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Ebon's Top Five Units from Codex Chaos Space Marines (Not Including the Heldrake)

Submitted By: Ebon Star Date: January 20, 2016, 02:55:17 PM Views: 1116
Summary: Exactly what it says on the tin. Come revel dark ones as the meta itself weeps.

If you have not seen the debates, people are complaining vociferously about the poor old Chaos Space Marines not being updated. I accept that Chaos is long overdue for an update, I genuinely do, but the extent to which some are protesting would have you believe that it is some Tyranid or Sisters of Battle level abomination of a book.

As for what I think, is the book long overdue for an update? Yes. Should the Imperial Knights, Tau and Space Marines have been updated last year? Yes, but also no. Is it bad? Not in the slightest.

I have spent a good amount of time on hand with the book, and this was discussed for some time at the FLGS before it closed up (commend their souls to the Emperor and all that).  The general consensus was that the book is actually quite strong. Not Tau or Eldar power level granted, but it seems like Chaos Players are not happy unless it is the 3.5 Edition Chaos Codex.

I am here to disprove that. How? By talking at great length about the five greatest Units in the Codex. Now bear in mind this is all my own opinion. I should also mention that since we all know it is the most broken unit in the book, the Helldrake is going to be omitted from this list. Because putting that at #1 would be lazy, not to mention that it goes against my opinion on the Helldrake (which is not very high if you have not noticed by now).

The list:

#5 Cultists

Chaos can do hordes. They could as of the Gav Thorpe book, but you are often paying a lot of points. Granted a Horde of MEQ armoured (with Plague Marine toughness if you paid for a Mark of Nurgle), troops is very hard to get rid of (unless your opponent brought large blast low AP weapons, although this is what unit coherency is for), but it is expensive. You can certainly use a squad like this, but for the points you are better off getting a Hording Cult Marines. What can be done?

Enter the Cultists!

Cultists are one of the new additions to the Chaos book as of sixth edition. They are basically Guardsmen with worse armour and weaker guns, so why take them?  Because they are cheap.

In an army you pay for at a premium, being cheap is a massive boon. How cheap? Well two maximum sized squads of Cultists cost under 400 points if you choose to arm them with Autoguns and Heavy Stubbers. Cultists can be taken in up to large units of up to 35, and go well with both options. A Cultist squad with combat weapons can be a scary prospect in the same sense a unit of Ork Boyz are (provided you can get them there) and are at worse a distraction that your opponent must pour fire upon lest they overwhelm him. Equipped with Autoguns and Heavy Stubbers, these guys can put out enough shots to rival an Ork Shoota mob at close range, with average ballistic skill to boot.  This means that they will hit more often than said Orks. Their highly expendable nature is also a massive boon. They can simply be sent to die, allowing the more premium units to do their job.

The reason they are at Number five, however, is largely down to the fact they lack a proper boxed release. This means that if you just want the Cultists, you either have to pay five pounds for a box of three Cultists, each armed with vastly different weapons, or head off to the eBay scalpers who must be making a fortune off these guys.

#4 Helbrute

The Chaos Dreadnaught is an absolute waste of points. For all the power you need to pump into it, it’s Crazed rule means that it’ll spend more time shooting your own side with... Oh, what’s that? They replaced it? Who says that the Dark Gods are not generous?

The Helbrute replaces the Chaos Dreadnaught, and it is making up for lost time. The customisation this unit has is insane. While it is slightly more restricted than its Imperial cousin, its broad selection of weapons makes this almost a non-issue. Among the list of weapons this build your own deathbot includes are Autocannons, Power Scourges, Plasma Cannons, Thunder Hammers, Multi Meltas, and Power Fists (which can have integrated Combi-Boltguns or Heavy Flamers).

It is an exceptionally fun unit to throw at the enemy is my point. Sure it does not have Drop Pods, but then if you are worried about its survivability, that is what Warpsmiths are for. This already gives it a huge boon over the Meta-Dreadnaught, since it can keep pace with your forces and lay down supporting fire, or charge on ahead and draw fire.

What of the Crazed rule? This went from being “do not use this ever” to “this might make the unit appeal more”. For those not in the know, the table has changed, but you will just have to take a peak in the Chaos codex to see exactly how.  I assure you that you will find it to be a colossal improvement over the old table.

#3 Cult Marines

“Cult Marines” is a broad term, so for reference this one covers four units: Thousand Sons, Plague Marines, Khorne Berzerkers and Noise Marines. They all occupy the same slot because contrary to what the meta will tell you. All four of these are good in their own way.

Plague Marines are already very tough, but the addition of Feel No Pain makes them even more resilient. Even better, the changes made to Feel No Pain from 6th Edition onwards mean that only strength 10 weaponry will bypass its save. They also have poisoned weapons for close combat, which is a nice bonus on top of all of this.

Given the increasing shifts from both GWs and the Meta towards high strength, high AP weapons, it always surprises me that Thousand Sons do not see more play. Their solid invulnerable save is a big deal combined with their power armour, which gives them the ability to laugh at a Tau player overcharging his Ion Accelerator. The addition of a mastery level 1 Sorcerer gives the squad extra fire power for when low AP Boltgun ammo will not cut it.

