Friday, September 8, 2017

4 The Good, The Bad & The Panda: Codex Chaos Space Marines Review #6 Elites

To be the best of the best you are going to have to climb your way to the top of the dog pile.  You are going to have to step on a few toes and smash a few faces.  No one is going to give you a hand for everyone is out for themselves.  To be amongst the elite units in a Chaos Space Marine Legion is to be hated.  Everyone is an alpha, and every mistake is magnified to the Nth degree.  Only the strongest survive and that is what a Chaos Legion's reputation is built upon.

With the Cult Marines out of the way, we are going to have a look behind the other Elite units at a Chaos Legions disposal.  Each and everyone of these unit Champions is willing to sacrifice every solider under their command including themselves if it means being recognized by their God.  These units are game changers and in this current edition they can be used to break the backs of your enemy.  Their very existence on a battlefield will change the ebb and flow before your very eyes.  Let's stop wasting time and see what they have to offer.

Overview: The best of the best, this is Chaos' version of Scientology's very own; Tom Cruise.  These Marines are given whatever they want without hesitation.  They come in squads of 5 to 10 Chosen and are suited for any task you want to give them.

Good: A highly versatile unit on a slightly buffed up Chaos Space Marine platform; 1 extra Attack and 1 more point for their Leadership stat for 3 more points per model.  They gain their flexibility and combat prowess from the plethora of wargear options at their disposal.  Any of them can swap their "Boltgun" for a "Chainsword" if you just want to boost their attacks from 2 each to 3 (or 3 to 4 for the Champion).  If you are feeling spicy you can swap out their "Boltgun" for "Combi-weapon" of your choice, a "Special Weapon" or a "Melee Weapon".  Up to four can take "Plasma Pistol" in leu of their other stock weapon the "Bolt Pistol".  Their last options is to swap out both their "Boltgun" and "Bolt Pistol" for a set of "Lighting Claws".  One addition Chosen member can swap out their "Boltgun" for either a "Special Weapon" or a "Heavy Weapon".  All of this does not even factor in what you want to give to their unit Champion, who can has access to the Champion Equipment List which allows for anything you may want.  As you can see plenty of tools at their disposal for 5 of them plus the Chosen Champion. 

Bad: While the Chosen have a large toolbox it is limited to 5 of them and the Chosen Champion.  It would be nice if a full squad of them had access to these options.  If they did you, it would put them on a level playing field with Chaos Terminators internally and Space Wolves Wolf Guard externally.  It would be a nod to their fluff if the one Chosen who can take a "Heavy Weapon" could grab a "Heavy Flamer".  With no special abilities at all, this unit just feels like they are missing something to help elevate them to where they should be on the battlefield and to where their fluff is.  As it stands, Chosen find themselves in an awkward position where Terminators, Havocs, Possessed or Cult Marines could be used instead to do the same job and who will do it better then Chosen 99% of the time.

Panda:  I feel like GW has missed the bull’s eye when it comes to Chosen.  So many other units out perform them in one area or another.  One way to help them out would be to give them the ability to setup in concealment and or to make a scout move after deployment has finished.  This would be an excellent way to levitate this unit to where they should be by turning them into a Frankenstein mash up of a Sternguard and a Scout, while still making a unique unit at the same time.  As it stands for now, Chosen don't have a unique skill set that they are the best. If GW could change one unit, Chosen would get my vote.  Till then, my Chosen models will be melding their way back into my squads to act as unit champions and or special weapon members.

Overview: A beef up version of a Chaos Terminator that excels in bashing its' enemies heads in.  They come in units of 3 and 3 only.  They are suited for close combat only.

Good: 3 attacks each at a variable strength of 6-8, with a variable AP of -1 to -3 and a variable damage profile of 1 to 3.  This variable aspect is accomplished by rolling three D3 dice in a row to represent their strength, AP and Dmg.  Regardless of how it plays out we are taking about some scary close combat attacks.   Since they are a "Daemon" unit they get a nice 5+ invulnerable save. They get the ability to deepstrike in via their "Teleport Strike" ability.  Oh and one must mention that they have 3 wounds each, which is quite impressive.

