What 7th Edition means for Chaos Space Marines
7th Edition has been here for more than a couple days now, and after reading over the rules a few times, I've put together some thoughts on what the new edition means for the Chaos Space Marines.
Chaos is Strong!
First of all, and probably the most obvious change that affects the CSM are the changes to Challenges. Now, whenever you are in a challenge, excess wounds you deal to the enemy are allocated to the unit. Gone are the days of endless waves of Imperial Guard sergeants throwing themselves under the hooves of a Chaos Lord on Juggernaut. Bust out the combat characters, they're finally going to be killing the droves of enemy that they should. On a sad note though, the FAQ that prevents Abaddon from turning into a Spawn or Prince is gone, hopefully it comes back soon!
While nothing actually directly changed about Cult Troops, the rules around scoring did. In 7th edition, you don't need to be troops to score, so no need to pay that obnoxious tax for a Slaanesh Lord. I think that this will greatly change the way people build armies, now you can afford to take units like Plague Marines and Noise Marines out of elites, where they'll probably be on backfield objectives anyhow.
Land Raiders (and all vehicles really)
Vehicles in general have become a ton tougher this edition, across the board requiring a 7+ to explode. That means your Land Raiders are actually going to have to take 4 HP of damage to kill, instead of people killing them half the time with a lucky meltagun hit (though it's still possible!). Also, keep in mind that Troops dedicated transports are also Objective Secured, so you can buy a Rhino for your troops and have it just sit on it in the backfield.
Another small stealth buff I noticed involves Walkers, and it actually has nothing to do with the rules of Walkers themselves. In the past, Walkers have always been outdone in combat by their nemesis, the Monstrous Creature, though this edition has changed Monstrous Creatures in a huge way. A double-strength Smash attack now reduces the model to a single attack! Gone are the days of Trygons with 3 S10 attacks utterly obliterating a Maulerfiend or Helbrute. Is it enough to make the Helbrute playable? Not too sure, but it's definitely a step in the right direction.
The Gods have Forsaken us!
Here's some more bad news, an Allied Detachment can never be the same faction as the Primary Detachment, which basically means no CSM + Black Legion... another nail in the coffin of my beloved Black Legion supplement. In friendly games this is a non-issue, since you can have multiple Combined Arms detachments, but it's sounding like tournaments (including GW's own tournaments), are restricting players to a single Combined Arms detachment! Argh!
The new FAQ for Heldrakes restricts them to an abysmal 45° arc... At first, I thought that was just the total doom of drakes, but due to the lack of barrage weaponry, or other methods of digging out entrenched enemy units, you'll still probably want to keep one in your army.
Overall, I think the edition brings a lot of positive changes for Chaos Marines. The way allies affect the Allied Supplements is obnoxious, and I'm sure we all say a drake nerf coming (though maybe not this harsh), are really all that got worse. Now that challenges are totally crap, our vehicles are much tougher and we don't need to pay as much Lord tax, I can really see some more interesting builds coming out of the book.