Picking up where I left yesterday on this marathon of an overview. Yesterday I covered some of the overall changes as well as the first 3 HQ choices, which you may already be familiar with from previous editions. So onto the newbies:
The dark apostle is the chaos equivalent of the standard marine chaplain. Coming in at 105 points he is marginally more expensive that his imperial counterpart, but does come with some pretty nice rules. Firstly he allows either himself or any other character in the unit to reroll their result on the chaos boon table, which is nice insurance against being spawned, but as the majority of the boons are beneficial probably doesn’t justify his cost. Secondly he has the zealot special rule, which confers both hatred and fearless. Interestingly, hatred is a slight improvement over the standard chaplain liturgies as it allows rerolls to hit in the first turn on combat meaning that it applies if you are charged.
He also gets a rule called demagogue, which states ‘units within 6” must use his leadership’ which is an interesting wording. As with all the chaos HQs apart from the daemon prince, he also has the champion of chaos rule, meaning he has to accept and issue challenges at any opportunity. In many ways I would say the dark apostle is superior to a chaplain, but this requirement is a distinct weakness, as with only 2 wounds and attacks he is certainly not the most effective fighter in the game.
Overall the apostle seems a decent choice, its biggest problem perhaps being the’ veterans of the long war’ option on so many of the chaos units. Although, it only grants hatred to space marines (of all colour), it’s probably fair to say that amounts to a very good proportion of what you will encounter and at a significant cost reduction. There does look to be a good role for him in a large cultist unit, creating large fearless units and it is good to finally see a chaos chaplain, if you’re a planning a Word Bearers army, a dark apostle is a must.
Ever wanted a renegade techmarine for your chaos warband, well at last you have that option with the Warpsmith. The second most expensive of the chaos HQs after the daemon prince, but you do seem to get a decent amount of goodies for your points. Firstly, he comes standard with fleshmetal ,a power axe and mechatendrils , so stock standard he comes with 4 base power axe attacks, a melta, a flamer and a 2+ save. Not bad for 110 points. Added to that he comes with the ability to restore a either a hull point or weapon destroyed/immobilised result to a vehicle in base to base combat essentially on a 4+. Alternatively, he can choose to curse a vehicle within 18” on a 2+ (due to BS5) giving its weapons the gets hot special rule, the usefulness of which obviously depends on the vehicle in question, although you may well be licking your lips if your opponent brings a leman russ punisher. Lastly, he has the shatter defences special rule, which allows the chaos player to reduce the cover save of a piece of terrain by 1 after deployment. A nice option to have if you’re opponent has anchored his line on a ruin.
My verdict on the warpsmith is that it seems to be a very useable option. But I cant help feel a bit disappointed that there isn’t more in the way of synergistic rules between the warpsmith and daemon engines. After all, the forgefiend entry states (fluffwise) that only a warpsmith can bind a daemon into a machine. If you’re going for an iron warriors, or daemon engine heavy list, then a Warpsmith is almost a must thematically, it is just a shame there is no specific rules to back it up.
So that rounds off the HQs. As an overall summary, I am pretty impressed by the job Phil Kelly has done. The Daemon Prince does seem rather expensive, although there are enough options there to build a pretty scary MC. All 4 of the other options are good, from my point of view it would be difficult to chose one over another in terms of effectiveness and any decision I made may well be due to army flavour (although there is a caveat that I’m not a hardcore tournament player). The customisability with the wargear, rewards and marks is also a credit to the codex.
I’ll only cover the 2 standard options today, as I’ve mentioned before there is the opportunity to make 1 of the 4 cult options troops, but that could well be an article on its own.
The basic chaos marine haven’t changed unrecognisably since the last edition. 75 points base for a unit of 5, with the option to add up to 15 extra for 13 points per model. They now come without the close combat weapon but have the option to buy it at 2 points per model, or swap it for the bolter for free. Once again they have the option for a special weapon in a 5 man squad and an additional special weapon or a heavy weapon at 10+.
Leadership has been reduced from 9 to 8 for the standard trooper, although there is the option to push it back up to 9 with the veterans of the long war special rule for 1 point (along with gaining hatred space marines). This is a nice way of differentiating between veteran traitor legions and the Johnny come lately renegade warbands, however at 1 point per model it does appear pretty good value, so I worry the distinction may be lost in favour of a game play advantage. They can also take marks at 2 points per model (3 for nurgle). Nurgle and khorne are probably the stand out marks here, but once again the choice of marks could be abused rather than used thematically.
There are too many builds to list including the marks and icons, but chaos marines now seem a reasonably priced first go to for any chaos list although if you don’t keep a lid on the spending, the unit can become expensive quite quickly.
Cultists – the chaff of the codex. At 50 points per a squad, with the option to buy up to 25 more at 4 points per model (5 with an autogun) and a heavy stubber or flamer per 10 models. They also get the options to buy marks (2 points for khorne and nurgle, and 1 for slaneesh and tzeenth) but overall the entry is kept fairly simple. There looks to be good synergy with a dark apostle (fearless 35 man blob anyone). If your looking at going chaff heavy though, it may be worthwhile tagging in some guard allies, which for 5 points per model, get a better armour save and the options for heavy weapons and commissars.
So that is all for today’s instalment. Next time round I’ll have a look the cult elite troops.