Are you all Enjoying Chaos so Far?


I was curious to hear some war stories from some of our readers as to their experiences with Chaos so far as I am finding myself a bit Luke warm about building an army from the codex.

So, let me preface this by saying I like the codex a lot, and think it’s a bit improvement from last edition.

However, I just am not finding a list that I really want to play. I keep finding myself building lists that look and play a lot like my Space Marine lists. And then, the logical part of my brain says: if it looks and plays like your Marine lists, and you already have a huge Marine army, and you always have a million projects you want to work on at any point in time, why bother?

The other thing that gives me pause is that running units of regular CSM’s is a big liability without support. Unlike units of Tactical Marines, who are awesome now, CSM’s with any points invested in them run the very real risk of breaking at a critical moment or getting run down in a combat gone bad. For a unit meant to be aggressively going after objectives that cost a good amount of points, that simply isn’t a sound investment. If they are meant to be stalwartly defending an objective, that is a problem, too. Assault is still the best tool for taking those objectives and any MEQ based assault unit is going to struggle in the face of what’s out there in the game these days. They quite simply don’t get the job done when they’re fighting Grey Knights, Daemons, Harlequins, Wraiths, etc. Too many dedicated assault units will walk right through them.

So again, I am not saying in any way this is a bad book, I quite like it as a well crafted Dex with a lot of internal balance. I just keep scratching my head and writing list after list and not feeling satisfied with anything. I keep finding myself spending way too many points on troops units that are good, but not good enough to justify their points and take away from the killing power a good list needs to really compete. I’m not saying it won’t hit me, just to this point I am feeling a bit meh, and looking back at my Blood Guard, Orks, and Nids as the armies that are inspiring me.


Frankie is saying he really wants to run an Abby/Chosen spam list with Oblits. Frankie loves min/max or deathstar lists. Pretty much every army he owns is built that way, and they are really powerful lists. Chaos does that well, and running 5 man units of Chosen with 5 Plasma guns is a damn good choice. My problem is that I usually enjoy playing lists with lots of variety most, and that is a bit harder to do with Chaos.

I know some of you read that last line and are saying, what? This book has a TON of variety. And it does! But to run units viably that cost as much as a tooled up unit of CSMs does, you need to count on them not running away. A unit of Dark Eldar Warriors, IG Vets or Guardians for example, are cheap enough that them not being fearless or having ATSNKF is mitigated by their low cost which allows redundancy in taking lots of them. Units approaching the 200pt mark and above are just too big of an investment to take that risk in competitive play. That is why you didn’t see regular CSM’s that often last edition. And back then they were leadership 10 with a reroll! Haha

To mitigate this with Chaos, you need to either unlock Cult units as troops, which requires an HQ slot, or plop a fearless character in a squad of CSM’s or Cultists to make them Fearless which again, requires an HQ slot. This is totally viable, but it does restrict what you can do to a certain extent as it dictates what HQ’s you have to take. In 6th you need reliable scoring units, or just lots of scoring units to make a dependable list. With Chaos, realistically, you are gong to get 3-4 units of troops that fight well and score, or lots of Cultists that are dedicated scoring units. That isn’t a bad thing, but if you are using assault units that double as troops, the issue is that they often die doing their job. Berzerkers aren’t earning their points sitting on an objective, after all. And when they are gong headlong up-field, odds are they won’t survive the game as they naturally attract a lot of fire. So, you shouldn’t plan on them being a reliable scoring option in most cases. I have strongly considered running units of 10 CSM naked with no upgrades, as at 140 points, leadership 9, they serve as a decent skirmishing unit that scores and is fairly hard to kill. Toss in two plasma guns for 170, and they have a little punch….but then compare that to Tactical marines who for the same points get ATSKNF, Combat Squads, Combat Tactics and the same or better firepower. Ouch. That just doesn’t hold up well as a scoring unit.

Cult Troops are certainly better, but man do the points add up fast. I am really liking the look of a unit of 10 Noise Marines with a Doom Siren and a Power Weapon, with the boys all having a CCW (and no sonic weapons). That weighs in at 220 for a reliable scoring unit that shoots and assaults well. That is a unit that I feel is a good investment and will reliably grab those objectives for you.

