Friday, June 3, 2011

7 Flashback Friday #2: Cult Marines

Once again its Friday and its time to flashback to what was once was.  In order to do this I have mix together a little red kool-aid for all us to drink.  Oh, YEAAHH!  It's going to take a bit before that delicious drink kills you but in the mean time lets have a look at the various incarnation of the Cult Marines.

Plague Marines
-Ideal Squad size 7: Even though the squad is small in size Plague Marines can hold their own at this number thanks to their FnP ability. Combine this with the fact that this how many come in a box and you are now economically making sense as well. Not only will a large squad cost you more money but anything over 10 will not be able to ride in a rhino and quite frankly is just overkill.

-Pros: The biggest up side to this unit is their ability to shrug off basic strength attacks; str4 or less. Their increase toughness, armour save and FnP virtually allow them to take a beating and keep on ticking. The other small advantage that they have is that they come with Defensive grenades thus robbing your enemy from gaining +1 Attack on the charge.

-Cons: Strength 8 or higher, AP1/2 and power based weapons are this units thorn in their side. Any weapon that falls into this category will render 75-100% of all their Pros (Toughness, armour save, FNP) in one fashion or another. To help mitigate this in terms of shooting deploy them into cover to help generate a cover save for them. The other negative to these boys is that they are Initiative 3 meaning they usually strike last.

-Best Use of Unit: Holding objectives and defending them is their number best use. They can dig in and just go to ground if needed.  Against the majority of units in the game they can stand toe toe with them for several rounds of combat.

Khorne Berzerkers:
-Ideal Squad Size 10: Fairly large in size but when it comes to these cult troops its all about having a lot of attacks on the charge. Cause of this I whole heartedly recommend going with 10 whenever possible. This is especially true if you are going to put them in a Land Raider with an IC as it fills that transport right up.

-Pros: Furious Charge and a high WS of 5 is what really puts this unit over the top in terms of effectiveness. This allows them to strike before the majority of units out there. Combine this with the sheer amount of attacks that they pump out and they are a unit to be reckoned with. They know where their towel is at all times.

-Cons: Getting Charged themselves really takes the punch out this unit as they lose the advantage of Furious Charge. On top it it means one less attack as well. To ensure that they get the charge a Land Raider actually goes a long way since it allows you to charge into assault out it even if it moved. -Best Use of Unit: 10 Khorne Berzerkers with one of them being a Skull Champion with a Power Weapon or Powerfist loaded up in a Land Raider makes for one of hell of an objective stealer. The majority of units out there will not be able to weather the attacks that this unit will put forth when they get charged. 

Thousand Sons: 
-Ideal Squad Size 7-8: The seer cost of a unit of 1kson is what really turns me off and most other people from using them. Cause of this you will want to keep their squad size from being too large. 

-Pros: AP3 bolters and a killer invulnerable save make this unit ideal for killing power armoured units. 5th edition and the abundance of cover saves however took the edge out this unit due to it being relatively easy to generate a cover save. However they are one of the best "KITING" units in the game thanks to Slow and Purposeful giving them Relentless. They can move and fire their AP3 bolter their full range of 24". The majority of units caught in the open will be mowed down in no time. Their invulnerable save lets them stand a decent chance at holding their own against power based weapons or anything that will deny them their armour save.
-Cons: Cost is their number one problem but its not the Rubric Marines that are cause it but rather the mandatory Aspiring Sorcerer. Depending on the psychic power that you take for him he can cost almost 100pts. Yes you are getting a force weapon and a psychic power a but a full unit of 10 in a rhino will cost well over 300pts. The other major problem with them is that they are geared to fighting one type of unit; power armoured. Against armies like Orks and Imperial guard who have wet t-shirts for armour saves their AP3 weapons are complete overkill. 

-Best Use of Unit: Kitting unit that can fire on the move. Keep them relatively small in size and they may go unnoticed by your opponent. Ideal for firing other units in and or acting as a mop up unit. By this I mean you can target small squads both with shooting and close combat. Remember thanks to Relentless they can rapid fire and still assault their target; nasty. 

Noise Marines 
-Ideal Squad Size 6-8: Depending on what their primary role is shooting or assault this squad plays nice anywhere between 6-8 models. Reason begin is that they can get fairly pricey depending on their upgrades. 

-Pros: High Initiative is the first pro that jumps out at your senses and rightfully so. Sitting at Initiative 5 Noise Marine make for a one hell of a scary unit when it comes to close combat. Even if they get charged chances are that they will be attacking first if not at the same time. Their other advantage is the upgrades that they can take. The basic Noise Marine can take a Sonic Blaster which increase their firepower. One of the boyz can also grab a Blast Master which is a highly mobile Missile Launcher. The Noise Champion also has some nasty upgrades with his ability to take a Doom Siren which is an AP3 template weapon; no armour or cover saves. All of this upgrades add up to a unit that prides its self on being one of the best "KITING" units in the game or a unit that can strike fast and hard in Close Combat. 

