Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Chaos Space Marine Unit Reviews: 20 games in!



So far, I have 20 games of 8th edition under my belt and I have used quite a few units in my games and have developed some thoughts on those units that I figured I'd share based on experience. I have mostly played Death Guard Detachments, but I have played quite a few other detachments in Chaos as well. I have managed to collect a great winning streak and I feel like I should start tallying all the Storm Ravens I have killed (at least 15 of them). Hopefully, you can glean something from my write-up, especially if you just haven't had as much time to get games in as I have. I will limit this review to only the units I have played.




Poxwalkers:

Pros: I have run most of my lists with a detachment or more of Death Guard. Poxwalkers are an excellent, cheap objective grabbing unit. They provide solid coverage because they are Disgustingly Resilient combined with not being affected by morale! If you are running DG, they are pretty much a must. I have used them to score objectives, wear down regular units (tac squads, assault squads, henchmen), envelop and hold elite units (surround a dreadnought during the pile in and he will be busy for the entire game) and to just be annoyingly in the way (flyers and people trying to shoot characters). They are also excellent bubblewrap for other units like Havocs!

Cons: They are dead slow (haha). You need to remember to advance all the time with them or you will find yourself just short of objectives in late game sometimes and you really need to think a few turns ahead. They can be so much tougher with Typhus, which is sort of a con. You will find yourself making every excuse to take him, which isn't really bad as he is an excellent character, but poxwalkers are still good without him.

Verdict: In DG armies, they are a source of board control and make easy fillers for Battalion Dets, giving you 3 command points for a no-brainer unit. (pun intended). A+ Death Guard Unit



Typhus:

Pros: Typhus is an excellent HQ, combining a beefed-up Lord of Contagion and a DG sorcerer. He casts, he fights, he has a fly-pistol - he has been in almost every list I have run to date so far. His buffs to the poxwalkers also makes him a good anchor to a mass of poxwalker units. It also gives assault characters and units a little something to fear in the middle of the zombie horde. He also has some rules that make units near your DG units take a mortal wound, but I haven't had this be a game-changer.

Cons: Typhus is super-duper-slow. Unless you are deepstriking him, he is crawling. His Cataphracti armor makes him slower than the poxwalkers when advancing. This means that there may be games where he does nothing more than escort slightly-tougher zombies around the board and MAYBE smite somebody.

Verdict: Typhus is a great character, who is a decent psyker and a combat machine. Just remember that your zombies don't aways need him or that you can peel him off with a smaller hoard to deal with threats. I have found myself getting stuck trying to keep every poxwalker near him instead of focusing on the mission. I will say that every single person who has wandered into my backfield to attempt to fight Typhus has regretted it. A Death Guard Unit



Daemon Princes (Daemon and CSM):

Pros: I have taken Flying Daemon Princes from both Nurgle (CSM and CD) and Khorne (Just CD) and I have always taken them with 2x Talons. The talons outperform that axe and sword in almost every case except the axe edges out the talons in extreme cases, but I don't throw points at extremes. The Daemon Princes from Daemons are better than their CSM counterparts in most cases because they get the Daemon traits of their god. Nurgle Daemon Princes with Disgustingly Resilient are great. The downside is that the CSM have access to Warp Time, which is an incredible power, allowing you to fling units and really shake up your opponent's plans. Additionally, the CSM Daemon Prince will help you gain re-rolls of 1s to hit for CSM units. Being able to hide as a Character, Assault flyers and decimate backfield units are the reasons we take Daemon Princes.

Cons: No overwatch capability. They are certainly cheap for what they do, but that 180 price tag is a little hefty compared to a Lord or Sorc. DPs lack the ability to deep strike onto the field and because of their aggressive stats, they will sometimes get caught out in the open with nothing between them and the guns! Honestly though, DPs and deepstriking characters just have two completely different roles to play and many times, they belong to different lists. 8 Wounds is great for hiding, but bad if you get caught assaulting dedicated assault units, so be careful.

Verdict: These are mobile psykers with great assault power who can kill flyers. The CSM powers give you some flexibility, but if you have access to Warptime already, take the Daemon abilities! A++ Chaos Marine Unit that can also be A++ played with Death Guard.



Maulerfiends:

Pros: Maulerfiends are pretty fast at 10" movement and are the absolute nightmare of vehicles and multi-wound units. Additionally, they have the Heretic Astartes keyword, allowing them to be thrown via Warptime into the opponent's deployment zone to take out a vulnerable, high-value target. Otherwise, they are good threats to keep your opponent's vehicles out of certain assault lanes. Adding Lasher Tendrils makes them true combat machines and plays to the unit's strength instead of their weakness (shooting). I have eaten units of Paladins, vehicles and characters with Maulers!

Cons: They are a big target and sometimes, they may actually not be fast enough against smart opponents who can stay out of their charge range. I felt quite a few times that I wish I had a rule to advance and charge or just a rule to re-roll charges. Failed charges often led to dead Maulerfiends. Being Daemons also makes them big targets for Grey Knight Smite Spam.

Verdict: At 161 for a Lash Mauler, I feel like they are still a value, but without shooting or the ability to attack fliers, they need to be looked at in terms of what the rest of your army can do. They can be very fun though. B Chaos Space Marine Unit



Obliterators:

Pros: Oblits can deepstrike, have a 2+ save with a 5+ invul, Can threaten nearly anything and carry assault weapons.

