Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chaos Space Marine Lists

As the title suggests, I've spent part of today thinking about Chaos Space Marines. Specifically, how to build a solid 2k point list. As a quick scan of 3++ will tell you, that is no easy feat. Thus began my musings.

Every army is better at some things than others. Tau are mobile and shooty, Dark Eldar are mobile and assaulty. Blood Angels are good at everything, and so on. As far as shooting goes, there are three ranges: short, mid, and long. So, Chaos SM is adequate at mobile: their vehicles are more expensive than vanilla marines, yet cheaper than Blood Angel vehicles. But they aren't fast and are missing important vehicles like LR variations, speeders, and Razorbacks. As far as shooting: solid shooting at close range: melta is plentiful as are bolters. Mid-range shooting is adequate: auto-cannons are available on a couple different platforms. Long-range: terrible availability. Other than Heavy Support, there are no options unless you are playing gun-line. And should you do that, IG will blow you away. Looking at the available upgrades for vehicles and units, it appears that short-mid is where C:CSM wants you to be. And as for close combat... dangerously close to pants-on-head-bad.  It costs an arm and a leg to get the champion upgrade for any unit, and in most cases they are the only ones who can sport power weapons, claws or fists. Which are crazy expensive. Unless you are getting Terminators, which are more expensive than their loyalist counterparts and still somehow aren't as good.

So, on to the list churning. I stayed away from certain units due to their lack of performance versus cost. Here is one basic fundamental I based my lists around: Not all marks or specialty troops are created equal. For example, Khorne is dumb. khornecornflakes are bad, and so is anything else owing allegiance to the throne of skulls. As an expensive mark, it boosts your strength by one. cool. But, your hero is dumb, and as i mentioned its tough building good CC units out of C:CSM. Another fundamental was the avoidance of units too common in C:CSM armies. One of my gaming buddies uses Nurgle DPrinces and Plague Marines. So in the interest of variety these are both out. This restriction might be silly, but I think I can make it work. So, if marks are to be used, I have to chose between Tzeentch and Slaneesh. Increased invulnerability is cool, but higher initiative is cool too. and its cheaper. So its a toss-up.

so below is List One. I built it to get close, shoot a bunch, then kill everything left in CC. This list has a lot of melta, lots of combi weapons, and terminators to tie stuff up in CC while raptors kick at the victim when its safe to do so. A couple chaos marine squads can hang around the backfield or wherever they want, and hold objectives or use their meltagun to kill stuff while the other two advance. the two rhinos, preds, and LR's all move foward, with the raptors behind them. The speed depends on how much shooting you need to do. When you get close, you kill stuff. Here is the list, coming to 1995 pts: 

chaos lord: slanesh, combi, dual lclaws
2x5 termies: slanesh, x4 combies, x1 hflamer:
2x1 LR:
4x5 chaos marines: x1 melta:
2x1 rhino
2x5 raptors: slanesh, x2 melta, champion/powerfist, x1 flamer
 3x1 pred: ac/las

The only problem with this list is that terminators and Land Raiders, while awesome as loyalists, under-perform for their point costs as renegades. Chosen seem to be a better way to go. Cheaper per model, and you can dump 5 special weapons on a squad. I built a list using them as 4 melta gun platforms, which was cool. But, that means being within 12 inches of the enemy to use them. And since Chaos doesn't have any good CC outside of HQ and Elite slots, that can be a problem. Unless you want to play like a chaos-tau hybrid, move close, hide behind rhinos and dish out tons of melta fire. But that's silly. So, I built a second list for your consideration.

With this list, chosen can either shoot stuff or attack it. By removing Land Raiders, I'm free to move rhinos all 12 inches and pop smoke or shoot with occupants if I so desire. Again, the raptors jump behind the rhinos to keep them safe.  And, I can either have the preds hang back and shoot lascannons all day, or have them trundle behind for a turn or two, reducing their shooting. This way, the army gets close, shoots a ton of melta, and next turn jumps out and assaults stuff. And between the Chaos Lord, the Chosen, and the Raptors, not much will be left. So here it is for your convenience. And it comes out to 1999 points:

chaos lord: slanesh, dual lclaws
3x6 chosen: slanesh, x3 pw, x2 melta, champion/pfist
3x1 rhino: combi-weapon
4x5 chaos marines: x1 melta
2x1 rhino:combi-weapon
2x5 raptors: slanesh, x2 melta, champion/powerfist (one squad w/ flamer)
3x1 pred: aclc:

so, questions, comments. Let me know what you think!


  1. I have a friend who plays CSM and he swears by Obliterators. I don't see any in either of the lists so maybe something to consider?

  2. Not only was I highly interest in your post but I felt it was well written until I hit the third paragraph. At that point your lack of adjectives turned me off.

  3. @ HOTpanda: thank you for your constructive comment. i tweaked that particular paragraph a bit, I agree it is not quite as high quality as i prefer. But i hope you got something out of the post.

  4. @Warflake: Obliterators are quite popular among many C:CSM players. They bring a multitude of weapons to cycle through every round, and have a solid armor save.

    Unfortunately, they suffer from a low model count, which makes the loss of even one a big deal. Also, they struggle with being mobile. Also, they only get one weapon fire per model per turn.

    I prefer Predators because they are mobile with a high front armor-value. This allows them a certain level of duality. If they move at full speed, they provide a front-av13 to the units or vehicles they are providing cover for. If they go slower, they can fire one-to-all weapons. So by bringing multiples they increase target saturation, as well as protect the armored column that is the rest of the C:CSM army. does that help explain my reasoning?

  5. this post is cool but id like more pics lol consider me subscribed anyway ... can u have obliterators in an EC slaneesh army pardon my ignorance im new to chaos im a tau player but thinking bout gettin chaos sm army

  6. @FD thank you for the comment. Pic content varies, check back periodically for more of them ;-)

    as far as going chaos... unless you really, really like them, i'd recommend going loyalist. they have a hard time staying competitive, with point costs too high, and poor long-range weapon options combined with weak assault options. that being said... yes, Obliteraters are an option, and pretty good at that. Most chaos players take them as a must-have unit.