Saturday, 26 August 2017


I bet you heard someone say that right before something terrible happened...well not this time cause all I'm gonna do is be a safe nerd here on my couch and type away.

I'm back with yet another Chaos Space Marine codex review.  Man, it feels like I've done 4 of these in a row... but who's counting right?  So, since I just finished the Index review for the Index: Heretic Astartes, this will be a comparison post with some fancy tactics and combos bringing up the rear.

So lets get the boring stuff out of the way right quick so we can have some fun shall we?

First things first, half of the things in the book got cheaper.  Most of the changes were pretty minor, some of the big ones I'll mention below.
Abaddon gives you 2 bonus command points if he is your warlord.
Huron Blackheart gives you 1 bonus command point if he is your warlord.
Daemon Prince weapons have decreased in points.  The first talon is free, the second weapon costs 10 points regardless of which one is chosen.  The stats for each weapon remains the same, but all thing being equal, you're going to see that axe more often than not.
Chaos Lords and Sorcerers can no longer take bikes or mounts.  Only terminator armour, jump pack, or vanilla.
We got a new HQ!  The Exalted Champion is the Chaos Version of the Primaris Lieutenant, allowing re-rolls to all failed to wound rolls in the fight phase, and he can re-roll all failed to hit rolls if the target is a Character.
The Warpsmith has dropped to 45 points!
Bloodletters, Horrors, Plaguebearers, and Daemonettes are troops choices!  This will void your Legion Trait rules if you take them as a troops choice, but you can summon them, which is probably why they are here, for ease of use.
There is no entry for the Aspiring Sorcerer in the Rubric Marines unit, which means that he costs 18 points same as the Rubrics, down from 30.
Plague Marines get a bunch of new weapons, I'll not go into great detail cause the Death Guard codex will be coming out soon and I'll go over them then.  They get a couple new flamer type weapons and some new close combat ones.
The Doom Siren is Assault D6 now.  Super awesome party time!

Mutilatots, still shitty but they have dropped to 50 points.
Possessed got an extra wound and no points increase!  This is good, really good.  They still have D3 attacks, but there are ways to make sure you get a good result, stay tuned...
Oh god...imagine writing this having to look at that damn dancing lunatic this whole time...he's giving me a headache.
Bikers dropped 6 points!
Obliterators have doubled in fire power getting 4 shots.
The Defiler has dropped over 60 points and 5 PL.  They also have 4-3-2 attacks
The vindicator and predator have dropped 25 and 12 points respectively.
The Baleflamer has been cut in half to 30 points.
The King of Beers, the Khorne Lord of Skulls, has dropped by a massive 100 points!

Well, we got that out of the way pretty quick.  As I said before, there are some other points changes that I didn't mention because they were pretty minor, cultists dropped a point, which can add up, but doesn't really change much.

With that out of the way I, yet again, have to rant a little.  Much like the Index, the organisation of this book is not very good.  It does not flow and it does not feel intuitive.  I may just have not get used to it, as it seems like this is the way they are moving forwards, and I can handle that as long as things are consistent.  Some other things I can handle are a lack of new pictures/artwork, fluff, and models
What I can't handle are the very bad and very obvious errors.  The table of contents are wrong starting at page 120 and I blame Kharn and Lucius.  It looks, according to the Contests, that their datasheets should appear next to their Cult unit of choice, but at the last minute they changed that and added them to the HQ section.  Everything after that is off by only 1 page until you get to Page 129.  This is where the daemons and cult troops start, yet when you look at the Contents, the daemons and cult troops are supposed to start at page 140.  So they got the book all laid out and then made 2 big flip flops right before printing and forgot to change the Contents.  Another pretty big lapse is the missing Aspiring Sorcerer from the Rubric Marine unit points entry.  Now I'll admit that this isn't necessarily a lapse, but it sure feels like they just forgot him.  The only "Copy/Paste bug bites again as the Predator tank is plagued with the same "remaining" wounds mistake that it had in the Index.  The last major error I noticed is that Lasher Tendrils grant an additional 6 attacks, opposed to D6 attacks(what it used to be and apparently what the digital version says).
My last gripe is on all the weapon profiles in the datasheets.  Seriously, do you have to put pistols, and grenades, and bolters, and chain swords in EVERY GOD DAMN ONE?!?!  Never mind those, I could, maybe, handle if they just put all the standard equipment there, but there some that have some upgrade weapons.  For example, look at terminators, they come standard with combi-bolters and power axes which are on the datasheet, but so is the heavy flamer, reaper auto cannon, and lightning claws.  Power fist is not, chain fist is not, combi-plasma/flamer/melta are not...WHY?  What rhyme or reason do they use to determine what weapons get showed off in the datasheet?
*Edit* Since I've started writing this post, GW has actually posted a FAQ/errata, fixing none of things I mentioned and a couple things I didn't notice or care about.

