Imperial Armour 13: Unit Analysis, Part 2

Last week I went over some of the more standard Chaos Marine choices, tanks, heavy tanks, and flyers, this week we’re going for the more esoteric, the Helbrutes, Dreadnoughts, Daemon Engines and Titans.  Since I have less to go over, and because these choices are a bit more unusual than others, I’ll be going over them in slightly more detail than last week.

Chaos Dreadnoughts and Helbrutes

Ferrum Infernus Chaos Dreadnought



First up this week is the Ferrum Infernus Dreadnought. Everyone asked for a Helbrute that you could mark and Forgeworld answered. It’s base cost is 10 points more than a Loyalist Venerable Dreadnought, doesn’t have the Venerable Rule, but does have an extra attack and Fear. It’s weapon upgrades are pretty much identical to a standard Helbrute, except that it’s allowed to take a Chainfist, additionally, it may upgrade it’s heavy bolters or autocannons to have Malefic Ammunition at an exorbitant fee. The Dedications do not come cheap, at 15-20 points, but they all do add some interesting rules, none of which really jump out to me to make a 150+ point AV12 model worth it.

The big deal about this guy are it’s 3 unique upgrades: Lord of the Long War, Host of Daemonic Iron, and Destroyer of Cities. The first one got the most attention when the rumors were floating about, before we had the book.  It makes the Dreadnought into a character, and if the model is destroyed by an Explodes! result on the damage table, then it has a 1/3 chance to turn into a Daemon Prince, Spawn, or nothing at all… If you die to anything else, such as being wrecked, nothing special happens, you just die. Host of Daemonic Iron gives the Ferrum Infernus the Daemonic Resilience rule, and effectively Acid Blood (at S4 AP3). The third result is probably the only one I’d consider taking, the Destroyer of Cities, which gives him +1 front armour, and exchanges the stock weapons with an Assault Drill, Heavy Flamer and Flamestorm cannon.  Additionally, it gains +1 front armour and Move Through Cover… I might actually consider building one of these, but mostly for fun.

Overall, I’m not very impressed with the Ferrum Infernus, but at least it can make for some interesting conversion opportunities.

Emperor’s Children Sonic Dreadnought

Far on the opposite spectrum of the Ferrum Infernus, we have the Sonic Dreadnought!  it’s profile is boosted like a Venerable Dreadnought with +1A, comes with assault and defensive grenades, plus can opt to give it’s sonic weapons both Rending and Gets Hot. It comes with a chainfist, twin-linked sonic blaster and doom siren, but I think everyone will be upgrading it’s sonic blaster to a Blast Master without any hesitation for a few points. It’s most important upgrade is most likely it’s Warp Amp, which allows it to fire all sonic weaponry twice, if it remains stationary that turn, so yeah, stay still and for less than 200 points you’re dishing out 2 blastmaster shots a turn.  Sign me up!

Chaos Contemptor Dreadnought

by Rovient

by Rovient

Oh the Chaos Contemptor… Almost a carbon copy of it’s Loyalist cousin, instead of having a 5++ it has a 4++ against glances and a 6++ against everything else, as well as some chaosy weapon options. It’s a gorgeous model, but honestly, not very competitive. If you want ranged, 2 Butcher Cannons sounds great, but it ends up being 70 points more than a Dakkafiend, for +1 front armour and +1BS, and if you want it for combat, it’s either far too expensive compared to a Maulerfiend, or essentially an even more expensive Decimator.  Since dedicating it to a single role makes it inefficient compared to other choices, the only option left is to take advantage of the fact that it’s decent in combat, but can also carry a big gun. I take mine with a multi-melta, and chainfist with in-built meltagun. Alternatively, a single butcher cannon and power fist might be fun.

Daemon Engines

Greater Brass Scorpion of Khorne

my own Brass Scorpion

my own Brass Scorpion

My favorite Lord of War by a long shot, the GBS has not changed a bit with this new book.  Still running around with an ignores cover demolisher cannon, charging 3D6″ and getting +2 to the number of stomps it cause.  If you want a Lord of War that can handle it all, this is your guy… Though he doesn’t particularly care for fighting against Knights and other Destroyer weapon armed melee walkers, but loves squashing through droves of infantry instead.  I imagine it sounding like a train running over bubble wrap.

