Tactica: Chaos Marines - Troops


Hey there, fellow heretics! Continuing on through the Chaos Space Marine codex, we come to the bread and butter of the Chaos army: the Troops. In any army in 40k, the troops form the core of your force and often set the tone of what kind of army you're building. Fortunately, the Troops available to the Chaos Space Marines cover a lot of different specialities and tend to do what they're made for very, very well. So, without further ado, let's get started.

Chaos Space Marines

Strengths: -Cost. At 15 points each, these guys are the cheapest option you can get for Troops in this codex. If you're looking for filler, you can't really go wrong with a unit of generic Chaos Space Marines. Also, you won't find a cheaper option for an Aspiring Champion to use for Greater Daemon fodder.

-Flexibility. As I've mentioned before, I love it when a Troops choice comes with both a ranged weapon and assault capabilities, in this case Bolter/Bolt Pistol/Close Combat Weapon. This means they can serve many different roles in the army and can be equipped as you like to fulfill that role.

-Wargear Options: Like a normal Marine squad, you have the option to purchase a squad leader and outfit him with all sorts of different wargear, such as a Combi-Weapon, Power Weapon/Fist, Plasma Pistol and Melta Bombs (nothing really new here).

Then we get to the squad. You can pick up a Plasma Pistol for one guy (in place of his Bolt Pistol) or replace his Bolter for a Plasma Gun, Meltagun or Flamer. If you take them at 10 or more models, you can take a heavy weapon (meh) or a second special weapon (woo!).

Next, we take a look at the different Icons we can give the squad. Want a dedicated assault unit? Give them Icon of Khorne (+1 attack, giving them 3 each, 4 on the charge) or Icon of Slannesh (giving them Initiative 5, putting them before other Marines). Want a unit that will camp an objective? Give them an Icon of Nurgle (for Toughness 4/5, giving them more resilience against opposing Bolter Fire) or Icon of Chaos Undivided (re-rollable Ld 10? Yes please). Want a tar-pit? Take 20 of them and give them Icon of Tzeentch.

Lastly, they can be mounted in the trusty Rhino (although with more spikes and whatnot to make it evil) which gives them a high amount of mobility for a scant 35 points.

Weaknesses: -Not as inherently strong as the Marked units. As the other Troops units (or Marked units as I like to call them) get special rules that allow them to perform their job better, these guys can be quickly overshadowed by their more specialized cousins. This is the unit you take if you want something cheap and flexible.

Plague Marines

Next up we have the favored of Grandfather Nurgle, the fallen members of the Death Guard Legion.

Strengths: -Incredibly tough. Toughness 4/5, 3+ save and Feel No Pain make these guys incredibily resilient. Sit them on an objective in cover and watch your opponent struggle to uproot them.

-Fearless. Great for an expensive squad to keep them from getting run down in combat. Plus, the Feel No Pain rule gives them some extra resistance to No Retreat wounds.

-Bolter/Bolt Pistol/Close Combat Weapon. I can't say this enough. The tactical flexibility this gives is amazing and I love that these guys have the option to sit back and shoot or get in and mix it up in melee.

-Blight Grenades. Yet another great defensive option for this unit. Preventing a unit assaulting you from getting the extra attack from charging can often mean the difference between life and death in an assault, especially since you're likely striking last (more on that later).

-Wargear options: They have all of the same options as the standard Chaos Marines with a few exceptions. The first being that the Icon for them is cheaper, but gives the unit no inherent bonus. It only allows you to act as a beacon for Deep Striking units and summon daemons.

Oustide of that we get to the biggest bonus this unit has over standard Chaos Marines: you can upgrade 2 Plague Marines with 2 special weapons (Plasma Gun, Meltagun or Flamer) without having to make them into a 10-man squad. This means you can take 5 of these guys, give them Plasma Guns or Meltaguns and run them around in a Rhino for a small investment in points and they aren't nearly as fragile as your traditional 5-man Marine squad.

Weaknesses: -Initiative 3. This means you will likely be going after all MEQ units in an assault (but conversely makes taking a Power Fist on a champion a much better option). It also means it's harder for you to run down an opposing unit in an assault if you do win. It's not a huge weakness, in my opinion, but it is their biggest.

-Cost. While a 5-man unit isn't going to break the bank, you're still paying over 100 points for 5 guys that can still be killed by massed fire or by a single dedicated assault unit. They're tied for the most expensive unit in the Troops section of the book so you pay for the resilience that you get from them.

