Imperial Armour 13: Unit Analysis, Part 2
Last week I went over some of the more standard Chaos Marine choices, tanks, heavy tanks, and flyers, this week we're going for the more esoteric, the Helbrutes, Dreadnoughts, Daemon Engines and Titans. Since I have less to go over, and because these choices are a bit more unusual than others, I'll be going over them in slightly more detail than last week.
Chaos Dreadnoughts and Helbrutes
Ferrum Infernus Chaos Dreadnought
First up this week is the Ferrum Infernus Dreadnought. Everyone asked for a Helbrute that you could mark and Forgeworld answered. It's base cost is 10 points more than a Loyalist Venerable Dreadnought, doesn't have the Venerable Rule, but does have an extra attack and Fear. It's weapon upgrades are pretty much identical to a standard Helbrute, except that it's allowed to take a Chainfist, additionally, it may upgrade it's heavy bolters or autocannons to have Malefic Ammunition at an exorbitant fee. The Dedications do not come cheap, at 15-20 points, but they all do add some interesting rules, none of which really jump out to me to make a 150+ point AV12 model worth it.
The big deal about this guy are it's 3 unique upgrades: Lord of the Long War, Host of Daemonic Iron, and Destroyer of Cities. The first one got the most attention when the rumors were floating about, before we had the book. It makes the Dreadnought into a character, and if the model is destroyed by an Explodes! result on the damage table, then it has a 1/3 chance to turn into a Daemon Prince, Spawn, or nothing at all... If you die to anything else, such as being wrecked, nothing special happens, you just die. Host of Daemonic Iron gives the Ferrum Infernus the Daemonic Resilience rule, and effectively Acid Blood (at S4 AP3). The third result is probably the only one I'd consider taking, the Destroyer of Cities, which gives him +1 front armour, and exchanges the stock weapons with an Assault Drill, Heavy Flamer and Flamestorm cannon. Additionally, it gains +1 front armour and Move Through Cover... I might actually consider building one of these, but mostly for fun.
Overall, I'm not very impressed with the Ferrum Infernus, but at least it can make for some interesting conversion opportunities.
Emperor's Children Sonic Dreadnought
Far on the opposite spectrum of the Ferrum Infernus, we have the Sonic Dreadnought! it's profile is boosted like a Venerable Dreadnought with +1A, comes with assault and defensive grenades, plus can opt to give it's sonic weapons both Rending and Gets Hot. It comes with a chainfist, twin-linked sonic blaster and doom siren, but I think everyone will be upgrading it's sonic blaster to a Blast Master without any hesitation for a few points. It's most important upgrade is most likely it's Warp Amp, which allows it to fire all sonic weaponry twice, if it remains stationary that turn, so yeah, stay still and for less than 200 points you're dishing out 2 blastmaster shots a turn. Sign me up!
Chaos Contemptor Dreadnought
Oh the Chaos Contemptor... Almost a carbon copy of it's Loyalist cousin, instead of having a 5++ it has a 4++ against glances and a 6++ against everything else, as well as some chaosy weapon options. It's a gorgeous model, but honestly, not very competitive. If you want ranged, 2 Butcher Cannons sounds great, but it ends up being 70 points more than a Dakkafiend, for +1 front armour and +1BS, and if you want it for combat, it's either far too expensive compared to a Maulerfiend, or essentially an even more expensive Decimator. Since dedicating it to a single role makes it inefficient compared to other choices, the only option left is to take advantage of the fact that it's decent in combat, but can also carry a big gun. I take mine with a multi-melta, and chainfist with in-built meltagun. Alternatively, a single butcher cannon and power fist might be fun.
Greater Brass Scorpion of Khorne
My favorite Lord of War by a long shot, the GBS has not changed a bit with this new book. Still running around with an ignores cover demolisher cannon, charging 3D6" and getting +2 to the number of stomps it cause. If you want a Lord of War that can handle it all, this is your guy... Though he doesn't particularly care for fighting against Knights and other Destroyer weapon armed melee walkers, but loves squashing through droves of infantry instead. I imagine it sounding like a train running over bubble wrap.
Blood Slaughterers of Khorne
An old Forgeworld mini, but kind of an interesting choice. They have the old rules for rage, meaning they must move towards and charge the nearest enemy unit, which can be very problematic, but with Rampage and +D3 attacks the turn you charge, anything that these guys do make it into, is pretty well screwed. If you do take them, I think that the Impaler upgrade is damn near mandatory. It gives you a 12" range krak missile that hits on a 4+, but if it causes a penetrating hit on a vehicle, or unsaved wound on a monstrous creature, it is immediately dragged 2D6" towards your unit, and if you drag it into base-to-base, you count as having charged it. By deep striking a unit of 3 of these, you could potentially pull a unit 6D6" into combat with you, effectively giving you a charge the turn you land. Again, not a super competitive unit, but could be fun to mix things up.