Blood Slaughterers of Khorne

by Lamenter

by Lamenter

An old Forgeworld mini, but kind of an interesting choice.  They have the old rules for rage, meaning they must move towards and charge the nearest enemy unit, which can be very problematic, but with Rampage and +D3 attacks the turn you charge, anything that these guys do make it into, is pretty well screwed. If you do take them, I think that the Impaler upgrade is damn near mandatory. It gives you a 12″ range krak missile that hits on a 4+, but if it causes a penetrating hit on a vehicle, or unsaved wound on a monstrous creature, it is immediately dragged 2D6″ towards your unit, and if you drag it into base-to-base, you count as having charged it.  By deep striking a unit of 3 of these, you could potentially pull a unit 6D6″ into combat with you, effectively giving you a charge the turn you land.  Again, not a super competitive unit, but could be fun to mix things up.

Chaos Rapier Weapons Battery


Damn near the best unit in the book, if not the best. A Rapier stock is giving you a cheap 6-shot heavy bolter, with 3 of them coming in around the price of a dakka predator, which means 18 twin-linked heavy bolter shots and 12 T7 3+ wounds of artillery… but it gets way better. Chaos Rapiers can be upgraded with the standard Laser Destroyer, but more importantly can take an Ectoplasma Cannon, Hades Autocannon, or the Cyclotrathe pattern conversion beamer (with a S10 AP1 large blast at 24-48″). The weapon options are all just so amazing, it’s hard to pick what to take!  A battery with Hades Autocannons is 20 points more than a Forgefiend, but causes double the amount of S8 hits, or with 3 Ectoplasma Cannons is even cheaper than a Forgefiend with 2! The most impressive option though has to be the conversion beamer, potentially dishing out 3 S10 AP1 large blasts a turn.  Holy cow, the only limitation here is how many Heavy Support slots you have…

Chaos Decimator

by BasetheRuins

by BasetheRuins

Long time amazing model, long time bastard child of Forge World… It’s like a Contemptor, but mostly worse.  Stock it comes with 2 siege claws and a pair of heavy flamers, and that’s about where I’d leave it.  Upgrading it to have any ranged weaponry at all is just a waste of points compared to a Contemptor, and if you take 2 ranged weapons, then you’re just a glutton for punishment. With the standard configuration for close combat, it does have a lovely 5 attacks at S8 with Shred, so really, why mess with what’s already good?  It can be a real pain to kill due to it having Daemonic Resilience and Unholy Vigor (1:6 chance to come back to life every turn after it dies), plus can buy It Will Not Die by being Dedicated to Nurgle. Dedication of Khorne also improves it in combat, giving it Rampage (for potentially 9 attacks on a turn you charge), so that’s not bad either. Generally pretty lack lustre, I’d only take this guy when configured purely for combat.

Blight Drones


by Dave Taylor

People only complain about Heldrakes when they haven’t fought a Blight Drone. Being a Daemon of Nurgle, the Blight Drone has the ultra annoying, eldar-ish jink save of 2+, and with front armour of 12, it’s surprisingly resilient for a cheap HP2 flyer. My favorite tactic is to hover this guy out of charge range, daring the enemy to shoot at it.  Either they make me jink and waste the firepower of whatever shot at it, or they let it float around with a 36″ range battle cannon, reaper autocannon, and throwing a blind grenade for good laughs. Best part is that you no longer have to take Plague Marines to use them, no excuses anymore!

Plague Hulk of Nurgle



Another fantastic Daemon engine of Nurgle, it’s basically a Soulgrinder that Chaos Marines can take. It’s base cost is the same as a Soulgrinder with Daemon of Nurgle, though instead of the Harvester Cannon, it comes with a S5 AP3 poisoned 3+ flamer, and a 36″ S6 AP3 ordnance, rending large blast… Just disgusting. With it’s shrouded, part it behind some terrain for a 2+ or 3+ cover save, and if anyone gets close enough, flamer them, toss a blind grenade, and charge into combat with your Krak grenade ignoring AV13. Like the Blight Drone, you don’t need Plague Marines anymore either!

Chaos Titans

Chaos Reaver Titan



The big daddy of titans in 40k, the Chaos Reaver titan is a force to behold.  Weighing in at a staggering 18 HP and well over 1500 points when marked, the Reaver Titan is the most expensive super heavy that you can even fit into most standard games of 40k, but really, outside of friendly gauntlet-style games, this guy belongs in Apocalypse. The only advice I’ll give with it is to avoid the Titan Power Fist like the plague… It looks cool, but is so much worse than the other options it’s embarrassing.

