capable, they aren’t putting out 4 S7 TL’D shots (imagine that on Fire Frenzy!). Their Troops, particularly Plague Marines who don’t have heavy weapons, cannot put out the firepower IG Platoons, Vets, Chimeras, Tac Squads, Razorbacks, etc. can at range and nothing in CSM codex remotely compares to AB Squadrons, Land Speeders, Vendettas, Hellhound variants or Sentinels. This means the Chaos codex is relying quite significantly on their Heavy Support to provide long-ranged firepower through Oblits and Preds.

This is where their lack of effective fast and mobile melta hurts Chaos. Raptors and CSM Bikes are both capable of running around and dropping melta into things, especially bikes who can turbo-boost. However, both of these squads are woefully inefficient costing you ~100+ points for a meltagun and therefore used minimally. The combined lack of movement outside of 12” and good suppression fire outside of Heavy Support puts CSM on the back foot in terms of mobility. Other 12” move armies will often easily outshoot CSM (which limits their mobility; see Suppression Fire) or be able to outshoot them and have 12”+ move units such as Speeders. Against armies which move 12”+ such as BA, Eldar & DE, CSM don’t have the firepower to limit their mobility enough to get close or the mobility to keep up. This is largely due to their lack of effective Fast Attack choices but also because of their lack of effective firepower acorss the FoC.

This is not to say CSM are a static army list but rather are limited in their applicability on the battle-field against other 5th edition armies who are often more mobile or more shooty than the best CSM lists. This is a pre-cursor that effects their whole entire codex and is really the main issue they are not as competitive as people think. Comparing their Troops/HQ/Heavy to other armies directly and they don’t come off that badly but their lack of effective Fast Attack and so-so Elites really puts a damper on their ability to create competitive, balanced lists. Much like Orks, Chaos are a decent army but on a level below that of the top armies.

Next article will cover how this disadvantage for Chaos is expounded by the general lack of sacrifical units available to Chaos and the high direct cost or opportunity cost of the ones they do have access to.

7 pinkments:

Anonymous said...

˙ǝɹnʇnɟ ǝɥʇ uı ssǝɔɔns ǝɹoɯ uıɐƃ noʎ ɥsıʍ ı

¡dn ʇı dǝǝʞ ˙pooƃ sʞooן ƃoןq ɹnoʎ
¿noʎ ǝɹɐ ʍoɥ ¡oןןǝɥ

Kildash said...

yeah... cause that does NOT make me want to stab your eyes out, Argentina ^^

P.S.: cool article Kirby, i'm eagerly anticipating the next :)

Unknown said...

That's the most unqiue compliment I've gotten. Props for that =p. lol

VT2 said...

Everything costs more, and you only get so much anti-tank.
No usable fast attack, heavy support is always used for obliterators or defilers, one of your two good troops require a land raider to function, the other doesn't like sitting that close to people, because it dies in assault, your one great HQ is a monster, so gets singled out easily...

It's a very big mess.
"But they're still good! They kick my ass!" Put some assault terminators on the field. You've won.
Put down a rhino herd. You've won.

Like dark angels, units cost more. It might not seem like a big deal, but it is.
In the end, they'll have less units than you - a prince, two units of plague marines in rhinos, one berserker squad in rhino, one on foot, two squads of obliterators, two small units of suicidal terminators, and a single land raider for the foot berserkers.

Marines can fit in three units of sternguard, a librarian, three predators, two tactical squads, an assault squad in rhino for the librarian to hide in, multiple landspeeders, scouts, and still have points over for upgrades and more units.

Anonymous said...

absolutely dead on assessment.

It's seriously about time somebody addressed the elephant in the room. Codex CSM is subpar at best. Everybody else gets the same stuff for cheaper and in larger quantities on cheaper platforms.

Also, CSMs have absolutely no utility at all. There are no global effects like IG orders, or characters with aura buffs to units around them. You pay, and pay high prices, for absolutely every little tiny stat buff.

All the loyalists have passive( and free) bonuses in the forms of banners, character specials, or just plain given to them by the codex (combat squads).

CSM codex is terrible, anybody that says otherwise is spamming lash and oblits cause that is the ONLY viable list in the entire codex.

Tim said...

Right, so I don't play as CSM ever, but I've noticed that whenever I play against them, I stomp them with my tau and they never get close. NOw I know.

But, what about a list that's core is something like this?
5 x 5 CSM with Melta, Sarge with combi-melta, Rhino with Havoc Launcher
3x3 OBlits.

Would that make a good start for an army (it comes to about 1200 methinks)

I ask because that's kind of the next army I have in mind.

Unknown said...

It's a solid core OSH but expensive for what it does (think it's around 1400+, with 6 Oblits it'd be 1250). Consider a BA list can grab 3x Rifle Dreads and 5x5 ASM in RBacks w/2x melta (melta + infernous and 35 pointupgrades on RBack) for 1235. Same can be done for SW, etc.

You can still run with 6 Oblits and then add in 3x Dread w/MM/HF & 2x DP and be sitting around 1930 points which isn't a bad army but is still suffering in comparison to other armies out there/

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