Cons: They are very expensive for a random weapon profile. It doesn't feel bad when you strip the last couple wounds off of a tank, but it feels terrible when you are trying to kill terminators and roll a 1 for DMG. Now you are killing terminators at half the efficiency for each failed save.

Verdict: I have used them to great effect and also failed hard with them. At the end of the day I'd rather take 1 and 1/2 Havok squads for their price or just get a unit of Chaos Terminators. D+ Chaos Marine Unit



Havoks:

Pros: Havoks can huddle in cover for a 2+ save and dish out shots with four heavy weapons! Heavy Bolters are a great, cheap choice if you already have anti-tank in the bag. A unit with Lascannons is a huge threat to tanks and flyers. My love right now though is with Missile Launchers. I have smokechecked a lot of vehicles with them and surprised a lot of infantry with the volume of fire four flak missiles can generate. Add a lord near a unit with either of these guns and stand-by for extremely efficient shooting.

Cons: Unless you bubblewrap, you are going to be vulnerable to sneaky assault units and deepstriking combat specialists.  Unless you take larger-than-minimum units, you will lose a weapon with each wound - making the units cost a little more because 7-8 seem to be a good number of havoks. Predator tanks, however, can fill the same role, but need to lose more wounds to become ineffective, though they don't get cover nearly as easily. I think both units fill similar roles, but for different lists/ strategies.

Verdict: I think Heavy Bolter and Missile Launcher Havoks get an A+ for affordability and lethality/ flexibility respectfully. Lascannons get an A- from me and Autocannons are an unknown for me.



Foetid Bloat Drone:

Pros: This is a relatively cheap flying unit that is extremely survivable. With a 3+ Armor save, 5++ and a Disgustingly Resilient save, this fucker isn't going anywhere. He has two potent flame weapons with poison ammo as well. I have killed two different HQs from his overwatch alone! I have also enjoyed fleeing combat to shoot his assault weapons or shooting flyers with guaranteed hits. He really shines in lower point games.

Cons: While he is survivable, he doesn't do a whole lot thanks to the 9" range of his weapons. His assault capabilities are also mediocre at best and certainly don't match up to DPs or Chaos lords or even the Heldrake. In larger point games, this unit tends to be a wallflower.

Verdict: Bloat drones have been great for me in 1K games with my Death Guard, but have done very little in 2k games. I have only ever taken one, but I don't see multiple drones doing much more than what one could do. C+ Death Guard Unit, B+ in small games.



Heldrake:

Pros: Heldrakes move 30 inches! They have a decent assault profile and can cause a lot of trouble down an exposed flank on turn one or can even assault units like devestators to lock them out of shooting for a turn. The Baleflamer isn't what it used to be and I have found myself either using it on small units or vehicles more than I have anywhere else. I typically use the Heldrake to help take down Stormravens and the Baleflamer comes in handy here. The autocannon is basically useless because it goes to 5+ to hit if the drake moves, but it does make the Haldrake cheaper.

Cons: Heldrake is easy to hit for a flyer because it isn't supersonic. It can be assaulted by ground units. It has one gun. A single Heldrake is easy for most lists to put down and 2-3 take a lot of potential power out of your list overall.

Verdict: The Heldrake is your best anti-flyer unit and a good distraction/ backfield fighter, but it comes at a cost. I'd give the baleflamer Heldrake a B+ to an A- for it's pros. Be careful with it though.



Soulgrinder:

Pros: I know he isn't a CSM unit, but I used the soulgrinder a lot! First off, they come with Defiler Stats without defiler prices! The Soulgrinder is a bargain for its statline! Add Mark of Nurgle to give it Disgustingly Resilient and it will stick around for a while. I often found my opponents would waste a turn shooting at it and then give up while it is hardly injured. It can mulch multi-wound units just like the Maulerfiend, but it also cannot be pushed up the field with Warptime.

Cons: It might be cheap for its stats, but it is still expensive. It comes with a 4+ BS standard, so its shooting goes to a 5+ if you move and since it is a beast in combat, you will want to be moving. It makes the Soulgrinder feel like it doesn't know what it wants to be. It's lack of specialization leaves it confused on the field. Sometimes, it is a backfield babysitter that doesn't make back its cost. Other times, its an aggressive tank that clears objectives.

Verdict: The soulgrinder is a big threat, but needs to be used for a purpose. Move and shoot OR advance into an opponent's face. B+ unit



Plague Marines:

Pros: They are more resilient than regular CSM and I look forward to trying them with their new special weapon. The preferred load out seems to be a five-man squad with either three plasma guns (Sgt can take a weapon) or two of the blightlaunchers and a plasma. This loadout maxes their output while minimizes cost as much as possible.

Cons: They are expensive and considering that you don't really need troops, there's no reason not to load up on poxwalkers and just take deadlier units. In my games, they didn't get much done and got cut from my lists. I am going to add them back in again and see how they do for a few more games.

Right now, they just are too expensive for how little their role matters on the battlefield. In a game where we needed rugged troops, they'd be a deal, but not right now. They get a C for Death Guard and a D for CSM.


That's it for now. I have played with Abbadon and cultists and an assortment of Daemons, but not enough to weigh in and grade them with any credibility. Thanks for sticking around if you are still reading. Please comment if you have any feedback or opinions of your own. A good discussion will help us all improve out game!

2 comments:

  1. Good review, and of what I've tried that you've mentioned, I would have to agree.

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  2. Do any of your opinions change with the new CSM codex? Obliterators get twice the output now, heldrakes baleflamer price tag is 50% off, Defiler got a huge points drop and Plague Marines have more weapon options plus cost less per model.

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