Chaos Warhound Titan

by Battleworthy Arts

by Battleworthy Arts

Probably the most powerful Lord of War that might actually get some game time, the Chaos warhound brings a punch.  The same gun options as the loyal version, but it also has the ability (as does the Reaver) to be marked by a god. Daemon Titan of Khorne makes it less awful in combat, but god, don’t get this guy in combat! Daemon Titan of Nurgle is the most expensive, which is understandable by giving it IWND. Titan of Tzeentch lets it re-roll 1’s to hit, which is only useful with the Vulcan Mega-bolter, and Soul Blaze on it’s Inferno Cannon, so not exactly impressive. Finally the Deamon Titan of Slaanesh tries to give it some defense in combat, but fails miserably… Really, it’s Nurgle or nothing. Avoid combat like the plague with this guy, it has a pitiful Weapon Skill of 2 and a single Initiative 1 attack, so really, do not get this guy in a fight as anything it faces will keep it engaged for eons.

In Conclusion


Imperial Armour 13 definitely succeeds in breathing new life into the Chaos Marine army. I think that with these additions, they might actually become relevant again, or at the very least, a surprisingly effective. In a tournament environment, the addition of Fire Raptors, Sicarans, Dreadclaws, Rapiers, and Hell Blades, to a force could really dramatically improve how a Chaos Army will perform. Obviously talent > toys, but with a bit of both, Chaos might actually come out ahead.


About Adam

Cofounder of RUMBL – player finder for Miniatures Wargames. I also run a little blog called TheDiceAbide, check it out.

25 Responses to “Imperial Armour 13: Unit Analysis, Part 2”

  1. Avatar
    Nehekh November 13, 2014 12:30 am #

    great review! daemon titans of khorne really begin to shine with the 1st war for armageddon legacy, though! +1 invul for all daemons of khorne (including said titans), cumulative with other boni (malefic, grimoire, etc.). Imagine daemon angron + his bloodthirster bodyguard at the feet of a khorne reaver…

    • Adam
      Adam ( November 13, 2014 9:52 am #

      Thanks Nehekh! Unfortunately the Brass Scorpion itself cannot take a legacy, but it’s definitely an idea to put it on something else to follow it around, buffing it!

  2. Avatar
    AbusePuppy November 13, 2014 6:38 am #

    The Cyclothane Beamers being Large Blast (rather than small) is just crazy-good. Combined with their generally-superior range bands, it makes them into fantastic shooting platforms for a fairly reasonable cost. Stick a Sorcerer with them to make them less likely to run off the board (and, ideally, provide Shrouding or other buffs) and you’ve got a nasty little unit.

    Blood Slaughterers being able to “charge” the turn they arrive is absolutely huge. Admittedly, it’s a bit of a dicey proposition (need to land in range, hit on 4+ and get a successful pen) but when it works, it’s amazing.

    The Plague Drone I consider on-par with or slightly worse than the Heldrake; yes, that 2+ Jink is nice, but when you use it you’re basically not shooting at all next turn and its main gun is definitely worse than the ‘Drake’s is (AP4 rather than AP3, or risking scattering rather than always landing where you want it.) It’s certainly not bad by any means and the small discount it gets is nice, but considering you give up Vector Strike, Side AV12, and IWND, I think it definitely gets lower marks overall.

    • Adam
      Adam ( November 13, 2014 9:47 am #

      Yeah, those large blast beamers are just amazing, but the Hades rapiers are also awesome, so hard to decide!

      The Bloodslaughterers faux-charge is very interesting, but like you said, fairly risky, slightly better odds against a Monstrous Creature though (especially the T6 variety).

      The other thing to remember about the Plague Drone is that it’s far smaller than the Drake, and on a much much lower base. if you place it carefully, you’ll end up with a 3+/2+ cover save even without jinking.

      • Avatar
        AbusePuppy November 13, 2014 4:27 pm #

        Yeah, the Hades hasn’t gotten as much press as the Cyclothrane, but for 65pts four BS4 S8 shots is pretty solid.Great for hosing down light-to-medium vehicles, although the 36″ can be a bit limiting.

        The Drone is definitely easier to hide due to size, but with the forward-mounted gun, I think you’re gonna be fairly limited in where you actually place them. It’s a great trick when it works, but I’ll keep my Heldrakes.

