Chaos Space Marines Review: Heavy Support: Obliterators

Hi, everyone. Chandler here with a rundown on the twisted fleshmetal mercenaries of the warp, Obliterators.  For more reviews, tactics and strategy articles check out the Tactics Corner.

Obliterators have been a staple in Chaos Space Marines armies for many years now, and 8th edition is no exception.  The unit hits hard, comes equipped with a ton of shots at a decent range, and can lay down even the biggest of nasties in the right circumstances.  They can press a backfield or defend the middle of the board with their brutal shot volleys. For less than 200 points you’d be hard pressed to find a unit with more capable offensive output in the army.


Obliterators are versatile units with deadly mid-range firepower capable of blasting even the biggest Monsters and Vehicles away.  But they are also good at tackling elite infantry and sometimes even pesky screen units.  They put out an amazing volley of fire, and with their ability to teleport in, can avoid being hit by an alpha strike. Put these guys on a weak flank out of reserves and watch it start to crumble.  With a 2+ save and a 5++ Invulnerable and 3 wounds each, they can hang in there for a while.  Their Leadership of 8 effectively makes them immune to morale tests as long as there isn’t a negative modifier anywhere, which can go a long way in keeping them in the game.  And while certainly not great combatants having 3 Attacks each at STR 5 gives them some decent output in combat against the right enemy.  But you want to keep these guys out of combat if entirely possible. They shine most with their amazing shooting potential.


Obliterators are equipped with Fleshmetal Guns.  These deadly weapons are Assault 4 with varying STR, AP and Damage, as they are rolled randomly when you select them to shoot in the shooting phase.  STR is 6+d3, AP -d3, and Damage is d3, all of which you roll for before making the shooting attack. So, at worst you’re looking at STR 7, AP -1, and 1 Damage each.  At best, STR 9, AP -3 and 3 Damage each. With a dozen shots coming per squad these guys can really deal some significant damage to the opponent.


Special Rules:

Obliterators come with the Fleshmetal Guns special rule, as described above, as well as Death to the False Emperor, which allows them to trigger extra attacks in combat against armies of the Imperium on a to-hit roll of 6+. Not an amazing special rule for them, of course, as you want these guys to be shooting most of the game, not having to worry about the Fight phase and combat. They also have the Daemonic rule which gives them a 5++ invulnerable save.  They also have Teleport Strike, allowing you to deploy them into reserves and pop them anywhere on the board more than 9″ away from an enemy unit at the end of your Movement phase. This is important as it allows you to really make use of their mediocre 24″ range by placing them where you want them to maximize their shooting while keeping them out of respectable charge range for a lot of your opponent’s units.


Obliterators are very versatile and with the right combination of Legion Traits, buffs and Stratagems can really cause your opponents issues.  They are unique in that they can take both a Mark of Chaos and have the Daemon keyword along with Heretic Astartes.  Of all the Legions, Obliterators probably benefit the most from being Alpha Legion.  The Hidden in Plain Sight Legion Trait makes your opponent -1 to hit them when they are further than 12″ away which really increases their survivability.  Combine this with the Mark of Tzeentch and throw them within 9″ of The Changeling and suddenly your opponent is at -2 to hit when targeting them! They can also make good use of Forward Operatives by placing them exactly where you want them at the start of the first turn, meaning they can get in range to use those Fleshmetal Guns right away on turn 1. Forward Operatives isn’t always necessary, however as their Teleport Strike ability lets them come in anywhere on your turn, and you’re often better off using that to avoid the unit getting hit with an alpha strike.

Running these guys with a Sorcerer with jump pack or in Terminator Armor can really increase their offensive output as well.  He can deep strike in close by and cast Prescience on them letting them add 1 to their hit rolls, meaning they will hit on 2s most of the time.  If you decide instead to go with Black Legion, you can use their Let the Galaxy Burn stratagem to allow them to hit on 2s re-rolling 1s with the Prescience buff.  Death Hex also combos very well with Obliterators as often they will be hitting with a nice – AP modifier. Removing the invulnerable save of a target of Obliterators shooting, like an Imperial Knight for example, can be huge!

