Wednesday, September 20, 2017

0 The Good, The Bad & The Panda: Codex Chaos Space Marines Review #10 Heavy Support/Lord of War


Glowing redhot the barrels of their weapons scream out in agony as they tear apart a platoon of guardsmen with ease.  From the flank a salvo of missile screech their way toward a detachment of armoured sentinels.  Their aim as true as their hatred for the Imperium the missiles punch into the cock pits and leave little doubt that their operators were vaporized.  A massive explosion erupts from a monstrosity of skulls.  It's main cannon letting loose its anger and wrath leaving only its' munition to extinguish the lives of many guardsmen.  Blood is spilled and Khorne is left smiling down.

Like a GWAR concert we are in the final stages of this Codex Review and we have saved the heaviest for last.  Not one but two of the best Heavy Support options are left along with what can only be described as an over the top centre piece for a GWAR concert; a Lord of War unit.  Without a doubt these three units are loud if not flat out heavy.


Havocs
Overview:  Veterans of the long war have given these Chaos Space Marines the role of wielding the biggest and heaviest weapons in their Legion.  Havocs might come in small squads of 5 to 10 but each and everyone of them pack a punch that tears through the thickest of armour.  They are suited for all types of shooting; short, medium and long range.

Good: Even though they do not have a single special ability or rule Havocs standout amongst the various entries in the CSM Codex.  The reason for this is that they cost the same amount of points as regular Chaos Space Marine but can have up to 4 of its members carrying either a heavy or special weapon.  In addition the squads Champion can take up to items from the Champions Equipment list meaning it can take a "Combi-weapon" of your choice.

Bad: Their is very little you can complain about when it comes to Havocs except for the fact that they step all over Chosen Space Marines.  With their ability to take a handful of special weapons and that they cost 3pts less per model Havocs make it hard to not field when you are looking for a strong shooting unit.

Panda: I like my Havocs in squads of 5 and multiple squads of them.  I kit them out with 4 "Missile Launchers" and run the Champion with a "Bolter" & "Chainsword".  "Missile Launchers" offer you the ability to deal with hordes, vehicles and monstrous creatures.  The variable profile is pure gold. Running only one squads of them is not enough as a savvy opponent will see the value/threat they are and take them out before they start to wreck havoc on the battlefield. Double down on them and don't be afraid to even triple up on them.  The long range threat also adds value in an Alpha Legion army as they will benefit from their trait in the back field.  There is value in fielding a squad of 4 special weapon and a matching "Combi-weapon" on the Champion if you can protect them; perhaps in a rhino.  A Havoc squad  like this will be able to roll up on a horde of chaff with a fist full of flamers or a tank with "Melta-maddness" and a "Plasma" squad on almost anything at all.  At the end of the day there are very few lists that I build that do not contain at least 2 squads of Havocs."



Obliterator
Overview:  Mutation of flesh and metal.  These ancient warriors blend the reality between man and machine to their advantage.  Coming in squads of 3 and 3 only.  They are suited for midrange shooting.

Good: One look at their stat line and you will be left picking your jaw off the floor.  We are talking about a BS/WS 3+, strength 5, toughness 4, wounds 3 and a 2+ armour save.  If that was not enough since they are "Daemonic" they have a 5++ invulnerable save.  Without a doubt they have a lot going in their favour.  Their "Fleshmetal guns" are tasty as well even with them having a variable profile.  Assault 4, strength 6+D3, AP -D3 and Dmg D3 is good even if you roll 1's for all three of the D3s. Of course rolling three 3's is not bad either.  To round off their good abilities they can also deepstrike their way into a favourable position on the battlefield.

Bad: They are one of the slowest units on the table with a movement 4" but their biggest downside is their unit size.  They come in only squads of 3, not 1, not 5 but 3 and 3 only.  This fixed size takes getting use to and is worth ignoring in favour of their plethora of "Goods"

Panda: When we are talking Obliterators we are talking about 3 of them.  That means when they shoot its 12 shots going down range at a high strength, a good AP and a decent damage.  They are a great secondary unit to use "Endless Cacophony" on if you have marked them Slaanesh; firing twice is always nice.  While having any "Mark" on them will always let you use "Veterans of the Long War" to increase your chancing of wounding their target.   



Khorne Lord of Skulls
Overview:  The biggest, the meanest and the most expensive unit there is in the Chaos Space Marine Codex.  This unit is without a doubt a centre piece to GWAR concert; it screams death and ridiculous all at the same time.  It is suited for close combat while doing a decent job at shooting on the approach.