-Cons: Over indulgence is a favorite past time of Slaanesh followers and if you are not careful a Noise Marine unit can become quite pricey. They are also over shadowed by Khorne Berzerkers due to them having Furious Charge which put them at initiative 5 and them cost less in terms of points. 

-Best Use of Unit: 6 man squad with sonic blaster and a Blast Master make for an ideal shoot and scoot unit in the back field. Keep them near a objective and fire in your other troops. The other option I recommend is an 8 man squad, one of them being a Noise Champion with a Power Weapon and a Doom Siren, mounted in a Rhino or a Land Raider. This unit is geared for assault against and can kill a large chunk of an enemy back side before it even knows they have been assaulted. The Doom Siren allows them to trim the fat off their intended target, regardless of whether they are in cover or not. The reason for the Power Weapon is to not negated the Champion high Initiative.

Khorne Berzerker = Close Combat/Objective Stealer
Plague Marines = Objective Defenders/Tough as Nails
Thousand Sons = Fire Support/Objective Defenders
Noise Marines = Fire Support/Objective Defenders/Close Combat/Objective Stealer
Unit Combinations: Khorne Berzerkers + Plague Marines = Berzerkers are an offensive unit while Plague Marines are a Defensive unit. Yin and Yang.

Plague Marines + Noise Marines = The Plague Marines are ideal for sitting on objectives and taking a charge. While Noise Marines make for an excellent counter charge/fire support unit for them.

These are the only two cult troop to cult troop choices that I recommend, however their are some nasty combination when it comes to mixing IC marked models with cult troops of a different Chaos God.

Cult Units and IC Combination of Note: Thousand Sons + Lash of Slaanesh = Regardless of if that Lash comes via a Daemon Prince of Slaanesh or a Sorcerer of Slaanesh a unit of Thousand Sons can benefit greatly from it. The biggest downside to using Thousands Sons is when the enemy unit you want to kill with your AP3 bolters has a cover save. Fear not with Lash of Slaanesh you can pull those unit from cover and or into range of your Thousand Sons.

Khorne Berzerkers + Lash of Slaanesh = A popular combination as Lash can extend the assault range of the the Khorne Berzerkers making them even more dangerous.

Keep your eyes peeled during the summer time frame for some pictures and fluff on my Plague Marines.  I will also be throwing pictures up on my Khorne based army once the Renegade Space Wolves are wrapped up. Oh and I forgot to mention but it now time to drink the red KoolAid.


  1. The timing of this article is absolutely perfect, as I've just been trying to think this through myself. It doesn't help that I'm currently reading Thousand Sons, either. As ever, the analysis is fantastic and the artwork is absolutely stunning.
    Nice one.

  2. Good overview of the cults- I'm a big theoretical fan of Noise Marines (though I haven't played as chaos yet) and the fact that they can do anything if kitted out right.

    And yes, the entire Chaos codex has "combos with Lash." Slaanesh FTW!

  3. BSMOOVE - Glad I could offer some insight into the Cult of 40k for you. I just wished I had of taken some pictures of my Plague Marines. The art work regretfully is not mine and I also could not find who the authors were. Just wanted to spice up the article.

    MAX - My buddy back home is putting the finishing touches on a 2000pt Slaanesh Army which I cannot wait to see on the table. Noise Marines are highly flexible and can be tailored for specific roles. Thye are an unsung hero in the CSM Codex.

    Did either of you have any of the KoolAID? OH YEAAHH!

  4. Khorn's number is 8, Slannash's is 6, you got nurgel spot on and 1k sons is 9.

    Finished 1k sons book last night.

  5. The ideal numbers are not the Gods numbers (fluff numbers) but rather a practice number in which to field them on the battle field. View them as a number of points to effectiveness. Yes fielding them outside of their gods favorite number is not fluffy but sometime the gods need to just be happy with the fact that someone is following them. You make up for the fluff with units of Lesser Daemons that match their number and modeled in their gods image.

    For example:

    Khorne Berzerkers come in boxes of 10 and are the cheapest cult marines. It only makes sense to employ them in units of 10.

    Slannesh I gave a range of 6-8 depending on how you kit them out. If you go for close combat then the cost of upgrades are not as high thus the squad size of 8. However if you go for shooting cost can start to get fairly high so a small squad of 6 helps combat the cost.

  6. 'zerkers come in a box of 12, Id love to see a unit of 18.

  7. My bad on that comment however I still think that their ideal squad size is 10 due to fact that both Rhinos and Land Raider can only carry 10 in the CSM codex.

    Thanks for all the replies everyone.