Chaos Marines: Breaking Down Theats
So unless the world is coming to an end today, you might be thinking that the Chaos Marines have come out to a seemingly lack luster launch. Their book, while very well balanced, doesn't have any of the uber units that most of the internets tends to cling to. When this happens with a book, it often gets overlooked and ignored in favor of those which are easier to play *cough* Grey Knights *cough*. Not to be dissuaded, I've decided that 2013 will be the year that I master Chaos Space Marines. I know that's a lofty goal, but hey, it's worth a shot. Learning from the temple of Reecius, through many facebook conversations, I've decided to start by taking a look at the general kinds of threats which you will often have to face on the battle field. In addition to Reece's usual suspects, I'll be adding Monstrous Creatures into the mix, mostly because I have the fortune of frequently playing against a certain Bugsculptor.
Generally, this is initially going to be a list of the units I will experiment with for each of these categories moving forward. Every few weeks I will aim to post an article with my findings.
First up we have the whole point of the game, the ability to take and control objectives. Chaos Space Marines have access to a decent variety of options here. Most notably I believe that cheap Cultists will be your ideal back-field scoring units. Additionally, Plague Marines are amazing at holding down anything important, as are Plague Zombies, which means if you're doing a Nurgle themed list, you're in good shape. Noise Marines and Thousand Sons aren't terrible at this job, though certainly not ideal. If you're doing an Undivided army, there is still potential in large units of cheap Chaos Marines, though I think that it's still more point effective to use Cultists, in large or small units.
Chaos is probably one of the best anti-infantry armies out there. Every single force organization slot can be fitted out to handle infantry. Noise Marines are your troops of choice for cutting down swathes of lightly armored enemies, and since they ignore the benefits of cover, they are great at this role. Helldrakes, Havocs, Daemon Princes (with the Black Mace), Forgefiends and Dakka Predators are also all fine choices. Honestly, I think it would be hard to make any chaos army without a wide variety of anti-infantry options. Because of this, I generally don't worry about this when writing my lists.
When it comes to handling 3+ armor, chaos also has a few options, namely the Helldrake. Thousand Sons are also good at cutting apart power armor, and can really make Purifiers cry home to Draigo, though their point cost is a bit prohibitive.
If you're taking on 2+ armor, the options become much more limited. Terminators with combi-plasmas can deepstrike and melt a squad into paste, though their utility after that is fairly limited. Forgefiends with Ectoplasma Cannons are expensive, but with all those blasts, you're bound to kill something, and also with the S8, you'll be instant-killing Nobs and Paladins, while denying their FNP as well. Lastly, if you're not needing any dedicated anti-terminator, your standard CSM squad can take a pair of Plasma Guns.
Light Vehicle Spam (AV 10-12)
Light vehicles were all the hit in 5th edition, fortunately in 6th people are spamming less. That said, it's still important to have the tools to hand people in their transports, in case they haven't heard the news about 6e.
Vector striking Helldrakes will handle most transports with ease, but just in case that isn't enough a squad of Havocs with 4 Autocannons and Veterans of the Long War will only run you 120 points. Obliterators are swiss army knives and should also be considered for this role as they can use their assault cannons to cut through AV 10/11 with ease, or pump it up with their lascannons. If your heavy support is filled already, then the last option I would consider are Hellbrutes with Reaper Autocannons and Missile Launchers, weighing in at 115 points, they're still an economical weapons platform.
Heavy Vehicles (AV 13+)
Similar to Heavy Infantry, Chaos doesn't exactly have a ton of tools in this department, but it doesn't mean they're helpless. Out of Elites, you still have Termicide squads with a bunch of meltaguns that will assassinate any tank you want, but if there's more than one threat, you'll need to think of some other options. Chaos Bikes are super cheap this edition, though they'll be competing with Helldrakes for Fast Attack choices, for 90 points though, you can get yourself a squad of 3 bikes with 2 meltaguns to chase down a Land Raider. Out of Heavy Support we have the Obliterators again who can switch between their Lascannons and twin-linked meltaguns (when the tank gets close). I find that a squad of Lascannon Havocs are a bit over priced for this role, and a squad with 4 meltaguns in a rhino is just screaming "shoot me."
Being the first army with Flak Missiles, you'd hope that they have little problem with Flyers, sadly that's not the case. Flak is too expensive for me to consider as a real option, so ignoring that, what else do we have? Autocannon Havocs have 8 shots at S7, so might be able to get a couple lucky hits at the same strength as the Flak missile, but for a lot cheaper. Forgefiends with Hades Autocannons will cause the same number of hits as the Autocannon Havocs, except at an impressive S8. Helldrakes promised to be a dedicated anti-flyer flyer, though it's Baleflamer pretty much means it will always be taken for anti-infantry, that said, you can still vector strike with good results, provided the enemy flyer is in your front 180. If all else fails, Cultists with an Aegis Defense Line is a great back up plan.
All rage in 5th, and making a strong come back with the Harlistar, next up we have Deathstars. Generally, these consist of units that are nasty in combat, have a lot of wounds, or are generally a huge pain in the ass to kill. If you have any suggestions in this department, let me know!
Lastly, my addition to the list, Monstrous Creatures. Unlike tanks, you can't get a lucky melta shot and wipe out a Trygon, as much as I'd like to. When you're dealing with units like the Trygon, you often only have one turn to deal with them, before they assault you and start causing problems. Personally, I think the best solution is to fight fire with fire. To counter those nasty Trygons, I'll be trying a mixture of Maulerfiends, Terminators and even Mutilators. Maulerfiends with Lash Tendrils are going to reduce most monstrous creatures to a single Smash attack, since all modifiers happen after halving, they're also fairly inexpensive, so it wont break the bank. Mutilators I just want to use because I feel like they need some love.
Any thoughts or suggestions of things I should try? I'm open to any suggestions and am amassing quite the chaos force, so suggest anything and I'll probably play it!