Noise Marines

Love dubstep? Probably not as much as the Prince of Pleasure-worshiping, former Emperor's Children.

Strengths: -Initiative 5. This puts you before most other MEQ in an assault. When coupled with the fact that they have the Bolter/Pistol/CCW combo they become a very strong assault squad.

-Sonic Blasters. Purchasing these for everyone in a squad quickly makes them the most expensive Troops choice, but you certainly get what you pay for with a 5-man squad able to put out double to triple the amount of fire that any squad of the same size would be able to, and at a longer range.

-Wargear options: Same as with the Plague Marines except no access to special weapons, but you now have access to the Doom Siren (S5 AP3 flamer template that only the Champion can take) and a single Blastmaster (48" S8 AP3 Heavy 1 Blast/Pinning or 36" S5 AP4 Assault 2/Pinning). These options make the unit ideal for spamming S4/5 fire against opposing infantry.

Weaknesses: -No special weapons. As they don't have any access to Plasma Guns or Meltaguns, they rely on other squads to crack transports to do their job (anti-infantry).

-Cost. Sonic Blasters are really only slightly better Bolters and drive a Noise Marine's cost from 20 to 25 per model. Much like Plague Marines, a 5-man squad can do some serious harm for the cost, but any more than that starts to become less useful (though I've always wanted to see how much damage a unit of 20 with Sonic Blasters could do if they used the Heavy 3 option. 60 bolter shots from one squad bwahahaha).

Khorne Berzerkers

Now we come to the crazed followers of the Blood God, the shattered remains of the World Eaters Legion.

Strengths: -Fantastic statline for a dedicated assault unit. WS5, 2 attacks, MEQ statline with Furious Charge. On the charge, you're swinging in with 4 attacks each, hitting and wounding MEQ on 3+. These guys certainly live up to their name.

-Wargear options: Same as with the Plague Marines only instead of standard special weapons, you can give them 2 Plasma Pistols (so up to 3 if you give one to the Champ as well). This makes them especially deadly against other Marines and Terminators as they can put out some AP2 shots before closing in and putting on a weight of wounds on the survivors before they can strike.

Weaknesses: -Highly dependant on getting "first strike". These guys want to be the first into an assault. Charging them greatly reduces their ability to make mincmeat of your squad before they get to retaliate.

-Too much of a "hand grenade" unit. If you take these guys, expect them to annihilate a unit and then die. One would argue that they're too good at their job and will not sit in a combat for an extra turn to keep from getting shot at by your opponent's guns.

Thousand Sons

Finally, we come to the sorcerous sons of Tzeentch, the unfotunate victims of the Rubric of Arhiman,

Strengths: -4+ invulnerable save. This alone makes these guys into a very resilient choice. The abilty to have a 50/50 shot of shrugging off an otherwise MEQ-killing shot makes them almost worth their cost. This also allows them to serve as a damn good tar pit against more expensive units like Terminators and the like.

-Inferno Bolts. AP3 bolters. 'nuff said. Seriously, though, this makes these guys very good at killing other Marines at range, especially if they're trying to close in on an objective they're camping on.

-Aspiring Sorcerer. This guy gives the unit a bit of defense in assault and, with Bolt of Change, the ability to crack armor (specifically transports).

-Wargear options: This unit is very limited on what it can take as wargear. No special weapons, only the option to take Meltabombs and a Personal Icon and be mounted in a Rhino. Nothing huge to note here that hasn't been mentioned before.

Weaknesses: -Slow and Purposeful. This is honestly both a blessing and a curse for the unit. On one hand, the can always move and Rapid Fire their weapons. On the other hand, they're always moving as if in difficult terrain.

-No other wargear than bolters. They have no grenades or assault capability outside of the sorcerer. Yeah, they're good at shooting, but that's about it.

-The Sorcerer Commands. Losing a D6 on your S&P checks when your Sorcerer dies really hurts and can really hamstring the unit if they lose/don't have a transport.

-Cost. Over 160 points for a minimum-sized squad at the very least. These guys are expensive and don't typically earn their points back in a given game. I wouldn't suggest taking these unless you already have a unit of Plague Marines and/or have a hard-on for everything Tzeench.

Well, that's all for this week. Next time we meet, I'll discuss both the Fast Attack section as well as Dedicated Transports! Until then, BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!!!