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The Chaos Space Marine Unit Guide - The Chaos Sorcerer

Submitted By: Irisado Date: May 7, 2013, 05:04:31 PM Views: 5911
Summary: The second part of the guide deals with how best to equip, and use, a Chaos Sorcerer in your army.

The Chaos Space Marine Unit Guide - The Chaos Sorcerer


Reasons to Take a Chaos Sorcerer in Your Army:

The Chaos Sorcerer is the embodiment of many aspects of Chaos.  Scheming, searching for arcane knowledge, and power, and looking to manipulate events in any way which can further his long-term goals.  This is reflected in his battlefield role, where he is less of a front line fighter than the Chaos Lord, whose close combat prowess he struggles to match, but his strengths lie in his ability to twist the battle in the favour of the Dark Gods through his use of psychic powers, usually from a distance.

Unlike the Space Marines Librarian, which is the go-to HQ filler choice for almost any codex he appears in, the Chaos Space Marine Sorcerer requires both more attention to detail, and a bit of a planning, to work properly.  You cannot simply toss him in, add a level or two, and expect him to work wonders for you.  The first critical decision if you are going to take a Chaos Sorcerer is whether he is going to be your army's warlord, or whether he is going to be a supporting HQ.  If you are only playing a small battle, the chances are that you can only afford one HQ anyway, so the decision is made for you, but if you are playing a larger game, this is a factor to consider.  In view of the fact that the Sorcerer tends to be more of a supporting character, it is probably better to make a Chaos Lord (assuming you are taking one) your army commander, since he is tougher, and more likely to survive if targeted.  Having the Warlord in the thick of fighting bolstering other units around him also lends weight to making a Lord a Warlord, rather than the Sorcerer.

Next you will have to decide if you want a mark, simply because this generally guides the direction of the rest of my army.  For the Chaos Sorcerer this can be even more important than was the case with the Lord, since it limits the psychic options, and adds other bonuses that influence subsequent choices.

Mark of Chaos and The Chaos Sorcerer:

Unmarked: Probably one of the more common Sorcerers given that none of the Gods' tables are that great, and the increased flexibility means that he can do pretty much whatever you wish.  Do you want to load up with a lot of flexible witchfire? Do you want to be in a good position to take as much of the interesting stuff out of a common discipline as possible?  All of this is possible with an unmarked Chaos Sorcerer.

Note that in all the marked cases you only have to pick one spell from the God of your choice's discipline, this is generally worth keeping in mind, since the three common disciplines a Sorcerer has access to are all fitting, and filled with some useful tools to bring down the Imperium of Mankind.  Also, note that you cannot pick more than half (rounding up) of your spells from your God's discipline, no going Mastery Level 3 to be sure of getting all the spells.  Unlike the other HQ choices, the Sorcerer may only take three of the Chaos Marks, and the Marks force you to choose some of your psychic powers from those of the Patron God:

Mark of Tzeentch: This guy has the chance of getting the very useful Doombolt power, which can be really effective, and means that he is a solid threat to any tank in the game.  Sadly, the other powers are mediocre at best.  Breath of Chaos is always useful, but there are better choices which have access to similar capabilities.  The mark will mean that for the cheap cost of an Aura of Dark Glory you get a solid invulnerable save.  You might want to go all the way by taking the Sigil, but I personally find it too expensive to be worthwhile.  You do also get access to Thousand Sons as troops which is helpful if you want to theme your list, but otherwise is not that much to get excited about.  All in all, the Master of Sorcery does not do too much for his favourite type of Champion, and if you field him on foot, and go for the expensive route, you are probably better off taking Ahriman.  He is resilient though, and if you go for the highest level he can be a good if mounted on a bike or, more appropriately, a Disc of Tzeentch.  This is also a choice where you should not be afraid to go for the force axe, with his invulnerable save the extra punch of the axe, the effect can be well worth it compared to the sword or stave.

Mark of Nurgle: Here we have the potential for useful powers.  This Sorcerer is as tough as you would expect from a Nurgle character, which can be quite beneficial to the usually fragile Sorcerer.  This also means that you might want to skimp on further protection, and if you do go for any other equipment, and still remain on foot, why not opt for Typhus?  This Sorcerer is especially suited to dealing with light infantry/horde armies, since the Primaris power is made to rip such units to shred at close range, and the three other powers are also very well suited to attack larger units, with or without a high toughness.  Gift of Contagion has the potential to be very nasty against any target your Plague Marines encounter, given that two out of the three results will make the close combat even harder for them, so if the rest of your army lacks such capacities why not fill them with a Sorcerer of Nurgle?