Despite everyone complaining, Khorne Berserkers are still one of the scariest things to get into hand-to-hand combat. If you can get these guys up the field, these crazed nutters can rip and tear to pieces just about anything they can get their hands on, providing it is not a vehicle. The addition of Furious Charge and Counter Attack also combine to make an already unpleasant combat unit even nastier. Plus, they are not Possessed.

Finally, the Noise Marines. Poor, underutilised Noise Marines. These Saints Row enthusiasts have access to their own Dubstep Guns that while not as explosive, seem very mediocre on paper, given their medium level strength and high AP. These weapons, however, ignore cover, which immediately turns them into infantry blenders. Add in a Blastmaster and you have a squad that can remove just about anyone. Got an army of cover camping, gunline loving, boring enemy units at the opposite end of the field? Call in the Noise Marines. They can, unlike most dedicated shooting units, defend themselves in close combat effectively as well, thanks to their Doom Sirens, high initiative and their ability to buy additional close combat weapons.

The best part is that a Chaos Lord can make three out of four of these units troops. The Sorcerer can also make Thousand Sons troops, because Sorcerers were not mint enough already, apparently.

The only reason that the Cult Marines do not go any higher is some of the frankly bizarre decisions around them. Dear Games Workshop, why do I have to buy the iconic weapons for my Khorne Berzerkers and Noise Marines? You could make an argument that the Noise Marines are still a Finecast upgrade kit, but the Khorne Berzerkers have been a plastic kit. In addition, it is not as though you are going to arm them with anything else. A Noise Marine armed with a Boltgun might as well be a Chaos Space Marine with the Mark of Slannesh. By this logic, I expect Thousand Sons to have to buy Inferno Bolts and Plague Marines to buy their Plague Knives in the next book.

#2 Sorcerers

I had gone back and forth on these guys. See, the HQ line up is the most solid category in the Chaos Codex. Chaos Lords are melée powerhouses, the Dark Apostle is an infantry buffer who is essentially a must-have in any army taking large hordes of infantry (especially Cultists), the Warpsmith can keep your vehicles running and curse enemy vehicles (which is always good for a laugh) and the Daemon Prince is essentially the best parts of the Chaos Lord and the Sorcerer with wings and can take Chaos Artefacts. That Black Mace is suddenly a lot scarier with the Daemon Prince’s innate low AP value from being a Monstrous Creature behind it.

However, I picked the Sorcerer because he single handily destroys the notion about the Chaos codex that everything Loyalist (specifically Space Marine) is “oh so much better than our stuff”, and that everything Chaos has access to is poor and foolish. Well, the Sorcerer asks that you gaze upon the majesty of his towering pillar of hats and uber warp skills.

Like all of the Chaos HQ units, the Sorcerer does need points pumped into him. However, compared to his loyalist cousin, the Sorcerer smashes him out the park and into the Eye of Terror. For starters, Sorcerers can be upgraded to mastery level 3 (and if you take Ahriman instead of a Vanilla Sorcerer, he is mastery level 4). In a game where most armies can only reach level 2 outside of special characters, Chaos has as much psychic potential as armies like Eldar, even if you are going to do very different things with them. He can also fight pretty well in combat, unlike those Farseer pansies.

Finally, the psyker tables he can roll on are excellent, even if he does not have access to Divination (and if you want that, go play Crimson Slaughter and take that Artifact that gives him access to it). He can access Biomancy for buffing (which makes ‘Nids jealous immediately), Pyromancy for burning things in (un)holy fire, Telepathy for making your opponent experience playing any GW licensed Video Game made since THQ collapsed and Daemonology for summoning extra minions or banishing them. Yes, he gets Santic Demonology too. For some reason. I blame Malal.

Did I mention they can make Thousand Sons Troops?

#1 Forgefiends

Yes.

Sorry, you want an explanation? Forgefiends are the daemon horses from hell that go into almost any list. While your opponent is making My Little Pony jokes and calling you a Brony for taking one, the Forgefiend is busy laughing at him while cutting down his prized troops. I almost always run these things in pairs for a good reason.

The Forgefiend has two weapon configurations. The first is my favourite since it is good in just about any situation. The Hades Autocannon fires a high strength, medium AP, savlo which is capable of glancing to death anything which is not a heavy tank. It is especially lethal to flyers, as this monster can glance to death the likes of even Stormravens. This is where I prove mathshammer to be utter nonsense spouted only by Goldfish. See, I am informed that the average amount of sixes rolled for a Forgefiend is one. I have consistently managed to get three, and my luck when rolling dice is abysmal. It is abysmal to the point where my bad dice rolling has ensured my opponent’s victory, yet it does this every single game.

Besides, if you are really worried about those misses, you can take allies now. This means Daemon Hearlds of Tzeench with Divination. Or playing Crimson Slaughter. Re-rolls make this thing all the meaner, to the point where giving this thing Skyfire would simply be cruel.

Then there are the Ectoplasma Cannons. Higher strength Plasma Cannons. This means Instant Death. This means “Space Marines? What Space Marines?”. For extra meanness, you can give it a third Ectoplasma Cannon, and you can do this even if you keep the Autocannons.

So many Grey Knights died that day.

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