I am going to start right off by saying that this is not a wish list. In this post you will not see what I think GW should have done, or what I would have done, or what GW should do in the future. You will see what we CAN do with what we have right now. I will be looking at a lot of different sources from Imperial Armour to the Christmas Advent calendar.
Lets start with looking at some of the strong aspects of the Chaos Codex, and I will incorporate a couple thoughts from the 2 supplements, Black Legion and Crimson Slaughter.
The mighty Daemon Prince. He is a combat beast and excels at killing everything but the hardest nuts. Making him a psyker is kind of hit and miss because of the idiotic rule that you have to take at least one roll on the patron god psychic table. Nurgle is arguably the best, but a Khorne prince with the axe of no friends will carve a bloody swath. I enjoy running a Nurgle Prince with wings, and that's it. he is 200 pts, has a 2+ cover save at all times thanks to shrouded and jink, and can wipe your average marine unit in a couple phases, add the Black Mace and he will melt hordes, MC's, and hurt GMC's with 6+D6, AP2, Fleshbane attacks. However, since he is not EW, the Skull of Ker'ngar from the Black Legion is a pretty viable choice, yet since there aren't any decent weapon options, the better idea is to keep him cheap and not in combat. The Last Memory of Yuranthos is a decent option as well, an 18" nova psychic power is pretty good, but again, that damn rule that forces you to roll at least one power on your patron god table is a serious handicap. If you could put all 3 rolls, plus the Last Memory, you could get 4 of the 7 Pyromancy powers which would give you a pretty decent arsenal of powers.
The Chaos Lord is an extremely versatile character. Fearless, decent stats, and some seriously scary weapons for a model of his stature to wield, but he can become very pricy when you try to make him durable enough to justify his cost, especially since he isn't EW which again takes us back to the Black Legion book and the Skull of Ker'ngar, which again takes us to the point that there are no decent weapon options. The Spineshiver blade is an option, but it's AP3 and no S bonus is a serious downfall. The Crimson Slaughter also doesn't have much for viable weapons, but it does have the Daemonheart armour which grants a 2+ save and IWND. The ONLY 2+ save outside of terminator armour and shenanigans, available to Chaos Marines. That isn't the only piece of decent kit though as the Slaughterer's Horns offer up a slew of abilities and the Prophet of the Voices can ensure that your Lord can keep up with the Possessed that are now Troops, and significantly better due to the new new and improved abilities table.
His other obvious use to make cult units Troops, and since Plaguemarines are as tough as they are, a Nurgle Lord is a pretty popular choice, especially on a bike running alongside a big unit of Nurgle marked Spawn.
The Sorcerer is a great way to get an easy lvl 3 psychic on the table and at a mere 110 points, you have room to add some items to his equipment list. He will actually get very little work done, but since the Chaos book seems to focus on combat as a main way to fight the enemy, having a couple dudes with Invisibility and Shrouding is a good thing. One of the most popular builds I've seen is taking a couple on bikes and running them with a unit each of Nurgle marked Spawn. I like to use one with the Prophet of the Voices upgrade and run him with a unit of Possessed, this gives him the Daemon special rule which allows him to cast all the Malefic powers without the penalties, as well as all the other special rules that the Possessed get, like Fearless. However, he can only join units of Possessed from the Crimson Slaughter book. Yes, the Possessed are a little over priced, but as I mentioned before, they are way better with their new abilities table. One of the results is a 3++, which can be turned into a 2++ with Cursed Earth. The Sorcerer is typically best taken without a Chaos mark due to the rule in which he has to roll one power on his patron god's table.
|Speaking of which...|
Lets segue nicely into those psychic tables and get a little more in depth. They suck. Yes there are a couple good abilities, but there are more terrible ones than good ones. There is a reason why the only Princes you see are from the Daemon Codex.
The Tzeentch table is full of Witchfire powers, except for one, and it's terrible. Boon of Mutation gives you a roll on the Boon table. Sounds meh to start with right? It's a D66 list and a number of the abilities are useless, but you can turn into a Daemon Prince. Oh, except not with this power, it specifically forbids this result, however you can still turn into a spawn. On top of that you must take a S4 hit before resolving the roll so you might not even survive...lucky you. The up side to the table is that the Witchfire power are sort of decent. A S8 AP1 Beam with Lance, a poison 4+ AP2 template, and a S6 blast that kills more guys the more guys it kills.
