Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Know Thy Enemy - Part 3: Chaos Space Marines

Been a while since I've posted but I thought I'd finally get round to writing another post in this series. Well so far we've done a xenos army and an Imperial army so it's about time the traitors got a look in. Time then to look at the Chaos Space Marines and see what they've got that we need to worry about.

The Basics
The CSM codex is one of the older books that is still very playable in 5th edition. There's rumours abound that we'll be treated to a new codex with the supposed 6th edition release. However, let's see what they've got to offer in their current guise. Like the Space Wolves they've got decent basic troops that have both bolter and a pair of CC weapons (although they are slightly more expensive than our greys).

Although some people theme their armies to followers of a particular Chaos god i.e. Thousand Sons, Khorne Berserkers or Plague Marines. Most armies will be a mixture of all four, combining the strengths of each.

Strengths and Weaknesses
As I've mentioned the basic troops are pretty nice on their own with Ld 10, bolter and pair of CC weapons on top of the normal marine statline they're pretty reliable. The strength of a CSM army lies in the other Troops options though. Some of these can seem like immovable objects at times and all are very capable in combat. 

Like any Space Marine army all their units are pretty hardy and will stand up to quite a lot of punishment. With some units being fearless and the rest having high leadership you're unlikely to make them run either.

Their main weakness is their cost. Whilst they have similar options to the loyalist Space Marine armies the same unit can be more expensive in a CSM army. This means that against a SW army you're likely to outnumber them. Don't be fooled though because high Ld and some very robust troops means that it won't seem like you have an advantage.

Most units seem like they're more expensive but are actually slightly better than their loyalist counterparts. Chaos Havocs for example are 15pts base (like long fangs) but their weapons are more expensive i.e. 20pts for a missile launcher and 35pts for a lascannon. However, even with a heavy weapon they still have two CC weapons so they'll have more chance of surviving an assault.

The other notable weakness is a lack of psychic defence. Their sorcerers don't have a psychic hood (or equivalent) but then they do have some nasty powers to make up for it.

5 Units to Watch Out For
Two wound terminators that are equipped with a range of heavy/special weapons and can choose which to fire. Sounds pretty nasty eh? They aren't cheap but with that amount of flexibility and the ability to deep strike it's difficult to see why your opponent wouldn't take them! They can choose from lascannon, multi-melta, plasma cannon, twin-linked plasma/melta/flamer. This means they're a threat at range and up close too.

Did I mention they've also got powerfists and 2A base just in case their firepower isn't enough?

Of the variety of HQ choices available the Daemon Prince seems to be the most popular and it's easy to see why. For a start they've got a really nice model but on the table they're pretty nasty. Monstrous creatures with WS7, 4 attacks at S6 and four wounds at T5.

Most people take them with wings and lash of submission. This basically means they can move like jump troops and pull units towards them before charging in and making a mess of them.
Khorne Berserkers are pretty deadly in combat. They've got WS5, 2 attacks base (4 on the change) and with Furious Charge not much will survive being assaulted by them. A 10 man squad will put out 40 S5 attacks on the charge! Fearless means you'll struggle to pick them off before being charged too!

They're often taken in rhinos with a skull champion bearing a power fist (with 3 base attacks!). Makes for a pretty expensive unit at 285pts but they don't usually struggle to pay for themselves.

Another hefty Troops choice comes in the form of Thousand Sons. Anyone familiar with the SW fluff will know that these guys should be our sworn enemies as wolf players! They're a shooty unit that isn't particularly great in combat but their main advantages are their Inferno Bolts (AP3) and the combination of 3+/4++ save with fearless means you won't shift them easily. Even if you charge them with a full unit of hunters or terminators you'll still be chewing through them a few turns later!

A squad of 10 in a rhino will cost a minimum of 312pts which means you won't face many of them though. They're not very maneuvrable with their Slow and Purposeful either so you'll most likely see them hugging objectives.

The behemoth of the Chaos Space Marine army, Abaddon is a combat monster who will deal with pretty much anyone in combat. He's got 2+/4++ armour, 4 wounds at T5 (with Eternal Warrior), upto 11 power weapon attacks on the charge at S8 and I6 which can re-roll to wound. Pretty nasty eh? He's not totally unstoppable but he'll still cause you a LOT of problems.

He'll normally be accompanied by a squad of terminators as an escort and probably in a land raider to give him the devastating charge.

Plague marines are one of the most durable units in the game with T5 and Feel No Pain not to mention their defensive grenades mean you'll lose your charge bonus. The Defiler can put out a punishing amount of firepower and fights like a dreadnought in combat. Chaos Terminators aren't all that different to their loyalist equivalent but are always nasty and can be equipped with a good variety of weapons.

How to beat them with Space Wolves
Like any other MEQ army you've got to make them take as many armour saves as you can or hit them with low AP weaponry. Although a lot of their units are hard to shift most of them can be ignored until you've dealt with the main threats. They'll rely on transports to get their berserkers and thousand sons into range just like you will so it's a good idea to have your long fangs de-meching them as soon as you can. Berserkers aren't all that durable out in the open so concentrate some fire on them to reduce the impact of their charge. Like BA they rely on getting the charge to be truly deadly so if you can prevent this they'll not be as lethal.

Your rune priests should be pretty effective at shutting down their daemon princes and sorcerers and it's important that you position them to cover as much of the field as possible. Use your long fangs to soften up the daemon princes so you've got a better chance against them in combat. They'll ordinarily only have a 5+ invuln. save so krak missiles should deal with them nicely. 

Similarly, make obliterators take as many saves from S8 weapons as possible as they'll suffer instant death if they roll a 1 from krak missiles. Lascannons should be pretty effective at evaporating them! Since there's likely to be deep striking terminators try to ensure your obvious targets are well protected from this kind of attack.

Abaddon can be pretty tricky to deal with but the likes of Logan will provide an interesting match up!

1 comment:

  1. Hang on a minute? Thousand Sons???? They're a waste of points and Berserkers aren't much better. How about this:

    1. Oblits - correct!
    2. PlagueMarines - T5 3+ 4+ gives them Terminator-esque toughness in a troops choice. Going against them ... expect plasmaguns and to lose some attacks on the way in.
    3. Deamon Prince - tasty but a big target.
    4. Chaos Terminators - lightning claws, a priest yelling 'get over here' and I5 ... can you play?
    5. Lesser Deamons ... while they are meh against marines, at T4, S4 and 5++ - they chew guardsmen and can turn any unit with an icon (even terminators for like 5 pts) into a scoring units.


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