So what combos of units are you all running that you are enjoying and finding to be successful? I want to love my Night Lords, haha, but it’s not coming to me right now. I am hoping some of you have seen some cool stuff I have not, and inspiration will strike! Right now I am thinking 2 units of Noise Marines and a squad of Plague Marines as my core objective takers, and 1-2 units of 10 Cultists as my secondary objective grabbers. Alternatively, a unit of 35 Cultists with Kharn as a really fun unit to run up field and soak wounds for the Man Himself! No matter who he hits, Khorne is pleased! The rest of my points will be going to ass kicking units that do most of the heavy lifting.

So let’s hear it! What’s working for you all?


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

28 Responses to “Are you all Enjoying Chaos so Far?”

  1. Avatar
    Tom October 13, 2012 3:16 am #

    Nice write up, I’m feeling very similar with my theory crafting for the new codex as well trying to feel out different selections and how to find a way to make not only a fluffy list for my Night Lords but something that can also be fun to play on the battle-field that is indeed different from my Blood Angels of old.

    Currently I’m playing around with list ideas based around my personally written Battle Company of Night Lords who have been plagued by the Prince of Chaos, so have some very heavy Slaanesh leanings. Their Atrementar have been twisted (See Obliterators) and even their Captain has taken up a Daemon Weapon to increase his power (Perhaps the reason they find themselves currently cursed?).

    The list involves a Raptor Lord with the Black mace, MoS and some usual equipment accompanied by a Slaanesh marked Sorcerer. Yes they don’t normally use them, but there have been some books with Midnight clad Librarians still around and the interaction between Noise marines and the psychic powers are really neat. Then some small 10 strong cultists units to jump in from reserve and go to ground on objectives was not only a good play tactically but fluff-wise is very accurate with the notoriously terrible treatment the Lords give their cultists and slaves. A unit of regular CSM in a rhino and two Noise marines round out my troops. Then double dragon power, some raptors obliterators and havocs to round out the list seems to be the way I’m leaning post play-testing.

    Sonic weaponry really shreds infantry though when you get interactions with the Slaanesh lore and a certain debuff from the Biomancy lore… Just some thoughts for ya. 🙂


    • Reecius
      Reecius October 13, 2012 10:49 am #

      Damn, your list sounds eerily similar to mine! The only difference being that I am not taking a Sorcerer, 3 units of Noise Marines instead of 2, lord on a biek for tough 5 instead of a jump pack, and no Double Dragons (haha!) but an Aegis, Oblits and 2 units of Havocs.

      Pretty similar, and interesting to hear that your thought process was so similar to my own!

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 13, 2012 10:54 am #

      Oh, haha, and like you, my Oblits are not Oblits in the my fluff, but I use 2 man teams of CSMs on a single 40mm base, 1 with the Fist and Special weapons, the other with the heavy weapons. I think it looks cooler, and it fits the backstory a bit.

      But with the awesome Night Lords books, you can fit in some Daemons as the Exalted was a Prince, and Ruven was a Sorcerer, so it does give you a lot more latitude.

  2. Avatar
    Anon October 13, 2012 4:48 am #

    You’re correct that basic CSM are going to get steamrolled by enemy assault units. That’s normal, they’re only Tac Marines without ATSKNF.

    I generally would build them for CC. Swap the bolter for a chainsword (for free), buy Mark of Khorne (costs the same as a ccw, but gives better bonuses), take the Icon of Vengeance for Fearless. VOTLW is also a good upgrade to take, re-rolls against Marines and +1 Leadership is nice. I then take lightning claw+powerfist on the Champ, and a pair of meltaguns to pop transports to get at the passengers. Rhino is optional, you could always just invest in a Cultists meatshield to give them free cover saves.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 13, 2012 10:45 am #

      I was thinking the same thing, but my issue is that the stupid banner can get sniped, and then you lose the linchpin of your unit. HtH is where they get rolled, and an enemy character has good odds of taking that banner out and then your big points sink of a unit is gone.