Mark of Slaanesh: Here we probably have the best discipline in the codex.  The Primaris power is really useful just to mess up units with.  Hysterical Frenzy should help out any close combat, and if you face Eldar, the initiative is also a nice bonus!  Symphony of Pain is, like Sensory Overload, a useful way to mess up a unit's capabilities, and the added bonus to any Noise Marines around is a nice little touch, but do not expect too much out of it.  The last power is probably the most disappointing, but it is still useful against hordes.  Another point is that the Mark of Slaanesh probably confers the smallest benefit out of the marks, but is still just as expensive, so you might want to make the most out of that, which means no axe, and perhaps taking a Steed of Slaanesh to outflank.

The other Psychic Disciplines:

A Chaos Sorcerer also has access to three of the main rulebook psychic disciplines: Biomancy, Pyromancy, and Telepathy.  Out of these, the one discipline that stands above the others is Telepathy.

Biomancy has some moderately useful witchfire powers, and a few blessings, that can help out the Sorcerer in close combat, which is where he should not be.  Out of the seven powers, only two are of great use, and those two are the Enfeeble, which will help the rest of your army to destroy a unit, and Endurance, which will help one of your units both be mobile, and resilient.  Iron Arm, and Life Leech, are also okay, but nothing special.  The Primaris is unimpressive.

Pyromancy comprises mainly witchfire powers, but none of them are especially great.  Flame Breath is okay as the Primaris power, and Molten Beam can be nasty, but of the others, only Fire Shield appears to be of much use, especially if you have a big Cultist mob or similar to protect.

As mentioned Telepathy should be the go to discipline unless you prefer to go with a particular God (in which case you should probably roll the other spell on the Telepathy discipline in most cases too).  So what is so great about it?  Well, first the Primaris power is always useful, Psychic Shriek has the same range as the other two lores’ Primaris witchfire powers, but has the potential to score a lot of wounds, which ignore all but invulnerable saves.  Second, very few of the other powers are actually in any way poor.  Only two of the powers are mediocre: Mental Fortitude and Terrify, and even these can still be useful, so they should not be ignored.  The real highlights though are Puppet Master, which allows you to gain control of an opposing model; Invisibility, which not only protects your unit from a lot of incoming fire, but also makes it more dangerous and resilient in close combat; and Hallucination, which can incapacitate a whole unit for a turn.  The last two will require two warp charges though.  Telepathy also has, in general, a greater range than the other disciplines, so if you are defensive in your style of play, you are more likely to be able to use your Sorcerer with this discipline, since more of the opposing army (and your own units for blessings) will be in range.

Level and Equipment:

The next major point of consideration is the Sorcerer's level.  Once again, the amount of points you have at your disposal will influence your thinking here, but so will your plans.  If you want your Sorcerer to just provide ranged fire support using Witchfire, then you may only want one power, so a basic Sorcerer is good enough, but if you want to take an approach which involves augmenting friendly units, weakening opposing units, and/or using Witchfire, then more mastery levels are essential.  Taking multiple levels is also strongly advised when there is a certain power from any of the psychic tables which you really want, in order to improve your chances of being able to get it.  The question of Mastery Level should not be too hard though; in the end you should never ever leave home without level 2, and you only go for level 3 if you have something specific in mind.

Once you have made these decisions, it is time to take a closer look at which other equipment is recommended for your Sorcerer. Unlike the Chaos Lord, who also shares the same level of access to toys as the Sorcerer, not a lot of the options should be considered for the Chaos Sorcerer, because his main role will always be his psychic powers, and if you field him without that in mind you might just as well go with another HQ.

Terminator Armour: Something worth considering if you plan to field your sorcerer on foot, or with Terminators/Mutilators, since it gives him access to a save which he cannot gain through any other equipment choices, and it is quite cheap.  Note that you do not have to lose out on an attack even in Terminator armour, simply switch the combi-bolter for a power weapon, preferably a maul or a sword, and leave the Force Weapon as an axe, so that you can be sure of cutting through and force kill the more resilient targets.  This Sorcerer build is excellent at leading a mob of Cultists, or bigger unit of Chaos Space Marines moving on foot.  Just make sure that you end up with psychic powers that are useful when advancing slowly, and can target distant opponents.  Again, if you field a Sorcerer of Nurgle going for Typhus is probably the best idea if you want to consider taking a Sorcerer in Terminator armour.