All righty, that's out of the way, now for the good stuff.  While not a ton changed in the actual data sheets, the book contains rules for each legion (except Death Guard and Thousand Sons), relics, warlord traits, and special stratagems.

Lets start with the Legion Traits, if your army is battle forged, and every unit in the detachment contain the same <LEGION> keyword, every INFANTRY, BIKER, and HELBRUTE gain the legion trait special rules.

First on the list is the Black Legion.  They gain an extra point of Ld, and if they have advanced, treat all rapid fire weapons as assault weapons.  This is pretty cool cause you can shoot all those bolters and combi-bolters after having advanced.  Not super great, but very thematic with the unrelenting fire while the marines quickly close with their target.  Also, I have mentioned before that morale has some serious potential to be very devastating, so the extra leadership gives you a little more confidence to take bigger units with less chance of having models flee battle.

Now I know everyone may have a different tone with the next trait, but I think that the Iron Warriors is pretty strong.  They ignore the armour save bonus granted by cover.  In this edition, the 3+ armour save in cover is transformed to a 2+, changing all saves from plasma to a 5 effectively DOUBLING your survivability.  This trait ignores that which, in my opinion is huge.  They also get the ability to re-roll failed to wound rolls against buildings and while you don't see a lot of buildings, boy are they a pain in the ass when they show up and you can't handle that shit.

World Eaters gain an extra attack on the turn that unit charges.  Seems a little...
...until you remember that Bezerkers attack twice in the fight phase.  So that means that that 5 man unit of Berserkers is actually getting 10 extra attacks the turn it charges (barring any kind of interruption shenanigans).

Hey, do you remember that time when I said that morale checks can potentially be devastating?  Well guess who really tries to capitalise on that...did you guess Night Lords?  Then you'd be right.  Enemy units get a -1 mod to their Ld for each Night Lords unit within 6" (up to -3).  That doesn't sound all that great until you start to consider that both Raptors and Spawn give an additional -1Ld to enemies within 1" of them.  If my math is correct, if you have a unit of Raptors and a unit of Spawn assault the same unit, it will have a -4 Ld before taking into account any casualties.  I'm not done on this subject, but I'll get into it more in the combo's section.

Emperor's Children, with their tight, lithe, little bodies always fight first in the fight phase.  If the enemy has units with a similar rule or has units that have charged, then they alternate fighting starting with who's turn it is.  This is, in itself, really powerful but combined with strong shooting capabilities, your enemy will not be able to assault you and control the fight phase as is typically the case.  With Noise Marines having 2 attacks base and all their sonic weapons having an assault profile, this army will really feel comfortable in any phase of the game.

Who doesn't like to get shot?  The Alpha Legion don't, that's why you get a -1 to hit when you target them outside of 12".  Geeze, those plasma guns just got a little less reliable.  Pretty straight forward, but has some combos that can be used.

The Word Bearers get ATSKNF!  Well, it's not as good as it once was, but I have been saying that Morale can be pretty important in this edition, so this is a good thing.

Those are the 7 legions represented in this book, Thousand sons and Death Guard are going to get their own codex, so they don't have a heavy showing in this book.  However, if you don't feel like playing any of those legions and you would rather play a fallen chapter of your own creation, they have an option for you.

Renegade Chapters can charge after having advanced.  I really love this rule as it gives a serious boost to a handful of potentially really powerful close combat units that really need just a little boost to get into combat, Helbrutes, Spawn, and Possessed come to mind.  With their movement of 8" and 7", adding a couple more inches to that makes them particularly scary and faster than they look.

Except there are only 24, not 36.