  3. Avatar
    Cuddles November 13, 2014 8:59 am #

    I have a budget for 6 rapiers. I was thinking of going the laser route, and then magnetizing for the autocannon (I have 6 from heldrake bits I bought). I am wondering what your take is on overall ranking of the options. It seems to me that the conversion beamers and hades are the best, overall.

    • Adam
      Adam ( November 13, 2014 9:50 am #

      I probably wouldn’t even consider the laser variant for CSM (but shit yes for R&H). I also feel like the hades autocannon barrel from the Heldrake is going to be really small mounted on a Rapier, I’m personally going with the Forgefiend’s Hades Autocannon for that conversion.

      Conversion and Hades are simply the best options, it’s just incredibly hard to pick between the two… 12 S8 AP4 shots vs 3 S10 Ap1 large blasts. If you take a Crimson Slaughter sorcerer with Divination, that’s even more fun.

      • Avatar
        cuddles November 13, 2014 11:22 am #

        I agree on the hades, the problem is trying to get the other bits for the forgefiend. They are impossible to find. I even tried punisher tank guns and those are sold out, too.

        • Adam
          Adam ( November 13, 2014 12:13 pm #

          Well, each of my maulerfiends gave me 2 left over, haha. There appears to be a couple sets on ebay though.

        • Avatar
          AbusePuppy November 13, 2014 4:29 pm #

          Burst Cannon barrels, specifically the ones from the Tau tanks or from the Riptide, could potentially work. You might also dig around for the Punisher cannon from the Vengeance Weapon Battery.

          Or, failing that, make your own from plasticard; it’s not actually super-difficult.

          • Avatar
            cuddles November 13, 2014 5:22 pm

            wonderful ideas! Thank you!

          • Adam
            Adam ( November 14, 2014 9:55 am

            Before you go buying burst cannons, look up “dreadknight bits” on ebay, you can find some Heavy Psilencer bits!

      • Avatar
        TinBane November 13, 2014 5:20 pm #

        I thought I should chip in on a +1 here. I’m going lascannons, because I’m not fielding CSM as my primary.

        +1 also for the forgefiend. You might be able to trade them on forums or at your local store?

      • Avatar
        TinBane November 13, 2014 5:21 pm #

        I’m making up small discs of various sizes (you could use washers too, potentially) and making up and end from a bead, for my conversion beamer. Got to find the right bits/beads though first, and get the chassis sorted.

        Going to go with a small metal washer on each gun, and a 10mm magnet on each base to mount them.

      • Avatar
        TinBane November 13, 2014 6:39 pm #

        Oh, and thoughts on the ectoplasma cannons? IIRC they are 24″ range, which means their utility vs all the other options is massively reduced?

  4. Avatar
    droozy November 13, 2014 9:36 am #

    I love my blight drones. People are always snooty about them but they put in work EVERY time. Papa Nurgle protects.

    • Adam
      Adam ( November 13, 2014 9:51 am #

      I definitely think they’re underestimated, my friends curse their name frequently, plus you can get 3 in a squadron as a single FA choice, which is nice considering how impacted the FA slot is for CSM.

  5. Avatar
    DCannon4Life November 13, 2014 10:12 am #

    Can’t disagree about the Rapiers. However, my purchase priorities are: Fire Raptor then Sicaran (I’ll run a Warp Smith to get both in the same list). I think my Noise Marine list will be immediately (modestly) competitive when the Fire Raptor arrives. I’m looking forward to it.

    • Avatar
      cuddles November 13, 2014 11:33 am #

      I thought the relic rule was removed from fire raptors. My IA13 is in the mail, so I can’t confirm, but that is what I was assuming.

      • Avatar
        DCannon4Life November 13, 2014 2:30 pm #

        Not called a “Chaos Relic Fire Raptor” but it still has the “Infernal Relic” special rule. You’ll find it on p. 76 when you finally get it. 🙂

        • Avatar
          cuddles November 13, 2014 3:28 pm #

          I’m glad I didn’t buy two before getting the book/posting on here.

  6. Avatar
    cuddles November 13, 2014 2:26 pm #

    Is the plague Hulk in the Elite slot? (Sorry, I am still waiting for my book to be delivered, but I can’t stop obsessing about everything).

    • Avatar
      DCannon4Life November 13, 2014 2:31 pm #

      Heavy Support (p 135)

      • Avatar
        cuddles November 13, 2014 2:37 pm #


  7. Avatar
    Dude_I_Suck November 13, 2014 8:04 pm #

    YES! Sonic dreads are back! There was much rejoycing to be had, at very high levels of volume.

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