Feast of Blades '13

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Making Chaos Space Marines Competitive in 5th Edition: UPDATED!

Ok all, Kevin here to discuss once again, as a follow up to an older, very popular, post about how to make our current old Chaos codex work, atleast for the last 6-12 months of it's existence. The other day I took a solid second place at my FLGS tournament, which does boast a lot of GT contenders including some fairly seen club members. I was using a list concept I have been running since August. My background in Chaos solely lays on the latter half of 5th edition. I have played the army for two years and honestly have had more success with this army than any other of my armies with tournament victories and a handful of 2nd places. Overall My win loss percentage is around 3 victories for every defeat I have had with this book...In this article I will discuss the codex' weak points, its few strengths, how it stacks up to current books and what we can do to counter them until we get the legions book next year..... But first lets look at the codex' issues...

For one we are dealing with what is becoming one of the oldest books in the game. It deals with the older 4th edition concepts of minimization, simplicity, and high points costs. Also it lacks a good counter to the current meta without a cheap scoring unit on an effective weapons platform of a transport. This is probably the biggest problem with the army as we have no solid way to mimic or counter the current razorspam filled market. Instead we get expensive troop units that can only take rhinos with no solid way to spam vehicle laden heavy weapons. Also a few of the tricks it use to abuse are out of date and not as potent with our current meta...such as duel lash....

So we have to take a step back and look at our current meta in order to find a decent way to counter it. Yet, lets look at our strengths.....We still have lash and it can still work....there is nothing wrong with two winged princes with lash.....its one of the few things we can still abuse as a special ability almost exclusively with our book (the other being the weaker daemons ability)....we also have the untestable daemonic possession (downsides being a pricey points cost as well as a BS 3 downgrade)....if our codex is gonna have a small model count it needs to be durable and all of our weapons need to be able to shoot every turn they are living. This can be leveraged with a durable AV14 as well as the twin linked weapons offsetting the BS3 with an actual higher probability of hitting than a BS4 normal model. We also have the slightly expensive, but best, option for heavy support....the obliterators.....we have the ability to swap between lascannons at range, plasma cannons for groups of tough baddies, and twin linked weapons for close range rapid fire....as well as the buffers of 2+5+++ and 2 wounds....Lastly we have the ability with the marks to add new, yet expensive as per usual, upgrades to units.....so how do we leverage these abilities against current codices?

Well today we face Grey Knights, razorspam/longfang spam space wolves...blood angel deathstars, etc.....One major feature in tournaments is an efficiency model of maxing your force org. chart with msu of troops with light transport and a high number of S8 shooting....

So what I see out there is a high amount of AV11 and S8.....we do manage to see what strengths we can leverage in these cases...to counter the AV 11 spam I suggest a high level of lascannon to easily de-mech our opponents....I also would like to point out with such a high reliance onS8 we need to leverage land raiders with daemonic possession. AV14 can only be glanced by these weapons and glancing rolls of 1-4 do nothing to our land raiders which still get a 75% chance of hitting with twin linked 4+ to hit rolls. With a proper bubblewrap of durable foot units we can protect these raiders from melta countering.

In August I ran a duel Raider chaos list in a 1500 point tournament. I nearly had a flawless tournament coming out with a tied second place finish. The entire tournament I did not lose a single Land Raider....So how do we get the Obliterators needed with Land Raiders as heavy choices? I had a new concept of running small 3 man terminator squads with reaper autocannons.... using them as tough/small anti av11 spam defence as well as a way to fit both Raiders and oblits int he same list. With a combo of either the Tzeentch or nurgle marks we can leverage my prefered T5 nurgle icon or the 4+ invulnerable from tzeentch....What this gives us is a good bubblewrap screen of small t5 terminator units in front unshakable/unstun-able duel land raiders and a few obliterator squads.....This backed up with LAsh princes to throw away melta coutner units as well as rounding up units for the oblits to punk is a great combo. People tend to run land raiders as death star deliverers when the greatest strength a land raider can run is as a weapons platform that is unmovable as a scoring unit. We do this by loading the Land Raiders with small plague marine squads. The only threat we see at this range for the most part is lascannons which have a dismal chance of destroying the Raiders....we can do this with little risk of melta as normal. Finally backing this up with a handful of khorne berserkers to act as counter attack we have a very tough rock of an army...Now we have an army leveraging a lot of T5, 2+ saves and AV14...all with a lot of lascannons....this army is a rock to try and move as it is very hard to shoot this army to death and can hold its own using a combo of lash and good assault units to counter attack anyones moves against it. It also has good field presence with a strong core...as well as it is good with nova style tournaments by being a low/tough killpoint army that can manage to succeed very well in these games....so this is about what we are looking at

one or two lash princes with wings
2 land raiders with daemonic possession
2x5 plague marine squads
A 7-10 man khorne berserker unit
2 or 3 squads of obliterators
2 or 3x3man termie units with IOS or ION with reaper autocannons

In conclusion it leverages all of the strengths we still have in the codex left that we can abuse against a lot for the current meta. I have had a lot of success with builds made up of these elements and while not being too exclusively new it has some concepts not normally seen in the normally assault heavy chaos book.....I'll add more on this later...Now go change your assault minded thoughts to those of a tough/armored/strong rock of an army.....


  1. Some really good thoughts in there! I've not considered running dual land raiders in a chaos list for a very long time.

  2. With the added bonus' of a lack of long range anti AV14 and daemonic possession really hjelps. I did the math and to glance a Land Raider to death on average 80+ missile launcher shots are needed....just a thought

  3. But how do you deal with bright/dark lance heavy eldar?