So, with the introduction of command points and stratagems, this introduces a whole new level to the game.  Since there are 24 of them, I'm not going to be talking about all of them cause some of them suck and are boring.  The particularly awesome thing about these though, is that while they are mostly completely situational, you don't have to spend points on them.  It's not like a situational piece of wargear that you might only use 1 or 2 times a tourney, but is critical in those 2 games and a waste in the other 3 or 4.
For the first of my favourites, we have the Daemon Shell.  This is a special bolt round, only able to be fired by a character that has a bolt weapon, that deals D3 mortal wounds if it hits for 1CP.  If it does not hit, the shooter takes D3 mortal wounds.  Oh, and you can't re-roll a failed hit.  Now, this might not seem very good, but mortal wounds are going to be damn important in this game.  If you NEED to get one or 2 more wounds on a really tough model, then this is your stratagem.  The particularly good thing is that you can do it every turn
The stratagems has claimed our Chaos Boons, requiring a character to slay another character you may then pay 1CP to roll on a 2D6 table to get some very familiar abilities, such as Spawndom and Daemonhood, both of which do NOT cost reinforcement points.  A result of 7 sees you able to pick a boon of your choice (not spawn or daemon prince) and if you happen to get a duplicate power then you can choose a different one.  You may only get each ability once.
Another couple popular ones are Fury of Khorne(3CP) and Endless Cacophony(2CP) which allow a Heretic Astartes Infantry or Biker, Khorne or Slaanesh unit(respectively) fight or shoot again(respectively).  A while back I said to stay tuned on how to make Possessed dangerous, Fury of Khorne is one way.
Tide of Traitors is pretty good, removing a unit of Cultists from the table and setting them up wholly within 6" of any table edge and more than 9" from the enemy at it's full starting strength.  So if that big unit of 40 Cultists just got bogged down by some super bad ass choppy mother fuckers, you can just pop those suckers out of there at the end of your movement phase and put the full 40 models back on the table.  This one is a 2CPer, but totally worth it in particular situations.
Daemonforge allows a Daemon Vehicle unit to re-roll all failed hit and wound rolls for a whole shooting or fight phase.
One of my top 3 is the Chaos Familiar, which allows you spend 1CP and swap a psychic power!  This is fucking amazeballs especially since the GW Grand Tournament pack came out in which the powers you choose stick with you for the whole tourney, you don't change them out each game.  So if it's late in the game and you REALLY need to get a couple mortal wounds on something, swap out Warptime with Infernal Gaze or vice versa if you really to get a model across the board to grab an objective.
If you like summoning, the Word Bearers Stratagem Dark Pact is for you allowing you to re-roll the summoning dice and preventing you from taking any mortal wounds, for 1CP.
The World Eaters Stratagem Scorn of Sorcery allows you deny any enemy psychic power on the table on a 4+.  Since World Eaters cannot take psykers in their army (a thing that was clarified in the FAQ) this helps control the enemy psychic phase.  The nice thing about his is that it doesn't matter what your opponent rolled on his psychic test, you will render it null and void on a 4+.
The last one I want to talk about is my number 1 pick, the Night Lords Stratagem In Midnight Clad.  When one of your Infantry units is targeted by a shooting attack, you can spend a single CP and for the rest of the phase all of the shots going to that unit are at a -1 to hit.  The really awesome thing about this is that you can choose to use it once you are targeted.  Now there is a little bit of discrepancy here, but it looks to me like if the enemy is going to be targeting you with Plasma weapons, you can choose to activate this ability after he decides if he is going to supercharge them.  This puts him in a sticky situation as he is now losing dudes on 1's and 2's.  Keeping in mind that most re-roll abilities only affect 1's, and re-rolls happen before modifiers, 2's are just dead models plain and simple.  I'll get into just how to use this later.

Perils of the Warp
So, we got some new psychic powers, and they are good.  Particularly Death Hex, which I think is pretty clearly the strong front runner.  It has a casting value of 8, which is the highest casting value I've seen on a power so far, but it completely removes the invulnerable save from an enemy unit 12" away.  Think on that for a minute, the whole unit of thunder wolves or thunderhammer terminators, or any daemon units, just defenceless.  I don't know about you but that give me a warm and tingly feeling.  Gift of Chaos is a new offencive spell that forces a toughness test and deals 3+D3 Mortal Wounds if failed.  Plus if you kill a character with it you can replace him with a spawn.  Diabolic Strength is pretty simple, a single model gains +2S and +1A.
We have the 3 from the index as well, Warptime, Prescience, and Infernal Gaze, all pretty much unchanged.  Which make up the 6 base Dark Hereticus psychic powers, but we get 3 bonus powers, one for each god (at least the ones who don't despise the use of psychic powers).  I found it interesting that each of the above powers are all offencive in nature, letting you hit better, dealing mortal wounds, making you stronger or faster, while the 3 god specific powers are all defensive, granting unit buffs that will keep them alive.  The Tzeentch power boosting or giving an Invul save, the Nurgle giving a -1 to hit buff, and the Slaanesh power giving a 5+FNP.

Lets talk artifacts
One of the most exciting things I was waiting to see was the weaponry selection, and I have to say, I was not disappointed.  They did do something that I really loved, they limited the relics to 1(unless you use a Stratagem to get up to an additional 2), it is essentially free, but you only get 1.  Now obviously some are going to be far more useful than others, which I will talk about in more detail, but I will at least touch on most of the items.

