Tactica Chaos Marines: Elites
Heya folks and welcome back to The Dice Abide for this week's continuation of the Chaos Space Marine tactica. This week, we'll go over the Elites choices available to the followers of the Dark Gods!
First up are the Chosen Chaos Space Marines:
Strengths: -Infiltrate. These guys are literally the only unit in the entire codex with the ability to Infiltrate and, thus, Outflank. Combined with their ability to take 5 special weapons, a unit of Chosen can be potentially devastating when coming in on a flank.
-Can spam special weapon choices. As mentioned before, the squad can take 5 special weapons (Plasma Guns, Meltaguns and Flamers), giving them the ability to take a small 5-man squad and put out a torrent of AP2 and 1 shots. Conversely, you could arm them with Flamers to save points and just rely on weight of wounds.
If you don't feel like arming them for ranged combat and would rather make a bodyguard for your Lord or Sorcerer, you can instead give 4 of them Power Weapons/Fists or Lightning Claws, making them into a rather insane assault squad (especially with Mark of Khorne or Slannesh).
-Have Bolt Pistol/Close Combat Weapon and Bolter as standard Wargear. This, to me, is one of the strengths of the very popular Space Wolves Grey Hunters; their ability to perform well both at ranged combat and in melee. This allows you to pick up a set of strong ranged weapons and also not be afraid to throw them into combat as they will fight like an assault squad.
-Other upgrade options: They can take the normal choices of any Mark in the form of an Icon (giving them the ability to act as both a homer for Deep Striking units and summoned Daemons). I've gone over the Marks of the Major Gods before and it's honestly a matter of preference which one you go with, but never forget the cheap-but-effective Icon of Chaos Glory. Re-rollable Ld 10 can make this squad very troublesome to uproot off of an objective.
Outside of the special weapons they can take, they do have to option to each take a Combi-Weapon or Twin-Linked Bolter and can also give one in their squad a Heavy Weapon in case you want to make them objective campers.
For transports, like pretty much every MEQ choice, they can take a Rhino (of the Chaos variety) as a dedicated transport (which I will go over in detail in a separate article).
Weaknesses: -Cost. At 18 points each with a lot of different upgrades available to them, they have the ability to be kitted out to deal with most problems. That versatility comes at a pretty steep price, so keep that in mind when picking these guys up.
Next up are the great "budget beaters" of the Elites section, the Chaos Terminators:
Strengths: -Cost. At 10 points less than Loyalist Terminators, these guys put out a lot for a relatively low cost. 150 points for 5 guys with Power Weapons, Twin-Linked Bolters and a 2+/5++ is amazing.
-Versatility. Much like Chosen, these guys can be kitted out to cover a lot of bases. Each one can take a Combi-Weapon, giving them the ability to take one-shot Meltaguns, Flamers or Plasma Guns (your preference, of course). They have the ability to replace their Power Weapons with Power/Chain Fists or Lightning Claws if you so choose and one member of the squad can be given a Heavy Flamer (useful if you wind up taking a bunch of Combi-Flamers before assaulting) or a Reaper Autocannon (I can't find much wrong with a move-and-fire Twin-Linked Autocannon). Oh, and if you wind up taking a 10-man unit, you can pick up a second Heavy Flamer or Reaper Autocannon.
Weaknesses: -Fragile. You wouldn't normally see this when talking about Terminators but 9 times out of 10, if someone is shooting at them, it'll be with AP 2 and 1 weapons. At which point their survivability drops considerably. You can off-set this by Deep Striking them in or picking them up a dedicated Land Raider so they're not marching across the table. Also, unfortunately, when you start talking about Terminators you have to look at the Loyalist Assault Terminators and get jealous of their Storm Shields... Maybe next Codex we can steal some and slap some spikes on 'em?
Moving right along on our adventure through the Eye of Terror, here is a choice that is well-adjusted to the warping power of Chaos, the Possessed Chaos Space Marines:
Strengths: -3+/5++ standard. All this is really giving you is the ability to save stuff that would normally punch through a MEQ save. Take an Icon of Tzeentch and they become much more survivable, which is nice for the points.
-All of the Possessed Abilities are very useful. Normally units that get some random ability have really crappy stuff they can potentially roll on, making the points investment worthless. These guys, on the other hand, have nothing but useful abilities. Scouts gives them the ability to move before the game. Furious Charge, Fleet of Foot, Rending and Power Weapon all make them even more potent in Close Combat. Lastly Feel No Pain on a 3+/5++ (or 4++) makes them tough as nails.
-Strength 5. These guys make for some great MEQ killers, especially considering 50% of their Ability chart makes them even better for killing other Marines.
-Fearless. This is honestly just icing on the cake. Most of the stuff in the army is Fearless so these guys help continue that theme if you wind up taking them.
Weaknesses: -No ranged weapon. Thes guys are all assault, all the time. That being said, your opponent has literally nothing to worry about from them at range and they must cover the entire board to begin paying for themselves.
-Possessed Abilities are unpredictable. While useful, the table is random, meaning that you can't purchase an Icon for them planning on them having a certain ability. Tzeentch is always a good default, but I would much rather have Khorne or Slannesh knowing I would get Power Weapons, Rending or Furious Charge.
-2 attacks base is deceptive, making them a little over-costed. As they don't have a pistol or second close combat weapon to get extra attacks, they wind up putting out as many attacks as your standard Chaos Space Marine squad (who are 11 points cheaper per).
Last but certainly not least (please god don't let him know I put his crazy ass last in this list...) is the tortured, insane Chaos Dreadnought:
Strengths: -Versatile. You can take the "shooty" model with the gamut of Heavy Weapons available to the Chaos Marines (including one of the only ways to get a Plasma Cannon) or you can go with the "stompy" version with twin-close combat weapons.
Weaknesses: -Crazed. This is the single biggest reason you will likely never see a Dreadnought in a Chaos army, especially not one with a good ranged weapon. 1/3 of the time, he will be out of your control, either standing still and shooting all of his ranged weapons twice at the nearest unit (friendly or enemy) or moving full speed (though gaining the Fleet ability) towards the nearest enemy. While Blood Rage doesn't seem too terribly bad, opponents can potentially lead him around by the nose with vehicles moving Flat-Out to tank his temper tantrum.
If, for some reason, you really want to take one of these, pick up the 2 Close Combat Weapon variant. He's relatively cheap, coming in at 5 points cheaper than a standard Loyalist Dreadnought This way when he Fire Frenzies (and he will, often as the worst possible moment), it's only Bolter or Flamer wounds going into your own army.
Anyways, that's all for this week! Next we'll examine the bread and butter of the codex, the Troops! Until then, death to the False Emperor!