Chaos Rapier Weapons Battery
Damn near the best unit in the book, if not the best. A Rapier stock is giving you a cheap 6-shot heavy bolter, with 3 of them coming in around the price of a dakka predator, which means 18 twin-linked heavy bolter shots and 12 T7 3+ wounds of artillery... but it gets way better. Chaos Rapiers can be upgraded with the standard Laser Destroyer, but more importantly can take an Ectoplasma Cannon, Hades Autocannon, or the Cyclotrathe pattern conversion beamer (with a S10 AP1 large blast at 24-48"). The weapon options are all just so amazing, it's hard to pick what to take! A battery with Hades Autocannons is 20 points more than a Forgefiend, but causes double the amount of S8 hits, or with 3 Ectoplasma Cannons is even cheaper than a Forgefiend with 2! The most impressive option though has to be the conversion beamer, potentially dishing out 3 S10 AP1 large blasts a turn. Holy cow, the only limitation here is how many Heavy Support slots you have...
Long time amazing model, long time bastard child of Forge World... It's like a Contemptor, but mostly worse. Stock it comes with 2 siege claws and a pair of heavy flamers, and that's about where I'd leave it. Upgrading it to have any ranged weaponry at all is just a waste of points compared to a Contemptor, and if you take 2 ranged weapons, then you're just a glutton for punishment. With the standard configuration for close combat, it does have a lovely 5 attacks at S8 with Shred, so really, why mess with what's already good? It can be a real pain to kill due to it having Daemonic Resilience and Unholy Vigor (1:6 chance to come back to life every turn after it dies), plus can buy It Will Not Die by being Dedicated to Nurgle. Dedication of Khorne also improves it in combat, giving it Rampage (for potentially 9 attacks on a turn you charge), so that's not bad either. Generally pretty lack lustre, I'd only take this guy when configured purely for combat.
People only complain about Heldrakes when they haven't fought a Blight Drone. Being a Daemon of Nurgle, the Blight Drone has the ultra annoying, eldar-ish jink save of 2+, and with front armour of 12, it's surprisingly resilient for a cheap HP2 flyer. My favorite tactic is to hover this guy out of charge range, daring the enemy to shoot at it. Either they make me jink and waste the firepower of whatever shot at it, or they let it float around with a 36" range battle cannon, reaper autocannon, and throwing a blind grenade for good laughs. Best part is that you no longer have to take Plague Marines to use them, no excuses anymore!
Plague Hulk of Nurgle
Another fantastic Daemon engine of Nurgle, it's basically a Soulgrinder that Chaos Marines can take. It's base cost is the same as a Soulgrinder with Daemon of Nurgle, though instead of the Harvester Cannon, it comes with a S5 AP3 poisoned 3+ flamer, and a 36" S6 AP3 ordnance, rending large blast... Just disgusting. With it's shrouded, part it behind some terrain for a 2+ or 3+ cover save, and if anyone gets close enough, flamer them, toss a blind grenade, and charge into combat with your Krak grenade ignoring AV13. Like the Blight Drone, you don't need Plague Marines anymore either!
Chaos Reaver Titan
The big daddy of titans in 40k, the Chaos Reaver titan is a force to behold. Weighing in at a staggering 18 HP and well over 1500 points when marked, the Reaver Titan is the most expensive super heavy that you can even fit into most standard games of 40k, but really, outside of friendly gauntlet-style games, this guy belongs in Apocalypse. The only advice I'll give with it is to avoid the Titan Power Fist like the plague... It looks cool, but is so much worse than the other options it's embarrassing.
Chaos Warhound Titan
Probably the most powerful Lord of War that might actually get some game time, the Chaos warhound brings a punch. The same gun options as the loyal version, but it also has the ability (as does the Reaver) to be marked by a god. Daemon Titan of Khorne makes it less awful in combat, but god, don't get this guy in combat! Daemon Titan of Nurgle is the most expensive, which is understandable by giving it IWND. Titan of Tzeentch lets it re-roll 1's to hit, which is only useful with the Vulcan Mega-bolter, and Soul Blaze on it's Inferno Cannon, so not exactly impressive. Finally the Deamon Titan of Slaanesh tries to give it some defense in combat, but fails miserably... Really, it's Nurgle or nothing. Avoid combat like the plague with this guy, it has a pitiful Weapon Skill of 2 and a single Initiative 1 attack, so really, do not get this guy in a fight as anything it faces will keep it engaged for eons.
Imperial Armour 13 definitely succeeds in breathing new life into the Chaos Marine army. I think that with these additions, they might actually become relevant again, or at the very least, a surprisingly effective. In a tournament environment, the addition of Fire Raptors, Sicarans, Dreadclaws, Rapiers, and Hell Blades, to a force could really dramatically improve how a Chaos Army will perform. Obviously talent > toys, but with a bit of both, Chaos might actually come out ahead.