Hello fans of Frontline Gaming, SaltyJohn, and TFGRadio today I bring you the somewhat new and upcoming Chaos Space Marine formation, Kakophoni! For more reviews, bat reps, tactics discussions, and analysis check out the Tactics Corner!
The Space Marines of the III Legion Astartes were some of the Emperor’s finest warriors. Named the Emperor’s Children they were also the only Legion granted the honor of being able to bear the Emperor’s Aquila upon their armor in the Pre-Heresy era of the Great Crusade. They strove for perfection in all things, this obsessions with perfection and beauty eventually led to their seduction by the Chaos power of Slaanesh. In their falling to Slaanesh some of the Emperor’s Children created units based around weapons of great sonic power. Their corruption by Chaos making them seek out ever greater sources of Cacophonous noise, created units that could purge enemies through noise imbued with the powers of the warp. They formed these powerful units of Noise Marines into formations called the Kakophoni. How do these formations of voluminous power stack up on the table to though?
The Kakophoni formation is the cheapest of the new formations from Traitor Legions that centers around cult troops; Berzerkers, Plague Marines, and Noise Marines. The Kakophoni uses Noise Marines as it’s base and adds in some special rules that make them even better. When used as part of an Emperor’s Children Rapture Battalion detachment the formation becomes even better. Like all of the Cult Troop formations, even those found in Wrath of Magnus, the devil is in the details. Where getting the best benefits of the formation requires you to take the maximum number of units allowed in the formation. This is a near impossible task for Thousand Sons but is much more manageable for the Emperor’s Children.
- 1 Chaos Lord or Lucius the Eternal.
- 3-6 Units of Noise Marines
- Minimum load out costs 365 points, bare bones full load out costs 650 points.
- Split Fire
- Sonic Overload: All sonic weapons used by units from a Kakophoni have the Shred Special rule. If this formation includes the maximum number of units then all attacks made by Sonic Weapons are resolved at +1 Strength as well.
Those special rules don’t suck. Even if you aren’t taking the full load out to get the +1 strength to the sonic weaponry the addition of Shred is a big deal. This iteration of 40k has made armies nearly dependent on the ability to get re-rolls. If you’re running an army that can’t access the ability to re-roll to hit and/or wound on at least 30% of your army, I would argue 50%, then you’re far behind in the 40k arms race. So just taking them as a Cheap Core choice in an Emperor’s Children detachment isn’t a bad option. Although you get the same problem you run into with both the Plague Colony and Maelstrom of Gore; which is a Warband is more often than not going to be the better Core choice. Then how to run this formation to make it effective?
Well, if you run it with Max units to get the most benefit from Sonic Overload and use it in a Rapture Battalion to get the benefits of the Fueled by Sensation rule you’re starting off right. This detachment is the one that gives units within the detachment with VotLW the Fearless and Feel No Pain (6+) special rule, with the Icon of Excess you get FNP 4+. You also get to roll on the Combat Drugs table for all the units in the Kakophoni which can get you some cool things like +1 BS or +1T. So what would a fully loaded Kakophoni look like points wise, and damage output wise?
The way I would run it is min-maxed. For 1145 points you get 31 models, 6 squads of 5 Noise Marines plus Lord. Give them 3 Sonic Blasters, Doom Siren, and Blastmaster with an Icon of Excess. With Shred and +1 strength all those weapons become just a tad bit better. They’re getting better by the way against the most prolific models in the game, models in Power Armor. They’re also becoming very resilient with the addition of a 4+ FNP. If you throw these guys in cover, with their long range, higher strength, Shred weapons you can chew through the soft underbelly of a Battle Company quickly. The Doom Siren is probably a maybe check in the include column. For 15 points it is great for killing off marines close up; with the formation rules it is a template, s6, AP3, Shred weapon. That melts ceramite plate to slag! In terms of actual game use I can imagine entire games where you get to use 1 or 2 of the 6 Doom Sirens only once or twice. Without the Doom Siren on each Champion the formation drops to 1064 points. The Blastmaster however is a totally different thing.
The units in the Kakophoni formation have the Split rule. This means one model in the unit can fire at a different target than the rest. This means you can sit your units of Noise Marines in cover and plunk away with your Salvo 2/3 Sonic Blasters at 24″ range and still fire your 48″ range small blast, S9, AP3, Ignores Cover, Pinning, Shred weapon at a different target. While it may feel weird to not be advancing a unit with a higher initiative than Vanilla Marines across the board to get into combat; the Kakophoni actually makes for one of the more resilient gun lines that the new Traitor Legions book provides for. Perhaps only the Death Guard Warband in their Detachment can rival this formation for sheer resiliency and firepower.
The bottom line with the Kakophoni formation is; if you’re an Emperor’s Children player who loves all his Noise Marine models you have a formation that while not the quote, unquote, best in the new Traitors Legion book certainly makes it a viable option to play Noise Marines again. That is truly the best part about this new release. It may not have the “ZOMG OP, I’m going to wreck face! GG Noob!” feeling of the Eldar codex but it is solid, and it breathes new life into an entire range of models that had been rotting on the vine for several years.
As always, share your thoughts in the comments section! And remember, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off, every day.