Aura of Dark Glory/Sigil of Corruption: Both are good choices, and you should probably not leave home without one of them.  I generally lean towards Aura of Dark Glory, simply because it is cheaper, and does the trick often enough for my taste.

Spell Familiar: It can be useful, but it is also expensive, so make sure you have the points to use it, otherwise it is an obvious source of scrounging some points for the rest of the list.

Mounts: Never hesitate when it comes to taking one of these.  They are all pretty useful, especially in view of the general short range of the psychic powers available to a Chaos Sorcerer, but the bike, Steed of Slaanesh, or Disc of Tzeentch, are particularly good choices.  Not only does a mount add speed, it also generally add resilience too (remember that the Disc of Tzeentch is a Jetbike so you do get a toughness bonus).

No Chaos Artefacts, including the Scrolls of Magnus, are of much use to a Sorcerer, given that the psychic might you pay for should fulfil this role.
 
Sample Sorcerers:

Sorcerer of Tzeentch     [160 pts]
Force Axe
Mastery level 2
Disc of Tzeentch
Aura of Dark Glory
Spell Familiar

The aim of the psychic powers here is to, hopefully, get Doombolt, but should that fail, you will most likely have Breath of Chaos to use.  Boon of Mutation should, sadly, be exchanged for Tzeentch's Firestorm, but, given the flexible mobility of the Sorcerer on a Disc, there could be some use in flying between some champions, or other characters, to give them a boon or two, before the battle lines are joined.  Pyromancy might be useful for the second power here, since, in general, this Sorcerer should be a menacing threat flying around shooting stuff, and hiding in different units, or, if necessary, even zipping around in the open, given his toughness and invulnerable save.  Should the opportunity arise do not be afraid to head into close combat and challenge a character.  Do not forget the Hammer of Wrath when doing so!  Good units to hide in will be fast resilient ones, so solid support would be Bikers or Spawn, but even a blob of Cultists, or a large unit of Thousand Sons, could be used in the early stages of the advance.


Terminator Sorcerer of Chaos     [122 pts]
Force Axe
Power Maul
Mastery Level 2
Terminator Armour

This guy is a good, and relatively cheap, choice for leading a mob of Cultists, something for Alpha Legion or Word Bearers perhaps.  The choice of powers is up for grabs.  You could go with one roll on Biomancy, in order to give him an extra edge in close combat, or possibly some witchfire, and then either spend a second roll on Biomancy, or go for Telepathy, if you want a guaranteed useful spell.

Sorcerer of Slaanesh      [145 pts]
Force Sword
Mastery Level 2
Steed of Slaanesh
Aura of Dark Glory

This guy should outflank with another unit.  Good units for that role include Spawn, Bikers, or Cultists, but most Chaos Space Marines units can make great use of outflank.  The aim when rolling for powers should be to get Hysterical Frenzy if outflanking with Cultists, or Spawn, or Ecstatic Seizures in other cases.  Sensory Overload is probably better than Symphony of Pain in this case.  The other power could be Biomancy if you feel you want something to make use of the Sorcerer's initiative, or Telepathy for general usefulness.

Sorcerer of Chaos The expensive route [170]
Force Sword
Mastery Level 3
Bike
Sigil of Corruption
Spell Familiar

This build I envision as a Night Lords Sorcerer.  He should go all out for Telepathy, only exchanging Mental Fortitude for Psychic Shriek, given that he has a Bolter on his bike, and that might not even be necessary if you face units which might be weak willed and flee.  Make the most of his rapid re-deployment to let your powers affect exactly what you want them to.  It is simply awesome to be able to turn one unit invisible, and, during the same turn, use your opponent's battle cannon to blast one of his own units!

Sorcerer of Chaos The cheap route [100]
Force Stave
Mastery Level 2
Aura of Dark Glory

The Renegade Chapter's Librarian and a personal favourite.  He is very cheap and flexible, able to jump between units, and ride in Rhinos.  His powers are, again, best picked from Telepathy.  Given that he is level two, you have access to the Warp Charge 2 powers, so whatever you get will be useful.  Should you end up with Mental Fortitude and Terrify, I would probably exchange the former for Psychic Shriek, and still have quite a decent set of powers at hand.  The Force Stave is there as another flexible addition, since it will allow you to damage vehicles, and against anything but Space Marines you will be a sure threat.

Benis and Irisado May 2013

Rating: ***** by 1 members.

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