Friday, July 22, 2011

3 Flashback Friday #9: Mutating the Chaos Gene

Mutation - Mu·ta·tion: An alteration or change, as in nature, form, or quality.

When it comes to Warhammer 40k one can cause a small alteration to their army list that can result in quality list as opposed to a mediocre army list. Today I am going to discuss how I mutated my Chaos Space Marine Army, Betrayer's of Pain, and turned them into a competitive army. In my first post in this series about the Betrayer's of Pain, Unlocking the Chaos Gene, I discussed how I approached the Chaos Space Marine Codex but more importantly I talked about using as many unique units to the Codex that I could. From there I made several posts that went over each individual choice and discussed tactics about each of them. Each of these choices are hyper linked, in blue text, to their unit specific posts and a few others as well. Now I would like to discuss how I mutated them into a quality list that is still competitive despite being an old codex.

Uniqueness was the first stage of evolution for my Nurgle Chaos Space Marine Army. The next stage was to mutate that uniques by employing several strategies across the army as a whole that I could manipulate in their favour.


REDUNDANCY - If having one of something is good than have multiples of it must be even better. This statement rings true with 40k and some of you may have already heard Goatboy over at Bell of Lost Souls talking about this. I double up on as many units as I could and this is what I ended up with 2 x Daemon Princes, 3 x Plague Marines units, 2 x Lesser Daemons units and 2 x Obliterators units. By employing redundancy I am able to amplify the strengths of each unit. For example, 1 Daemon Prince can be handled with and dealt with fairly easily. Having 2 though forces your opponent to make a choice on which one to target. In the end it increase the chances of at least one of the Daemon Princes making it into close combat with the enemy; as this is where they will shine.

MECHANIZED - Mobility, mobility, mobility. By having a mobile army you are able to move your units to where they need to be and you are also able to protect them from enemy fire. Why walk when you you ride is my philosophy. This is rings even more true for troop choices as they are the scoring units and they are the ones who need to get to the objectives if you want to be in the winners circle.

OVERLOADING - If you can overload any aspect of your opponents army then you can start to force them to make choices. With each choices comes a chance for a them making a mistake. I chose to overload my opponents anti-tank weapons by having lots of vehicles, monstrous creatures, high toughness and low armour save units as I could. Both the previous two strategies, redundancy and mechanized contributed to this strategy. I have a total of 3 Monstrous Creatures, 3 Vehicles, 21 toughness 5 models and 4 models with 2+ armour saves. The best weapons to take each and every one of these units out is anti-tank weapons due to their high strength and low AP.

RESPONSIBILITY - This is hands down is one of the most important strategies and one that stands out amongst all the others. Cause of this I use this strategy in ever list that I make regardless of which codex the army is from. I stole each of the elements from my military experience and assigned each of my units under one of the following headings (by no means are you restricted to just these elements).

Assault - Units that will close with and destroy the enemy. For my Assault Element I decided that I would employ three of them, once again building off the redundancy strategy. The first two each comprise of a mechanized squad of Plague Marines and the third being my Daemon Princes running together as a tag team. The Plague Marines are also assigned a secondary responsibility of securing objectives while the Daemon Princes are assigned a secondary responsibility to steal enemy controlled objectives.

Fire Support - Units that will lay down a torrent of fire for the Assault element. For my Fire Support Element I once again double up and set up 3 separate teams. A Defiler for the first one and the second two each being that of a 2 man Obliterator squad. When deploying each of my Fire Base Elements I strive to interlock their arcs of fire so that they can provide mutual fire to each other. This allows me to focus my fire on a specific unit and dispose of it that much faster. The Obliterators can provide me all types of fire support whether its anti-tank, anti-horde, anti-MEQ (Marine Equivalent) and even anit-TEQ (Terminator Equivalent) My Defiler is also assigned a secondary Responsibility of

Reinforcements - Units that can fill in gaps in the battlefield and support other units at a moments notice. Like that of the previous two elements reinforcements also is builds off of the Redundancy strategy as I employ 3 units of them. The first two that are always there are my Lesser Daemons which are used primarily to reinforce my Plague Marines. They have a secondary Responsibility of that being to secure objectives if needed be. My third choice which is not always there is my lone Chosen Squad. The third units is my Greater Daemon who has the ability to turn any Aspiring Champion into a Monstrous Creature. His secondary role is simple to distract the enemy with his presence.

Vanguard - Units that will deploy ahead of the main force to disrupt the enemy deep within their own lines. My Vanguard Element is filled by my lone Chosen Chaos Space Marine squad, the Forsaken. They can fulfill this role in one of two ways, either by infiltration or by outflanking. With this squad being equipped with 5 plasma guns they have the ability to not only deal with both MEQ and TEQ targets effectively but also to target the weak points on armoured targets; rear armour. Their secondary role is steal objectives deep within the enemy territory.
As you can see each of these strategies overlaps with each other. This creates a cohesive army that is highly effective.  Of course this when the models hit the table and the dice start rolling the best laid plans can sometimes turn into a monstrosity of situation. On the fluff side of the house I employed as many units as possible with the number 7 being that of their squad size and or giving them the Mark of Nurgle. For the units that this could not be done to that is where some creative Nurgle modeling came into play. The Nurgle Forest Theme is seen throughout the entire army and quickly cast aside any doubters on whether or not this army serves the Father of Decay.

This entire process starting right from selecting unique units to that of your codex, to employing specific army wide strategies, to assigning each unit responsibilities can be done with any and all codices out there. I challenge each of you to mutate your army into a force to be reckon with and if you do please share it with us here at The Chaos Manifesto.


  1. Knowing what each piece of your army is going to do before the battle is simple common sense that too many people forget. Good primer.

  2. Another great article that seamlessly blends artistic form and strategic function. (the first image in particular is hauntingly beautiful). Great stuff. Keep them coming.

  3. @ MAX - Building a list is a science and one must know what chemicals mix well together and what what make explosive combinations. It take time to build a well thought out list but in the end its all worth it.

    @ BSmoove - Well that does it for the main body of my CSM army but fear not as I have a few modeling projects that produce several other units that I can delve into.

    As always thanks for reading my blog and I hope you continue to enjoy.