The Nurgle table is slightly better with their 2 Witchfire powers being a Nova and a short range large blast, poison 4+ AP2. The other 2 are Maledictions, and are opposing ends of the spectrum of awesomeness. Weapon Virus gives the target unit the Get's Hot rule, and with the number of shots being pumped out by units these days, it's a great ability. To give you some perspective, if a Punisher Leman Russ shoots twice with this power on it, it will kill itself, assuming it doesn't get any re-rolls. 40 shots will average 6-7 1's, and half of those will result in a HP lost. It's not as good against something with a good save, but there are a plethora of units out there that have lots of shots and mediocre saves.
The Slaanesh table is an odd one, and shows some promise with the idea of synergies in the abilities. It is also the only set of Chaos powers that has a Blessing, Hysterical Frenzy boosts the target with +1I, S, OR A. It's malediction is where the synergy comes in, hitting the target with a -1 to WS and BS, but also give a +1S to all sonic weapons that shoot at the same target. Now, Ecstatic Seizures is an interesting one that is incredibly strong against hordes. Each model in the unit takes a hit at it's own unmodified S. This will kill 1/3 of that AM blob squad and due to it's wording, "each model in the unit takes a hit", and not "the unit takes a number of hits..." it can snipe out specific models. Even throwing this power against a big unit of KDK dogs will kill 2-4
I think I heard my timer go off, so lets continue on...
Not a typically popular choice, the Warpsmith has a couple great abilities but due to his cost and lack of actual damage output. My favourite ability is the Curse vehicle which will give any enemy vehicle the Gets Hot rule, which is similar to the Weapon Virus Nurgle psychic power, but it only effects vehicles and you just have to roll to hit with BS5 for it to work. He can also play the roll of Technomancer which becomes important when you begin adding Infernal Relics from IA13, which I will talk about more later.
Last on the list of HQs is the Dark Apostle. I started including one of these guys in my list along with a large unit of Khorne marked cultists and I watch in amazement as they surprise me, and my opponent, again and again. Charging, or getting charged, they have a metric shit ton of attacks and thanks to Hatred they will definitely turn some heads, and being Fearless they will stick around for a little while until church boy bites it. When taken in a Crimson Slaughter army, he can get a Power Maul that gives him a 6" ZEALOT bubble, which is pretty damn awesome.
From here, we can take a look at all the units and wargear and do in depth analysis on them, like we did with the HQ choices, but instead, lets take a look at the theme of the army, and what it's supposed to be doing. Take a look at Khorne Bezerkers, Mutilators, Maulerfiends, Warp Talons, Possessed, the Champion of Chaos rule, Daemon weapons, the Dirge Caster, they all point to one thing. Close combat. This army thrives to get into close quarters so they can see the fear and hatred in their enemies eyes as they gut them with malicious glee. Their biggest fault is that they have nothing other than a Land Raider to carry them into battle and get into assault quickly and safely, and these days a simple Land Raider just isn't going to cut it, where is where IA13 comes in.
Lets start them all off with the Spartan Assault tank. Yes it's expensive, 285 points expensive to be precise, but it can hold 25 god damn models, has QUAD-lascannons, 5 hull points, and can get Ceramite armour making it all but invincible to melta, and you can give it a dirge caster. Loaded it up with Bezerkers and Characters and it becomes 800 points of punch you right in the purdy mouth.
If the ground game doesn't work for you then IA13 allows you to take to the skies in a Storm Eagle Assault Gunship. With armoured Ceramite, a capacity of 20 models, 4 access points, and being an assault vehicle, this surgical strike vehicle can deliver that payload anywhere on the table and it will hurt. The only issue is that it's an all or nothing gambit, if this thing gets shot down out of the sky while its full of dudes they will all die, and if that scares you, you probably shouldn't be playing Chaos. Combine this with the Helblades, Blight Drones, Fire Raptors, all of which are from IA13, add in Heldrakes and Daemon Princes, and Chaos can make a pretty strong Airforce.
We are not done there however, as there are 2 more items on the agenda and they just tickle me pink, they are the Deadclaw and Kharybdis assault drop pods. They are expensive, but they are tricksy my precious, tricksy indeed. Things will start off looking like your typical Drop pod, half (rounding up) will come in from deep strike on turn 1, has AV 12 and 3 hull points (5 for the Kharybdis), but the similarities end there as the Dreadclaw and Kharybdis are vehicles with Flyer and Hover, and have the Assault vehicle special rule. What that means is that once these bad boys enter from deep strike, they can move afterwards, the guys don't have to get out, and when they do get out, they can assault. They can also move flat out as a Fast Skimmer and Jink.
So, I've gone on for quite a bit on making Chaos great again, but I'm not done, just done for this post. Next post I will over some particularly strong units, options, and combos and then talk about some popular lists, as well as some unorthodox options that have some merit, on paper at least.
So until next time, keep them dice rollin.