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The Chaos Space Marine Unit Guide - The Chaos Lord

Submitted By: Irisado Date: March 20, 2013, 06:24:55 PM Views: 4575
Summary: A guide to building an effective Chaos Lord for your Chaos Space Marine army.

The Chaos Lord

Why take a Chaos Lord to lead your army?

The Chaos Lord is the iconic HQ of Chaos Space Marines, a monstrous general with vicious abilities, and access to a lot of gear makes for the most flexible close combat character in the book.  He is also the nastiest HQ in cost effectiveness terms to boot.  If you just want an HQ for the purpose of filling the necessary slot, a Chaos Lord brings a lot to the table for a cheap cost.  He can bolster a squad's morale, which can be especially good for cultists, he has the potential to be very lethal depending on marks and wargear, and he has the capacity to allow you to field one type of the elite section's Cult Marines as troops, with the exception of Thousand Sons.  He also has access to several ways of improving his speed, in that he can join a unit in a transport, ride a bike, which has the added benefit of increasing his durability, get a jump pack, which gives him a variety of different mobility options, or select a daemonic steed of his God, which will most often be the fastest choice, and also adds other bonuses.

Compared to other HQ choices the Chaos Lord does not necessarily require you to construct much of the army list around him, he can quite easily work within a somewhat fixed structure, due to his plain bonuses of morale and deadliness at a fair cost.  The two closest entries to a Chaos Lord without taking marks into consideration are the Dark Apostle and the Daemon Prince.  While the Dark Apostle adds further support effects, he does so at an increased price, and he lacks the variety of options open to the Chaos Lord, as well as having a much less impressive stat line.  The Daemon Prince goes in the other direction.  Being a monstrous creature with fearsome characteristics it is deadlier, but it lacks the flexibility and boosting effects of the Chaos Lord.  The Lord stands in the middle ground, being able to dish out damage, and help his fellow villains.  If you are unable to decide between the other two, you cannot really go wrong if you take a Lord!

A Chaos Lord is a cheap and cheerful way to get the necessary HQ.  You do not have to spend much beyond 100 points to get a good deal, and if you choose to fiddle around a bit with the wargear options, you can create some quite useful combinations with which to harass your opponent.  He is also always a fitting entry for whichever theme you are using, since no Chaos Space Marine force looks strange being led by a Chaos Lord, for he is the final transition of a mortal champion, and a position coveted by any Chaos Space Marine worth his salt.

Chaos Lords and Marks

If you want to dedicate yourself to one of the Chaos Gods, and plan to run a Chaos Lord, then it is worth considering what you want him to bring to the table in comparison to the special character with the same mark.  For example, it is not much use running a Chaos Lord of Khorne on foot when compared to Khârn, unless you have a particular aim in mind, such as saving points.

An unmarked Lord gives you a cheap leader with flexibility.  He is a solid option if you have a particular theme you want to adhere to, or you just want to field as cheap a leader as possible.  If you do run him on foot you should check to see that Huron, with his flexible weapon set up and fixed warlord trait, is not a better choice though.

Tzeentch: This Lord does not help with any Cult Marines, he does, however, make for one very tough character if also equipped with the Sigil of Corruption.  Mounted on a Disc of Tzeentch, he is very fast, but sadly there are not that many good units for him to join, but if you fit him with the Sigil you have a tough nut that can sort out smaller units all on his own. This mark is also a clearer choice when it comes to a comparison with Arhiman.  Arhiman is a sorcerer dedicated to using psychic powers, so if you want a close combat equipped Tzeentch HQ, this is the route to go down.

Khorne: The Lord of Khorne gives you access to Berzerkers as troops, which can be very useful.  He also has access to the Axe of Blind Fury which is quite a nasty weapon (see below).  The Juggernaut of Khorne is also a very viable option for a swift and tough approach to slaying the opposition.  The Chaos Lord is also in a very good position to make use of rage, given his options for mobility, and he is also in a position to supply some accurate shooting options for a dedicated Khorne list, either through the Brand or through combi-weapons.

Nurgle: As is the case with the Tzeentch Lord, the Lord of Nurgle is one tough character, and, in common with the Khorne Lords, he also grants the Cult Marines of his God troops status.  This can be particularly useful, in view of the versatility, and resilience, of Plague Marines.  Sadly, the Palanquin is not really that useful, although it is not a terrible choice.  He is similar in one other aspect to the Lord of Tzeentch: if you do not plan to field a Terminator HQ and you want a close assault oriented independent Nurgle character, the Chaos Lord is absolutely one of the best choices.  Do not skimp on the Blight grenades though!

Slaanesh: The last of the marks for the Chaos Lord is that of Slaanesh, which adds quite a useful ability, especially when used in conjunction with Champion of Chaos special rule, since it means that you will most likely strike before other characters in an assault.  Just like the last two marks, this one grants access to the Cult Marines of the God, Noise Marines.  While not overly excellent as troops, you do get a solid unit that can be equipped for multiple roles.  He also has access to speed on two legs in the form of a Steed of Slaanesh, which is incredibly fast and can be used in junction with another squad to let them outflank.  Here you would be wise to compare him to Lucius though.  The mundane Lord's edge lies in price, mounts, protection, and not least, access to powerful AP without having to pass armour saves, but you may not wish to give up the high initiative in exchange for such weaponry.


Icon of Wrath: Perhaps the best or second best Icon for a Lord.  It will give your Lord a nice boost to his strength, which can make the critical difference between wounding on a 3+ instead of a 4+.  Additionally, the secondary effect makes it more likely that the Lord and his unit will make it into combat.  If you field your Lord with a Jump Pack, this will allow you to use the pack in the movement phase and still receive this bonus.