      I am thinking you need either a Character or Cult troops to really be reliable. That, or bare bones units with maybe 2 Flamers. 150pts for a scoring unit that skirmishes isn’t bad, but compared to things like Vets, Immortals, DE Warriors and Tac Marines, they just stink! Haha.

      I am sure I will find something I like, but as of now, a bit perplexed.

      • Avatar
        GiantKiller October 13, 2012 2:31 pm #

        The icon can get sniped, but you don’t have to put it on the champ. Any model in the unit can carry it, so it’s probably better to put it on a rank-and-file guy and keep it toward the back of the unit. That way the icon stands less of a chance of getting killed out from shooting or in CC. The champ is probably the worst place to put it since he has to challenge/accept.

        • Reecius
          Reecius October 13, 2012 5:21 pm #

          I agree. I was talking to Janthkin about it today and he made a good point that you can try and hide the Icon, too, so avoid him from even being targetable.

          They definitly add a lot, I just worry about them becoming a liability.

          • Avatar
            edwin October 13, 2012 5:37 pm

            ordanace barrage, snipers, and characters ftw. honestly, manticore is going to be amazing against chaos

          • Reecius
            Reecius October 13, 2012 6:23 pm

            Manticore is amazing against everyone =)

  3. Avatar
    Greg October 13, 2012 8:34 am #

    Its not just CSM that has this challenge, but they shouldn’t play so different from regular Space Marines. CSM should play more like SM or they will get plunked off of objectives.

    I think 6th Edition creates a lot of risk/reward issues with troops. Specifically, it requires the use of so many troops just to survive or force you to decide to send a smaller but more powerful unit out front or even mech to clear the way for the troops to consolidate on a position, but then everyone uses torrent of fire to bust your 2+ save.

    That being said, I have been running a land raider with my Space Wolves and the only thing that has hurt the land raider has been dangerous frikkin’ terrain. Immobilized!!!

    I bought some Chaos for the first time and I am looking for ideas on what to build and I have been watching the battle reports and such since I am a Noob to them. I hope to see more tactics in the future. In the meantime, I am building my Helldrake, which is cool!

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 13, 2012 10:40 am #

      Yeah, I agree. With cheap troops, you can take lots of them. With expensive troops, they need to be reliable or they become a liability. So far with Chaos, cult troops or CSMs/Cultists with a Character are the best choices.

      Another set-up I see as being viable is taking units that can not be ignored and throwing them in the other player’s face, forcing him to deal with them and taking some of the heat off of your troops.

      It is a difficult conundrum. But, it is a fun puzzle. I keep leaning towards Noise Marines, personally, as I think they are the best all rounders.

  4. Avatar
    edwin October 13, 2012 2:34 pm #

    I find the power codex simply have the best troops. this book just seems to lack the awesomeness in the troop section. SW grey hunters are nasty, Gk can make nearly anything troops and Necrons warriors are my favorite troop in the game as they threaten anything in the game save t8+ . the chaos troops dont fit in this category though. honestly, I dont know about assault troops in this edition. shooting withers, assault destroys can you risk a whole troop to destroy a squad when something else in your codex probably does it better also, assault troops dont have much merit if you are sitting them on an objective

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 13, 2012 5:23 pm #

      Exactly. I am working through the problem myself, and am having a difficult time finding just the right note to hit. I am leaning towards units of cultists and Noise marines, as I think, most people are.

  5. Avatar
    Hippesthippo October 13, 2012 5:47 pm #

    5 Plague Marines, 2 Plasma Guns = 150 pts.

    7 Plague Marines, 2 Plasma Guns, VotlW, Power Axe, Combi-Melta = 230 pts.

    Just as good as theywerebefore. The 7 man unit is actually cheaper now bctheChampisfree,plus theygain poison.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 13, 2012 6:24 pm #

      They are excellent, but FnP took a hit and with the move to more and more anti-infantry weapons I think Plague Marines are still an excellent choice, but not as good as they were last edition. It’s a small difference, though, and I am not saying you can’t make a great list using PMs.