Talisman of Burning Blood allows a Khorne following character to advance and charge, and re-roll failed charges.  Eye of Tzeentch gives a +1 to casting Smite, for Tzeentchian psykers only, obviously.  Intoxicating Elixir is for Slaaneshi characters and it gives them +1 S and A.  This one I talk about a little more in the combos section, it's part of the "Super-Blender".  There's the Puscleaver, power sword replacement that is AP-2, Dd3, and wounds non-vehicles on a 2+.  The Axe of Blind Fury is back, basically turning your character into Kharn with 1's not able to be re-rolled or modified and causing wounds to friendly models within 1", it's S+3, AP-3, and Dd3 make it pretty deadly and worth the risk.  The Black Mace is also back, and while it can't be put in the hands of a Daemon Prince anymore, it's still pretty deadly.  Basically a super power maul, you roll a D6 for each model that is killed by the black mace, on a 6 the target unit suffers an additional mortal wound at the end of the phase.  We also see the return of the Murder Sword, which is now useful all by itself.  If you don't remember this used to be a plain old power sword unless you were attacking a chosen character, then it basically became a power fist.  Well now, this bad boy replaces a power sword and has S+1, AP-4, only D1, but it's claim to fame is that you choose a character at the start of the battle and when attacking that character all hits automatically do mortal wounds.  That is fucking scary as shit.  Put that on your Lord and watch as your enemy desperately tries to keep his warlord away from yours.  The Cursed Crozius is a basic power maul that does D3 and allows re-rolls to wound against all IMPERIUM units, it is a Word Bearers only item though.  The Fleshmetal Exoskeleton is going to see it's way onto every Iron Warrior Daemon Prince as it gives a 2+ save and grows back a wound every turn.  The Blade of the Hydra is an Alpha Legion super chainsword, the Claws of the Black Hunt are Night Lords super lightning claws, and Blissgiver is an Emeror's Children super bolt pistol that hates characters.
The Brass Collar of Bhorghaster is one that I want to take a paragraph to talk about.  This is a World Eaters only item, but it gives the bearer the ability to Deny the Witch.  This is pretty damn huge in the world of World Eaters because they don't get any psykers (see the new FAQ).  On top of that, if the model successfully denies the psychic power cast, the caster suffers Perils of the Warp.  Think about that, you're looking to toss out a simple Smite and roll a 6, success!
"I'll just roll d3 for the mortal can deny?  But you don't have any psykers...oh...a 7, darn you stopped it.  Then I'll cast...WHAT...PERILS?  No, that's not right, let me see you codex... ... ... shit."
Yeah, we all know that feeling.  I hate that feeling, but I love the feeling I get when my opponent gets that feeling.  Anyway, that's it for weapons...

Warlord Traits
These are good.  Not game breaking, but really useful in the right circumstance.  First up is re-rolling failed wound rolls against Adeptus Astartes units.  Fairly circumstance, and useless if you have Lightning claws or a similar rule.  There is an extra wound and a 6+FNP.  Another that re-rolls wound rolls of 1 against everything.  There is also an extra attack.  That's 4 of the 6 generic ones, the 2 others  I wanted to talk about a little more in depth.
Flames of Spite deals a mortal wound to the target unit when the wound roll of your warlord is a 6+, IN ADDITION to any other damage.  So not only does it mean that you actually wounded the target, but you have done an extra wound that they can't save against.  I will add to this in the combo section.
Last of the generics is Lord of Terror which forces your opponent to roll 2 dice for units taking morale checks when within 6" and they have to use the highest.  Have I mentioned how brutal morale can be yet?  Well, I'll get more into this one in the combos section as well.

Now if you don't happen to fancy any of those, and you are playing one of the 7 legions represented in this book, then you can choose your very own fluff, yet still useful, warlord trait.
Alpha Legion, well, we all know and love this one.  Your warlord gains this trait, PLUS a randomly selected one from the generic chaos traits.  When your warlord dies, pick a new character to be your warlord, he gets this warlord trait and generate a new random trait for him, and so forth and so forth.  So your opponent will only score Slay the Warlord if all your characters are dead.
Black Legion grants extra attacks from DTTFE on a 5+ to units within 6"
Emperor's Children gains an extra attack for each wound lost up to +3, but loses those bonus attacks if he heals those wounds back.
Iron Warriors auto pass morale checks wen within 6"
Night Lords, well to put it simply, gain a bonus re-roll command point per battle round that can only be used on the warlord.  That's not exactly it, but it's close enough.
World Eaters add 1 to the S and A each time the warlord slays an enemy character, monster, or titanic model.
Word Bearer, they yell louder so all their aura abilities are 3" bigger.  That might seem kinda shitty, but that can really help you out is quite a few circumstances, especially when you take a Dark Apostle as your warlord.  He has 2 really useful aura abilities and boosting them up to 9" can help you get more models in the fight instead of stringing them out to keep within aura range.