I talked about giving these guys a Mark of Tzeentch, but they also combo quite nicely with Mark of Slaanesh. For 2 Command Points you can throw down the Endless Cacaphony stratagem letting them fire twice in the shooting phase which can be absolutely brutal when the target is stripped of their invulnerable save!  Stack on Veterans of the Long War and suddenly they are wounding most things on 2s and 3s.

Using them with Iron Warriors Legion Trait can also be beneficial as it allows you to strip your opponent’s units of the benefit of a cover save bonus if they are lurking in a ruin or some other terrain piece.  Combined with the psychic buffs above this can make their firepower that much more devastating to your opponent.


While Obliterators can have some devastating firepower to drop on the enemy, they tend to be incredibly slow. With only a 4″ movement, they won’t be going very far. Luckily you can advance them and still fire their Fleshmetal Guns, albeit with a -1 to-hit penalty, of course. The 24″ range of their weapons can also be as much of a burden as a boon.  They can’t afford to sit back very often in a castle as they have to get within mid-range to shoot.  This leaves them very vulnerable to being charged by fast units and they are, at best, mediocre combatants.  3 Attacks each at STR 5 isn’t awful, but you definitely want to keep these guys out of combat for as long as possible. Falling back means they won’t be able to shoot in your next shooting phase, which for your opponent, can oftentimes be as good as killing them.  Even if the opponent consolidates into your Obliterators from piling in or a consolidation move, it’s a win for them because you miss a turn of shooting.  Keeping these guys out in space on the table is a good idea to avoid this.

Overall Obliterators are one of the best shooting units in the entire Chaos Space Marines army.  Their weapons can bring down Monsters and Vehicles alike when combined with the right buffs and stratagems.  Their ability to teleport in really gives you some strong alpha strike potential especially when you take 2-3 units of them.  If you are running Chaos Space Marines then they are a must have unit.


And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



About Chandler

Sometimes I play 40k. Sometimes I drink beer. Oftentimes I do both. I host an annual ITC Grand Tournament, Come the Apocalypse GT, as well as a podcast called Come the Apocalypse - a Warhammer 40k Podcast which you can find on iTunes or the Google Play Music store.

23 Responses to “Chaos Space Marines Review: Heavy Support: Obliterators”

  1. Avatar
    Dakkath September 29, 2017 11:03 am #

    Mark of Slaanesh and endless cacophony. Took down a knight in with them turn 1.

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 29, 2017 11:19 am #

      That plus Veterans of the Long War: brutally effective.

    • Avatar
      Chandler September 29, 2017 11:51 am #

      Yes for less than 200 points and a couple of command points you can really take down some nasty enemy units with Oblits. Extremely points efficient.

    • Avatar
      Dakkath September 29, 2017 12:35 pm #

      Hey, you’re not me.

      • Reecius
        Reecius September 29, 2017 1:14 pm #

        Are some of you still getting the error where it posts your comment under a different screen name?

        • Avatar
          Dakkath September 29, 2017 2:51 pm #

          Seems so, I definitely didn’t post the OP.

        • Avatar
          Threllen September 29, 2017 6:47 pm #

          Yes I’m still seeing that almost every time I come. Was going to say something but I figured you were still trying to fix it.

  2. Avatar
    Davis A Centis September 29, 2017 11:41 am #

    I’m surprised that at the end, when you mention their slowness, you forgot that their guns are Assault! So they can Advance away and still get their shots off… making them a lot faster if you don’t mind the -1 to hit.

    • Avatar
      Chandler September 29, 2017 11:50 am #

      “With only a 4″ movement, they won’t be going very far. Luckily you can advance them and still fire their Fleshmetal Guns, albeit with a -1 to-hit penalty, of course.”

      ^ But I did mention that. lol

  3. Avatar
    Jural September 29, 2017 12:25 pm #

    I haven’t played a game where they aren’t useful yet. At 24″ range, you get 15″ beyond the front of any screen.

    I find it’s best to try and get a first turn hit in on a juicy target, but against a really aggressive opponent there is no shame in putting them in your deployment zone and let them shoot at the targets as they come in.

    They sucked SO MUCH in the Index, it’s amazing what just quadrupling your firepower (with 2CP) does 😉

  4. Avatar
    WestRider September 29, 2017 1:14 pm #

    I’ve been very happy with mine so far. Despite rolling pretty terribly for their weapon values. I don’t think I’ve had a 3 turn up for any of the values yet. They’re still dishing out plenty of firepower, tho.