      • Avatar
        Vidar October 13, 2012 7:56 pm #

        FnP didnt take a hit so much as trade some utility. While loosing 16% of its save, it isnt affected by AP1&2 anymore. Just the Instant Death double toughness rule. I think that gets overlooked a lot.

        I think the new CSM dex is a lot more about synergy. The SM book is designed so kids can play it. You dont have to worry about the advanced things like morale, you can split up forces how you want, but overall its pretty regimented. The units are forgiving and allow a new player to not get steamrolled too bad. I think the CSM dex is a much more nuanced book. I am playing an escalation league here in New Orleans and I have lost both of my games to bad dice rolls (actually terrible dice rolls akin to your Berzerker game) So bad my opponents felt bad. So things didnt work for me, but I really think this is a more Eldar style book than SM. My 2 cents.

        • Reecius
          Reecius October 13, 2012 8:05 pm #

          That is a good point. I think you really do have to have a plan in mind when writing a list with CSM now. You have to be very careful in your unit choices and know what role every unit is going to fulfill. Without that, you are going to find yourself with the wrong unit in the wrong place getting run down in combat, tank shocked, etc.

          I like the book, but I am just uploading it slower than normal. I think that is because of the vast variety and amount of builds available in it.

          I look forward to playing it, though!

          One list we were messing around with was a Dark Mechanicus or Iron Warriors themed list:

          Maulerfiend x 3
          Dragon x 3
          Hellbrute x 3
          Daemon Prince x 2

          That is a crazy, in your face list that will hit like a ton of bricks. Certain lists will own it, but it has so many threats coming in so fast that it should overwhelm most opponents.

          • Avatar
            edwin October 13, 2012 10:08 pm

            So many necron armies will giggle at this. You would have to go Hades on the dragon or fear the air force of any army. 2-3 flyers is becoming more common

          • Reecius
            Reecius October 14, 2012 11:29 am

            Yup, sure would. As I said, some lists own it, but it would be fun to play! Haha

            And Flyer lists are not becoming more poplar, they already are! Haha, at Duelcon there were Necron Flyers than anything else in attendance.

          • Avatar
            edwin October 14, 2012 5:02 pm

            by what standards are cron lists considered air force I had 2 night scythes and a doom scythe at 1750. night scythes we’re there to drop off full squads (one deathmarks and the other warriors) and even when people tailored against it, it was considered cron air and the cheesiest of cheese, even against an opponent with 2 space marine flyers, vulkan, and quad gun. I was honestly hoping chaos would be OP so people would stop giving Necrons crap.(at least in my area )

          • Reecius
            Reecius October 15, 2012 11:53 am

            There is no hard and fast rule, really. I would say for me, 5+ Flyers is Cron Air. That means you army is relying on the Flyers to win you the game.

            That is just my opinion, though. I am sure others will disagree.

  6. Avatar
    hippesthippo October 13, 2012 6:49 pm #

    FNP is just as good, if not better, as you can now use it in the combat against the units where having it will actually matter. You want anti-infantry, you can still take dragons, oblits, or a squad or two of sonic noise marines. Dont’ forget Plague Marines are deceptively good in assault, more so now with poison. Poison is a huuuuge difference in combat where the lack of attacks [and numbers] had hurt them before. If you really want more anti-infantry, kit them out with two flamers for a tough, reliable, scoring unit that can both take and hold objectives at 130 pts.

    People keep wanting to believe that something drastic has happened in the troops section, but it really hasn’t it. CSM still aren’t fearless and cost the exact same amount of points. What changed that people are all nuts over them? Icons that still suck cause the units loses the ability when a single 60 pt model dies? The ability to take cheaper, even more useless csm without ccws?

    No, nothing has changed. Most good armies will rely on a core troops selection of varied size and purpose Plague Marines or Noise Marines. I can see the occasional use of Nurgle/Slaanesh marked marines if you want to play around in the HQ section. The Chosen idea sounds cute, but do you really think a 33 pts per model is a good idea for a troop choice? PLUS a 275 pt character?