Icon of Flame: Having this affect all all your Bolt weapons could be useful, however, while you would have a lot of chances to set units on fire, you can only ever have one counter on a unit at a time.  If you happen to be running a Tzeentch Lord with a Tzeentch Unit, and you have nothing else to spend the points on, why not?

Icon of Despair: The effectiveness of this Icon would really depend on your local meta, since all Marine armies would be unaffected.  On the other hand, this is often one of the cheapest Icons to take (assuming you are already spending the points on Mark of Nurgle), and you should not forget the other function which all the Icons have when it comes to calculating the close combat results.

Icon of Excess: Perhaps the second best Icon.  While the Icon is extremely expensive, it is hard to argue with the benefits it confers.  It gives the Lord that extra bit of survivability that can make or break the game, not to mention his whole squad.  Potential recipients could include Slaaneshi Terminators, Bikes, or even Raptors.

Icon of Vengeance: This is likely the least useful of all, at least pertaining to a Lord, since the Lord already embodies its bonuses.  The only benefit comes from the generic bonus conferred by all Icons, or if you potentially foresee the Lord needing to leave the unit, and you want the unit to maintain its morale boost.

Power Armour, Terminator Armour, and transports:

The Chaos Terminator Lord, Terminator bodyguard and Land Raider:

This is a very expensive combination, and certainly not one which I would recommend for battles of fewer than 1850 points, but some Chaos players like this approach.  This is also a good way to deliver close ranged comb-weapon fire power from your Lord (and accompanying Terminators), or successfully allow the Terminators and the Lord to smash into an opponent's battle line to punch a hole through it in an assault.

In terms of weapon options, this depends on how versatile you want the Lord to be.  If you are going for close combat power, then dual Lightning Claws make for a good choice, especially if the Terminator squad is also mainly configured for assaults.  A more versatile option is to take a specialist combi-weapon to combine with the Power Weapon, and this is more suitable if you do not want your Lord to be a one trick pony.  Regardless of role though, power weapons which do not allow the Lord to strike at his initiative are not recommended, as this is a waste of his close combat capability.

Chaos Lord in Power Armour:

He is much more flexible than the Terminator equipped Lord in terms of weapon and transport choices, and is capable of joining a wide variety of squads.  In terms of equipment, this is strongly governed by the unit which he joins, but I advocate placing him in a squad which, if not dedicated to assaulting, is at least remotely capable in an assault, otherwise his abilities are wasted.

If you decide not to give him any of the pieces of equipment to increase his mobility, you may wish to consider attaching him to a squad which has a Rhino transport.  This is a particularly good plan if you are fielding a very mobile force, or you plan on using Rhinos to get various squads into defensive firing positions, whereby your Lord and his unit can then act as a counter assault squad should opposing units try to assault your forces.  If you are going to opt for this counter attack plan though, remember that you will need to have disembarked from your Rhino a turn in advance, so make sure that your Lord and his unit are screened by cover, or out of the line of fire, so that your opponent does not spoil your scheme by shooting the squad to death.


There are some very useful pieces of special issue wargear, rewards, and artefacts which could also be put to good use by the Lord:

The Sigil of Corruption: This is particularly useful for the Lord in power armour to help to keep him alive, and is boosted even further if you take the Mark of Tzeentch, but it is expensive, so may chew up valuable points which you could find that you need to spend elsewhere.

Gift of Mutation: If you fancy a gamble to bolster your Lord before the game starts, then this cheap reward could be quite useful.  You could even end up with something quite handy.

Aura of Dark Glory: A cheaper and less effective version of the Sigil of Corruption, which again can be enhanced by the Mark of Tzeentch.  This is probably more likely to be chosen relative to the Sigil if you're playing smaller battles.  It is certainly a solid defensive upgrade for your Lord.

Dimensional Key: This looks quite fun for defending certain key areas of the table, particularly a critical objective, from assaults, but it is pretty expensive for what it does in my opinion.

Burning Brand of Skalathrax: This gives me images of setting things on fire in a rather spectacular manner.  It looks quite handy for torching MEQs, and could be handy against low toughness GEQs, particularly if they stay alight.  On the downside, it is very expensive, so if you think that you can get the job done with regular Flamers from units, such as Chaos Space Marines, Cultists, or Chosen, you may want to avoid this.  Pairing up a Chaos Lord equipped carrying this weapon with a unit of Chosen equipped with Flamers though would certainly be a pretty nasty anti-infantry unit though.

Axe of Blind Fury:  All you Khorne Lord users might be tempted by this, but it is not cheap.  It has the potential to really slice through just about anything though, so it is a very thematic choice, thus If you want to have some fun, by all means take it.  It would certainly be fitting if you plan to attach your Lord to a squad of Berzerkers.

The Murder Sword: Great if you can get into an assault with the character you want to kill, but this is going to be difficult, unless you mount your Lord in a transport, but even then, your opponent could just tie him up with other units, or have another character accept a challenge in an assault.  In many respects, it is nothing more than a very expensive Power Sword, but if it frightens your opponent to such an extent that he compromises the positioning and use of the model you have nominated to be its victim, then it could be a worthwhile investment.

The Black Mace:  Handy against low toughness armies with medium to low armour, such as Eldar and Dark Eldar.  It is expensive, but has potential to be pretty nasty against these armies, so if they are your regular opponents, you might want to consider taking this.  It is less useful against MEQ armies, in the hands of the Chaos Lord that is......

Editors: Benis & Irisado
Authors: Benis, Galerazorwind, Irisado & Raktra
March 2013

Rating: **** by 1 members.


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