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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Chosen tactical review

Here is a tactical review of the Chaos Space Marines (CSM) Chosen unit. With the release of the Black Legion supplement you no longer have to pay the Abbadon tax (265 points) to field them as a troop choice. I love the Despoiler and am a big fan of the Legion in general but not having to field him opens up a lot of possibilities for what I consider to be a competitive codex. The CSM codex is definitely not like Eldar or Tau but I truly believe it has all the necessary tools to beat any other army. Note that I prefer to follow more of a World Eaters styled theme for my CSM army which is easy to do with the supplement and that's one of the great things about the supplement.

I understand that some of the Chaos veterans still lament the non viability of certain legions such as Night Lords as a competitive army but that is the way of the world. I am a huge fan of Blood Angels - think about the big hit they took in sixth edition. We can move on though and there are plenty of good things to be had. If you follow my blog you'll know I don't currently use Heldrakes. To me the CSM codex is geared more towards the thinking man... at least I'd like to believe it is. Sure you can cheese out your army with four or more Heldrakes... You will win some games but ultimately such an army is not balanced and will eventually fall short at a large event. Don't get me wrong though, I'm not saying Heldrakes aren't good. Obviously they are... I'm just at point in time when I want to challenge myself. The goal is to design a more competitive list (if possible) and the only way to find out is by trying.

One of the best things about the Black Legion supplement is its able to ally with CSM. I'm sure you could come up with a lot of very interesting lists. My focus in this article is the Chosen and I think they have come a long way since the last codex when all you'd ever see is a five man squad with four meltaguns infiltrating in a rhino to pop some enemy mech then die a quick death the following turn after they had arrived from reserve. Chosen have lots of options and are the most customizable unit in the codex beside Chaos terminators. I'll go so far as to say I doubt the new Space Marines will get a comparable unit. Chosen while not cheap pointswise are very good at what they do if you build them right.

I like to run my Chosen as follows (not including a transport):

8x Chosen including the Champion
- Mark of Khorne (five attacks on the charge for each Marine)
- Icon of Wrath
- 2x Flamer
- Plasma Pistol
- Power Sword
- Power Axe

There are lots of other good builds and I'm not advocating this is the best. This just happens to be my favorite way to run them.

The Chosen Marine with the power axe is the melee work horse in the unit with five S6 AP2 attacks on the charge. The Champion must issue or accept a challenge so why waste a lot of points unless you're using the squad as a retinue for a beastly HQ? The Chosen Marine with the power axe cannot be singled out in melee except for precision attacks while the Champion will often die before swinging versus a higher initiative enemy character. The role of the Champion is to fight the challenge and prevent the enemy character from using precision attacks to pick out the power axe.

The flamers are there for enemy crowd control... Jumping out of transport they will waste many enemy units such as Eldar and Tau. Two flamers can put a lot of wounds on Space Marines too which could be very important with the very soon to release new codex. I take the plasma pistol and power sword mostly for the theme - they are by no means mandatory so you can save some points if you drop them.

Chosen also serve as an excellent retinue for your HQ and are still a troop choice using the Black Legion supplement. I find them a better choice for Kharn since they are more versatile than Berserkers, plus they benefit well from the Betrayer's Hatred rule and he makes them fearless. I equip my Champion for this squad with a lightning claw and power fist so he can tag team with Kharn... either can issue or accept a challenge which gives you more options for this unit in melee... it just depends on what they are assaulting. Either way one of them is going to be swinging a lot of armor ignoring attacks into the enemy unit. This also makes Heroic Intervention more playable if the initial assault should go beyond the first round. Note that since the lightning claw and power fist are both specialist weapons that equates to +1 attack. Factor in the +2 attacks on the charge for Rage and you've got yourself a little mini me Abbadon rampaging through the enemy battle line!

By taking Kharn I also have access to Berserkers as a troop choice, which means I have more versatility and all around very solid scoring units. Berserkers though are a subject for another discussion.

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