Finally we get to...
I have no idea what this has to do with combos, but it came up when I searched Google, so I'm using it.
So, if you want a really tough nut to crack, something that is gonna take a metric shit ton of fire power to put down, check this out.  Iron Warriors Daemon Prince with the Fleshmetal Armour and the mark of Slaanesh.  Make him your warlord and give him the Unholy Fortitude trait.  Cast Delightful Agonies on him and pop the Iron Within Iron Without stratagem when needed.  This will give you a Daemon Prince with 9 wounds, a 2+ armour save and a 5+ invulnerable save.  He will also get a 6+ save from the warlord trait, a 6+ save from the stratagem, and a 5+ save from the psychic spell.  Since the FAQ stated that if you have multiple FNP type saves, you may take each of them, that means you will be making 4 saves for every wound you take.  To give you a little perspective, you will have to be hit and wounded by 14 super charged plasma gun shots to die.  Or hit and wounded by over 100 shots that don't have an AP.  Or take almost 20 mortal wounds!

Next up we got the Fearball...ok, not the best name but it's better than the Bark Bark Star.  First you start with a couple units of Raptors from the Night Lords legion, add some Warp Talons, a Sorcerer, and a character to be your warlord.  Your warlord could be the sorcerer, but he needs to have the Lord of Terror Warlord trait.  Now, I'll leave the methods up to you, but when you get all those units into combat there is a -5 penalty to the enemy's Ld that are at least 1" away.  I like deep striking them and using Warptime to get the Warp Talons in close for an easy charge, they can't be overwatched when they deep strike so getting them into combat is key to survival and maximum damage.  You can also give the Raptors the Mark of Khorne and the Banner of Wrath to re-roll charge distances.  Then when all the damage has been dealt, any unit within 6" of the warlord will be rolling 2 dice and choosing the highest for morale.  This is a pretty big "eggs in one basket move", but there are some pretty good safety nets to take away a good chunk of the risk.
Lets spitball some ideas, and say you want to charge everything into 1 unit.  You will likely get the Warp Talons there, and odds are, with the re-rolls, you get at least one of the Raptor squads and lets say for the sake of argument you got the warlord in there as well.  The Warp Talons are likely to do around 4 wounds, perhaps the Raptors will do a couple from shooting and another in combat, so say 4 as well.  Well, that's 8 wounds right there, plus the -4 Ld penalty and rolling 2D6 picking the highest, your opponent will likely loose another 8 models from Morale.  This actually translates fairly easily into charging multiple units, assuming the enemy units are largely the same, because we simply split those 8 wounds lost from morale around to the multiple units that took wounds.  There will be some instances where the enemy rolls well and you won't do as many wounds, but I'm dealing with odds here and dice can be unpredictable.

I call this next one...
This one is pretty simple.  Play Night Lords, have a hammer unit and sorcerer, both with the Mark of Nurgle.  Put them in a transport and bum rush that bitch right up the middle.  When they jump out and assault, cast Miasma of Pestilence and have them hit like they do.  Some of the cool new combat weapon options from Plague Marines could make them a viable option.  Then, when you enemy backs off and goes to open up on them, you pop your In Midnight Clad stratagem and bam, they are hitting with a -2 modifier.  With the really heavy prevalence on plasma weaponry, this is going to cause some issues because if he decides to supercharge he is losing half his models cause they will overheat on 1-3.

This last one I'm going to talk about today is another Daemon Prince, this time from the Emperor's Children legion with the Stimulated by Pain warlord trait and 2 sets of talons.  Give him the Intoxicating Elixir relic, cast Diabolic Strength, and then use the Excess of Violence stratagem.  This turns your Prince into an even blender-y-er blender with 9-12 attacks at S10.  Those will likely kill 5-9 models generating that many more attacks, assuming you are attacking 2W models with 3+ save, which will kill 3-6 more models for a grand total of 8-15 dead enemy models.  Can you fucking believe that?!?

Well, there we have it.  Thanks again for sticking it out and making it right to the end.  If you have any comments feel free to send them my way.

Until next time, keep them dice rollin.