Thoughts on Chaos Marines and the Las Vegas Open
Well, I'm back! A bit sleep depraved, hung over and unshaven, but I'm back. I had a great weekend with some fellow The Dice Abide dudes in Las Vegas, where there was much drinking, with a bit of wargaming. In case you didn't know, I brought my Chaos Space Marines to play with, and ended with a 2-3-0 record, which actually sounds far worse than it was. Let me tell you a bit about my games:
Game 1 - vs Iyanden Eldar - Victory
My first game I thought I was doomed, this Iyanden player was a great guy, quite fun, but in general, brought the army I thought would decimate me. Early game, my Maulerfiends bit the dust as well as my Giant Chaos Spawn, mostly due to a pesky Wraithknight. In the end though, I prevailed, mostly through attrition. Once I was able to start engaging his army with my regular Chaos Spawn, he had a very hard time recovering. Additionally, I was doing an alright job keeping his Wave Serpents at bay, largely due to my Hades Autocannon toting Heldrake.
Game 2 - vs Eldar - Loss
This game I thought I was totally boned... It was Hammer and Anvil with Scouring and Purge the Alien against Eldar! The first two turns were fairly disheartening, but by the time turn 4 came along, I realized that I was actually doing very well! Again, the Hades Autocannon Heldrake was the MVP of the match. At the end of the 5th turn however, we rolled the dreaded 2 and the game ended. After looking at what was left though, we both agreed that he would have probably been nearly tabled by turn 6, and that the only way he could have won was by ending on turn 5. I don't really chop this game up to a loss, I can't help a turn 5 loss against Eldar, let alone with victory conditions that they excel at when playing the longways on a board. In my head, this was a 6th turn victory against my worst possible matchup.
Game 3 - vs White Scars - Loss
Honestly, I had this game in the bag, I was fantastically devastating this guys army, which is pretty much what I expected to do against a White Scars army. He did have a little bad luck, failing a couple Hit and Run rolls, but in general, grav guns don't do a whole lot to my list. My drakes were uncontested in the air after taking down his Storm Talon with my Hades drake. How did I lose you ask? Well, it was mostly by being too comfortable, though I also wasn't as tense since losing game 2 meant I wouldn't be making it to the finals. I entered my Chaos Lord into a challenge with a Chapter Master for no reason other than my opponent really wanted to see the fight, and I wasn't paying precise enough attention to where I moved my Heldrake on the last turn, that cost me Linebreaker and Warlord, which meant I lost, 6-5. Oh well, again, didn't really consider this a terrible loss, had I been a little more emotionally invested in the game I know I'd have won.
Game 4 - vs Ultramarines - Victory
Another game against marines! Actually, that's not bad, especially when they're podding right into me! Turn 1 saw two Maulers get immobilized and the third down to 1 HP, which hurt pretty bad. That said, I was able to quickly engage my opponent with the rest of my army, quickly decimating what he brought so close to me. My Hades Heldrake took out both of his Storm Talons, giving me clear aerial superiority, while my general with chaos spawn advanced up the side of the field, protected by a wall of Drop Pods. Tigurius was a huge pain early in the game, but by the end, all he had left on the field was a single Thunderfire Cannon.
Game 5 - vs Imperial Fists - Loss
Of my losses, this was by far the hardest game for me. He had Grav Centurions in a Land Raider Crusader, as well as a handful of Thundernators. The rest of his army consisted of a couple Storm Talons, some Drop Pods mounted Tactical Squads and a Thunderfire Cannon. Now everything I learned about regular Grav Guns is totally wrong when it comes to Grav Centurions. They split fire and killed two Maulerfiends alone on turn 1, the other one dying to a Meltagun toting Tactical Squad. In the end, I got away with the relic, but after having all my Maulerfiends killed so quickly, I couldn't take down his Land Raider, which he used to score on Big Guns, giving him the edge. It was a very hard fought game, both of us pulling out every trick we could come up with (me using Heldrake Bases to block his movement, while he did a nasty trick with the LRC, disembarking Lysander, then moving up his hammernator squad to join, then charging turn 1, with essentially an extra 5" of movement, I'll have to remember this one!).
Thoughts on my list
Chaos Lord: Mark of Nurgle, Power Fist, Burning Brand of Skalathrax, Chaos Bike: 145
I wasn't a fan of my Chaos Lord, as he just didn't really pose a huge threat... The Burning Brand was nice, but not necessary and with my 3 power fist attacks, I felt like I rarely hit more than once. This guy is quickly going to be replaced by a Khorne Juggerlord.
2x Giant Chaos Spawn: 80 each
The Giant Chaos Spawn were pretty solid and for an 80 point monstrous creature I still love them. They always came in the second wave, but they absolutely butchered everything they got in combat with (except the Wraithknight). If I had to drop them, I would, but I'd prefer not to, they're just too fun.
10 Chaos Space Marines: 2 Plasma Guns, in Rhino with Havoc Launcher: 217 10 Chaos Space Marines: 2 Melta Guns, in Rhino: 195
The Chaos Space Marines performed admirably, I don't think I lost a full squad in any of my 5 games, I was always able to keep at least 1-2 alive to score an objective. Not once was I missing ATSKNF or Combat Squads, but I was always happy to have 2 plasma and 2 meltaguns.
2x 10 Chaos Cultists: 9 Autoguns: 59 each
Chaos Cultists were fine when they lived, but died frequently, so pretty much par for course. After these 5 games, I actually prefer standard CSM to the cultists for scoring units, but there is something to be said for 59 point scoring units.
Heldrake: Baleflamer: 170 Heldrake: Hades Autocannon: 170
The Baleflamer Heldrake did what it does, killed a ton of infantry, was a pain to take down and was doing it's lovely vector striking all over the field. The real shock though was the Hades Autocannon Heldrake! This guy basically ensured I had aerial control in every game, and against the Eldar was fantastic for stripping off Hull Points. Honestly, I am totally amazed with how well it did and I sincerely think it was a crucial key to my success.
5 Chaos Spawn: Mark of Nurgle: 180
Chaos Spawn with Mark of Nurgle were incredibly hard to kill and often the only combat unit to survive the game. Being much smaller than the Maulerfiends, they look a lot less attention and so were almost always at full strength by the time they got into combat. I love them so much that I'd like to figure out how to get a second unit in!
2x Maulerfiend: Magma Cutters: 125 each Maulerfiend: Lasher Tendrils: 135
My Maulerfiends died every single game, but they were important by giving me more fast threats to bring to the game. I wouldn't drop them though, they're critical for the success of my list.
I think there is always room to improve on a list, but I really think that the games I played, especially game 2, were very fun and challenging. I can't help but think of how the tournament would have gone if that damn game had gone to turn 6 like it should have! Haha. As I have always thought, I believe that CSM do actually have a place in the meta and can easily catch people off guard. There is so much shooting these days, and so many people WANT turn 2, or even rely on taking turn 2, that having an army that is over half way across the field on turn 1 really is devastating for most opponents.