    What makes this army book better is the general stat increases and reduction in points all over [lords, bikes, spawn, oblits, havocs] plus the much needed additions of some good long range firepower [havocs, dinobots], anti-flyer[havocs, dragon], and cheap scoring options [cultists/zombies] so you don’t have to take all cult troops and run out of room for toys.

    Sample list:
    Nurgle Bike Lord
    Cheap Slaanesh Lord
    2-4 Plague Marine Units
    1-2 Noise Marine Units
    1-2 Cultist Units
    3-5 Nurgle Spawn
    1-2 Helldrakes
    1-2 Havoc Squads
    1-2 Oblit Squads

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 13, 2012 7:28 pm #

      I agree that FnP got better in general, but speficially as it applies to PMs who will be absorbing small arms fire, it got worse. For those plasma and melta weapons though, I totally agree it got much better as you actually get it now!

      And you said it, not much has changed with their troops, other than to bring (in my opinion, anyway) CSMs more inline with Cult troops (point for point, they don’t compare as badly when kitted out for a specific role).

      The difference though, is that you HAVE to take characters to unlock the Cult units as troops. If you want variety, you have to take 2. That really limits what you can take in HQ which stinks as there are a lot of cool options. As CSM’s have to be babysat if you are kitting them out, it really limits your options.

      33pt Chosen actually do sound like a really good option to me. I personally wouldn’t go all Plasma, though. I would mix it up between Plasma, Flamer and Melta units. Point for point, that is crazy efficiency at putting special weapons on the board.

      And Abby is hardly a tax, IMO, he is such a bad ass that like Draigo, is going to be game changing even if he doesn’t kill anything. Just being there alters the other guy’s plans.

      I like you list though, and I think we will be seeing a lot of that. I am leaning towards Cultists and Noise Marines as troops, with a lord and Sorcerer as HQ, both on Bikes. I think the Sorcerer adds a lot. What one of our regulars is using to very good effect is a level 3 Nurgle Sorcerer on a Palanquin.

      What I can say though for certain, is that there is a lot of variety in this book, which is awesome. You can build a zillion different lists, which is super fun.

      • Avatar
        Hippesthippo October 13, 2012 9:33 pm #

        I do like the slaanesh sorcerer a LOT. Seizures is brutal and the rest are great too. With FNP I am mostly referring to it in regards to power weapons. In 5th a single power weapon was baaaad news forPlague Marines.

        • Reecius
          Reecius October 13, 2012 9:49 pm #

          Very good point, I had not considered that in our discussion. Also fists! You get your save against them, too. So in many ways, yes, it is an improvement for them I would say. Only against massed small arms fire, of VoF attacks has it gotten worse. As you said, probably just as good as they were if not a bit better.

  7. Avatar
    Red Corsair October 16, 2012 8:03 am #

    I am surprised that no one has jumped all over the new chaos spawn. 5 MoN chaos span only costs 180 and has 15 t6 wounds that move 12″ and ignore terrain, AND are fearless and have d6+2 attacks on the charge.

    For these boys are the new wraiths, imagine 15 of these only costs 540 pts and has 45 t6 wounds that are going to assault on turn 2 and can have a couple nurgle b8iker lords leading them for extra shenanigans.

    Food for thought, but I believe these guys are the key to a brutal army… I mean, consider that it takes 3 full units of scatter walkers GUIDED to ensure one unit is wiped if these things have a 5+ area terrain save. That’s crazy!

    • Avatar
      J4ck_Fr0st October 18, 2012 7:37 am #

      The only issue is that the models are no longer in production =(

  8. Avatar
    J4ck_Fr0st October 18, 2012 4:10 am #

    Reece – try this if you want a fluffy yet powerful list. Death guard with typhus and a unit of cultists, 35 barebones no marks. Ally epidemius, put typhus in the cultist squad, blob them around him, and fire off destroyer hive. You instantly fill your tally and the rest of the army can be pretty much whatever you see fit as long as it’s MoN and benefit. Think about Nurgle bikes, raptors, and termies with that.

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