Since I last did a major update on my Red Corsairs Chaos Space Marines I’ve managed to play quite a few games, and try a lot of different army compositions and unit types. My game tally is about average. I win some games, but I tie far more, and lose about half of my games. I especially struggle against Imperial Guard (who I can’t match in firepower), and Space Wolves (who I can’t match in close combat prowess, nor sheer cost effectiveness across the board). I’ve tried including an even mix of interesting and effective army build choices in my lists, but the more games I lose, the more the lists tend to start leaning towards the more optimized builds. I’m not quite there yet, but I will eventually get to the point where the CSM army I’m fielding is a carbon copy of the so-called CSM standard tournament build.
Why is this? The short of it is the Codex is underpowered, the units are for the most part overpriced, and there really aren’t that many interesting choices in the Codex to begin with. The book is also four years old, and it is really starting to show its age, especially when compared to any of the codices released after the release of the fifth edition of the core rules. The picture above is only a half-truth in the sense, that of course evil is always cooler, but Chaos Space Marines are not even playing in the same ball park as regular Space Marines, Space Wolves or Blood Angels. Of course this is all old news to anyone who knows anything about the current state of competitive play. Even the infamous double lash prince -build, once much reviled, is now just a sad relic of a different edition and style of play.
Anyway, to get to the point, since stating the obvious and whining about getting the short end of the stick makes for poor blog content, lets have a look at what the CSM have going for them. This post is just the first in a short series, so bear with me. This time I’ll have a look at the Chaos Space Marine HQ choices.
Not counting the special characters (who for the most part are crap anyway), the budding CSM general has three types to choose from: The Chaos Space Marine Lord, The Chaos Sorcerer, and the Daemon Prince.
Out of these the Lord is arguably the worst, since he doesn’t really deliver much bang for buck. The argument could be made, that giving him wings gives him good mobility since wings, unlike a jump pack, can fit inside a Rhino. I suppose he’d be at his best when facing shooty enemy infantry in melee, but even for that he is just too expensive, and since he doesn’t have an invulnerable save, he won’t last very long. Oh, if you were thinking about taking Daemon Weapon, stop it. Immediately. Really, really not worth it at all. If you really have your heart set on a killy Chaos Space Marine Lord, however, take Khârn the Betrayer, and make sure you stay the fuck away from your own troops with him.
The Chaos Sorcerer is a slight step up, since he can use his psychic power (Lash of Submission is really the only one worth considering) from inside a Rhino. You could also experiment with a Sorcerer on a bike joining a unit of Chaos Space Marine Bikers, but this build isn’t really viable in point costs under 2000.
The one HQ choice that stands head and shoulders (literally) above the others is the Daemon Prince. He is decently killy in close combat if you equip him with Wings, Warptime, and Mark of Nurgle, but the more common build of Wings, Mark of Slaanesh, and Lash of Submission is a far more attractive choice. Despite the prevalence of amour in today’s competitive play, a Prince with Lash still gives you a very versatile tool for battlefield control. Wanna move those stuck-in orks off an objective? No problem. How about bunching up those pesky Nob Bikers for a salvo of Plasma from your Obliterators? Can do. Worried about that Lone Wolf about to trounce up your whole battle line? Give him a taste of the Lash, and it will take him that much longer to reach any place where he can do any damage. Obviously the Daemon Prince is a magnet for heavy weapons fire, but you need to remember that every lascannon shot aimed at the Daemon Prince is one less shot busting up your Rhinos. In fact, since the Daemon Prince is just that good, you’d better take two of them.
Next up, Elite choices.