Good: Sheer abundant POWER!!!  Its' number are off the chart and should be considering its' cost.  It has a WS/BS +3, toughness 8, wounds 28, with a 3+ save.  28 fracking WOUNDS!!!  It can rengenerate 1 wound every turn with its "Infernal Regeneration" ability.  Good luck taking this bad boy down.  On top of this it has a 5++ invulnerable save thanks to its "Daemonic" ability.  Absolutely absurd.  It has to take two shooting platforms and has one close combat weapon.  The first shooting options gives you the ability to pick from 3 different weapons of which two of them are 18" flamer like weapons ("Gorestorm" & "Daemongore Cannons") that auto hit; very nice option if you ask me. The "Gorestorm Cannon" is the more flexible of the two as its shots increase from D6 to 2D6 if its target is in a squad of 10 or more models.  Its' second shooting option gives it some longer range options.  The "Hades Gatling Cannon" might cost more than the "Skullhurler" but the most notable difference here is that you get twice the amount of shots; 12 vs 6.  Regardless of how you load it out it gets to ignore the penalties for moving and shooting heavy weapons.  It can also shoot its ranged weapons even if units are within 1" as long as they all have the infantry keyword.  If this is the case it can shoot at models within 1" of it and or any visible unit that is within range of its' weapons and are not within 1" of friendly models.  This is a huge advantage as you can shoot its weapons in and out of close combat.   When it comes to close combat it has only one option but its a fantastic option.  The "Great Cleaver of Khorne" lets the Khorne Lord of Skulls fight with either a "Smash" (strength x2, AP -4, Dmg 6) or a Slash (Strength User, AP -2, Dmg D3 but you get to roll 3 hit rolls for each attack instead of 1).  Both are great options and will depend on what your targeting.

Bad

It does have a degrading profile since it is a Daemonic Engine.  This time it targets its movement, strength and number of attacks.  The movement ranges from 10" to 7" to 4" where its strength is 10, 8 and 5.  Now its' attacks actually go up as it suffers more damage.  

At its' cheapest load out you are dedicating 521pts towards this centre piece.  Its' most expensive load out will cost you 623pts.  Either way in a 2000pt game you are talking about spending approximately 1/4 of your armies points.  For good or bad this is a major decision and it will drastically affect your army as a whole.  Make one mistake with this units and castle can crumble before your eyes. 

Panda: If I am going to field this GWAR like monstrosity it's going to be a no holds bar load out.  I am going to go all out on it as the difference between 521pts and 623pts is marginal at this point.  As such I am going to give it the "Gorestorm Cannon" and the "Hades Gatling Cannon".  The "Gorestorm" flamer like attack is excellent for dealing with large squads.  Large squad are going to be a staple in 8th edition as folks are going to want to squeeze every drop of blood out of the rock that they can when it comes to stratagems and you would be a fool not to.  The "Hades Gatling Cannon" gives you a reliable 12 shots and does reliable damage unlike the "Skullhurler" that has variable shots and damage.  Even though the Khorne Lord of Skulls has two platforms that shoot don't just have it sit in the backfield shooting at the enemy as that would be an injustice to this Lord of War.  Make no doubt about it, this model belongs in close combat especially if its in only in close combat against infantry as it can still shoot.  You want to take some damage on the way in as well to help increase your number of attacks in close combat.  This makes it a balancing game as the ideal zone is to be between 7 and 13 wounds remaining.  At this delicate point its' strength is 8 which is 2s to wound the majority of infantry units with a "Slash" attack.  If you make a "Smash" though you get to x2 its' users strength to 16 in this case which translates to 2s to wound 99% of all vehicles.  At the same time your attacks at at 6 a piece but can be expanded out with "Slash" attacks by a multiplier of 3.  In the end this Lord of War can take on anything and everything.  It doesn't mean that it is indestructible though.

These three units each leave large holes in your opponents army and are not to be taken lightly like that of a GWAR concert.  They are loud, crude, deafening and attention hogs.  They will kill enemy units in droves and you will be rewarded by the gods for their actions.  This about sums up my review of the units in the Chaos Space Marine Codex but to those that have been enjoying this fear not as I have one more review left in the chamber.  By the end of the week I am going to rank the Legions by examining their Legion Trait, Legion Relic, Legion Stratagem, Warlord Trait and my thoughts on each of them. Stay tuned.

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