Bad: The variable rolls are done for the whole unit for all their attacks.  This means that one bad roll against that one unit you need to get ride of could be decided on one of these rolls.  On the other hand you can use a re-roll for any of these three D3 rolls to try and improve your Mutilators attacks.  They move at a pace that makes Plague Marines and Plaguebearers seem fast, 4".  

Panda: Even with 3 wounds each I do not know if they are worth 50 points each.  Having to field 3 and only three is annoying as hell as it prevents you from throwing in a lone model if you have 50 points roughly remaining in your list building.  I understand why, as some jackass would field a plethora of lone units till you were puking.  Yes you can in match play field one undermanned squad of 1 or 2 if you want to but I don't like going down this road myself.  In the end I feel that they are not worth taking as they are just too pricey and slow for my liking.  That said though I could easily see them finding a home in a split Chaos Space Marines, Chaos Daemons army as they can benefit from the auras/psychic powers from Daemon Characters with the same as them.  

Overview: The true veterans of a Chaos force are those that wear the tactical dreadnought armour; Chaos Terminators.  These fierce warriors make Chosen look like a little girl's "My Little Ponies" collection.  They can be fielded in units of 5 to 10 Chaos Terminators.  Suited for alpha/beta strikes, shooting and close combat. 

Good:  Each and every Chaos Terminator unlike that of the Chosen can take what they want and as many of them as the unit needs.  Each them come with a "Combi-bolter" and a "Power Axe".  These can be swapped out so that they can have a "Combi-weapon" of their choice and a "Power Weapon" of their choice or a set of "Lightning Claws".  For every 5 Chaos Terminators one of them can take a "Heavy Flamer" or "Reaper Autocannon".  Having a 2+ armour save with a 5+ invulnerable save with 2 wounds each makes them very durable.  They have the ability to deepstike in via their "Teleport Strike" ability.

Bad: They are one of the slower moving units in the game of 40k with a mere 5" move.  This is felt at times but is not the end of the world.  They can get on the pricey said due to their abundance of weapon options.

Panda: Chaos Terminators are worth every single point you spend on them.  My favourite setup is a 10 man unit each with a "Combi-plasma" and "Power Axe".  Give them each a Slaneesh Mark and have a Slaneesh Sorcerer in tow and we have a very nasty alpha/beta striking unit.  Deepstrike them on to the battlefield near with the Sorcerer and have him pop the psychic power "Prescience" along with the stratagems "Endless Cacophony" and "Veterans of the Long War" on the Terminators.  Now pick any enemy unit that you wished was not on the battlefield and watch it vanish before your eyes.  "Prescience's" +1 to shoot will allow you to supercharge all that plasma goodness without fear of killing your Terminators.  "Veterans of the Long War" will give you +1 to wound and "Endless Cacophony" will let them all fire one more time.  That is a lofty total of 40 strength 8, AP -3, Dmg 2 shots that are each getting a +1 to wound at anything they are shooting at. Hell why not have that same Sorcerer cast Warptime on the Terminators to get them nice and deep into your enemies lines.  Come on now who doesn't like it nice and deep?  Bottom line is that Terminators are one of the best units in the game and Chaos Terminators are what any terminator wishes they were (except Space Wolves as their "Frost Weapons" put them over the top).

Overview: Mutated Chaos Space Marines is what we are talking about here.  Daemonic Warriors hell bent on snapping the necks of the foes and sucking out their bone marrow.  They come in units of 5 to 20 and are suited only for close combat.

Good: As mentioned above, they are a Daemonic which translates into a ++5 invulnerable save to be paired with their 3+ armour save.  Not a bad start but GW sweetened the pot by giving them 1 more wound for a total of 2 now. Don't worry though as GW kept the price per model at 22pts which is great deal when you consider that they move 7", are strength 5 and wield a close combat weapon that does Ap -2, Dmg 1.  Not bad at all.