    You recommend using the Alpha Legion Stratagem on them, but I really don’t see how that’s much of an advantage over just saving a CP and using their Teleport Strike in your first Turn.

    • Avatar
      Chandler September 29, 2017 1:24 pm #

      And usually that is best case. Alpha Legion really benefits them mostly in the -1 to hit them. Using Forward Ops is a case by case thing really but usually the safest bet is to just teleport them in. It really depends on opponent, matchup, etc.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy September 29, 2017 2:12 pm #

      The biggest problem for them is that rolling a ‘1’ for their damage often puts them in a bad place- I usually don’t care much what their Str is (they’re often wounding on 3s regardless), and AP matters somewhat, but a shitty roll on that third d3 is really painful because you defintely ain’t gonna destroy a Knight one damage at a time. It’s why I eventually started running a second squad, because when you need something done, you _need_ something done.

      • Avatar
        Chandler September 29, 2017 2:34 pm #

        Agreed. I generally run two squads of them in a spearhead detachment. And I will use that reroll stratagem for the weapon damage if I absolutely must. Ha

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy September 29, 2017 11:21 pm #

          Out of curiosity, what do you have for HS#3 in the spearhead? I’ve actually found the CSM HS units to be a bit underwhelming overall- not so much that they’re bad, but that they don’t mesh well with my army, so I’m basically stuck using Giant Chaos Spawn- not that those aren’t amazing, but they do restrict how I build my detachments.

          • Avatar
            Chandler September 30, 2017 4:06 am

            Right now I’m using a squad of havocs to fill the 3rd slot. 2 missile launchers and 2 lascannons in the squad. And for them I use Forward Ops if need be to get them into position in my deployment zone to draw LoS to a good target for them.

          • Avatar
            Dbiesto September 30, 2017 7:49 am

            I dont have the models currently, but if you double Alpha Legion battalion cultists in rhinos with DPs for back up and have a spearhead full of teleporting EC Obliterators you will be able to cash in on doubletapping every turn and tide of traitors for when you need it with 10 CP. havocs are good but for easy kill point denial obliterators are overall worth paying extra points.

            In my most recent game 2 squads defended against getting charged by 30 ork boys with powerklaw and didnt die thanks to EC, people really underestimate them having 3 wounds. Not letting opponent getting the kills that round won me the game.

          • Avatar
            Dbiesto September 30, 2017 8:01 am

            3 daemon princes
            2 chaos lords
            60 cultists
            3 rhinos
            12 obliterators

  5. Avatar
    Beau September 29, 2017 6:53 pm #

    I want to like them, since I have 9 converted ones that I used in 6th and 7th with DG paint job (Doh), but I keep actually forgetting the str, ap, dmg for all 3 units the second I do all the rolls. That also takes precious time in game every time my opponent says “what is the str, ap, and damge for that one? And that one? What was that one again?”

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy September 29, 2017 11:22 pm #

      Well, the stats change each time you shoot them, so it’s not like you have to track it turn-by-turn.

      • Avatar
        Beau September 30, 2017 6:45 am #

        Thankfully, otherwise it would be truly impossible for me to remember haha.

  6. Avatar
    Thor May 1, 2018 9:53 am #

    I have just stumbled across this article and noticed that you’re using an image of my Chaos Sorcerer from my blog:

    I would like to respectfully ask that you either remove the image from the article, or give me the credit for my model that you’re using without asking my permission to use.


    • Reecius
      Reecius May 1, 2018 10:13 am #

      Hi Thor, no big deal will remove it.

      So, just as a friendly FYI: when writers are looking for images for their articles (ours or others) they will typically just google image search it. The image pops up, they save it and use it. 99% no one ever went to your blog and as the image doesn’t indicate who painted it, had no idea who it came from and so couldn’t attribute it to you.

      If it matters to you to get credit, I would suggest watermarking the image or including your name in the file name so it can be attributed to you. Otherwise, without doing a lot of research no one can tell it is yours. Considering people are often in a hurry, that is unlikely to happen.

      Also, cool paint job!

Leave a Reply