Bad: Could be bad, but could be good or just average when it comes to their D3 attack value.  Of course their real weakness is their complete lack of shooting.

Panda: If you want a fast moving unit that is great at close combat or hell just a close combat monster then Possessed are an excellent choice.  Their ability to field large units makes them ideal for popping off stratagems and or psychic powers as you get tremendous value out of them.  Running a Herald of the same Mark on a Juggernaught in behind them will let you buff their strength by 1 which can come in handy.  You can hit Khorne marked Possessed with the stratagem "Fury of Khorne" to let them immediately fight again but only if you can cripple your opponent as this stratagem is not cheap.  Slaneesh marked can get a 5+ FNP from a Slaneesh Sorcerer for added resilience. Both Nurgle, Slaneesh and Tzeentch marked Possessed can benefit from not only the auras of Daemon Characters but can also be targets of their psychic powers.  This synergy can be utilized and will make for not only an interesting themed army but a powerful one as well.

Overview: We are talking about vampires entombed in a robot with a dash of insanity or Chaos' version of a dreadnought.  Suited for close combat and long ranged dakka support.

Good: Helbrutes can move at a surprising 8" which will allow those wishing to get into close combat that much faster.  At the end of any phase where a Helbrute suffers any number of unsaved wounds or mortal wounds you can see if they go into a "Crazed" state of being.  On a result of a 6 on a D6 they can immediately shoot again or pile in and fight again if their is enemies within 1" of them.  You get plenty of options for kitting them out.  For close combat you can go with any combination of Helbrute "Fists", "Hammers" and "Power Scourges". Each Helbrute "Fist" can be fitted with a "Combi-bolter" or "Heavy Flamer".  On the shooting side of the house weapons range from one of the following; "Multi-melta", a "Twin Heavy Bolter", a "Twin Lascannon" a "Helbrute Plasma Cannon" or a "Reaper Autocannon".  In the other arm you do have the option to replace its "Fist" with a "Missile Launcher".  Since they are not a Daemon Engine they actually have a good BS unlike Defilers and Forgefiends. Remember that Helbrutes also benefit from their Legions Tactic ability which is flat out awesome as they are now part of the team.

Bad: By not being a Daemon Engine they don't get an invulnerable save option or the ability to repair 1 wound at the start of your turns.  As such this does make them vulnerable at times.  Lastly it would be fantastic if they could take two of any shooting platform instead of being restricted to one and a "Missile Launcher".

Panda: If you want to go with a close combat Helbrute just watch out for hidden powerfist/thunderhammers/chainfists like weapons as they can make quick work of your Helbrute.  Also be wary of large units such as Ork Boyz as they can tarp pit them down. I  like going with the "Missile Launcher" and "Reaper Autocannon" setup as it's fairly cheap and throws out plenty of dakka with options for dealing with hordes, vehicles and monstrous creatures. Field a couple of these with a couple Decimators and a two squads of Havocs and you have a solid firebase.  If you are going to go heavy on the vehicles look at having a "Warpsmith" and or "Hellwright" to repair them.

As you can see there is no room for reprise amongst the Elite units of a Chaos Legion especially when you throw the Cult Marines into the mix.  Almost each and every unit is screaming for your attention.  One minor slip or lack of a rule and that unit is on the bottom of the dog pile.  Chaos Terminators have once again rightfully found their thrown on which to rule with an iron fist.  They will be one of the most used units in the game of 40k.  The larger the unit the greater the reward.  Your foes will cringe when you inform them that they are going to be deployed via "Teleport Strike" and rightfully so.  Bath in the tears that they shed and be proud that you stood against the corpse emperor for you are Chaos!!!  


  1. im pretty sure the FAQ allows hellbrutes to be a shooting platform now.

    1. Sadly the FAQ does not allow for a dual shooting platform Helbrute unless one of its weapon is a missile launcher. I would really live to see duel Reaper Autocannon. A panda can dream though.

    2. awww boo...still not too bad though

  2. I'll check the index to see what they could have tonight. My plan was for my final review post to cover what the FAQ allows you to also field or do with units.