Battle Report: Chaos Space Marines vs Space Wolves

Another week another game. As has become the course lately, I played a 1,650 40K game last night against Space Wolves with my Chaos Space Marines, Disciples of Twilight. I had the same list I’ll be running for a while as I play test for a 40K tournament next month. Speaking of, it’s this list.

Chaos Space Marines – 1,650

HQ

  • Huron Blackheart
  • Ghostwrath (Daemon Prince) – Wings, Power Armor, Mark of Nurgle, Spell Familiar, Psyker (M2), Gift of Mutation

Troops

  • Chaos Space Marines (10) – Icon of Vengeance,Meltagun x 2
    • Apsiring Champion – Melta Bombs
    • Rhino – Dirge Caster
  • Chaos Space Marines (10) – Icon of Vengeance, Plasma Gun x 2
    • Apsiring Champion – Melta Bombs
    • Rhino – Dirge Caster

Fast Attack

  • Spawn (5) – Mark of Nurgle
  • Heldrake – Baleflamer

Heavy Support

  • Obliterators (3) – Mark of Nurgle, Veterans of the Long War
  • Maulerfiend – Lasher Tendrils

The Game

We played the Maelstrom of War mission Tactical Escalation where you start with one card and gain a new one each turn. I got side choice and my opponent, Jared, got first turn.

Deployment #2 Deployment #1Jared’s shooting was ineffective with his lascannons rolling 1’s for armor penetration. Most of his army had advanced forward, staying near the center. Termies landed in a Drop Pod on my right flank, near my Spawn. I had infiltrated Huron and Obliterators to the board center, hiding behind a building, and first turn the Skyclaws charged them. Huron killed off two of the ten with his overwatching heavy flamer and then proceeded to kill three in melee. I took no wounds in return and then the Obliterators pasted all but one but that one guy stuck in the combat with snake eyes.

I advanced forward and sent my Spawn for the Terminators as well as my plasma Marines in their Rhino. Shooting saw me kill off three Terminators (horrible rolls by Jared), and then my Spawn charged in and finished off the squad. Huron and the Obliterators finished off the last Skyclaw.

Spawn vs TerminatorsGrey Hunters and Muderfang stayed near the center. Jared had another bout of horrible shooting but he did take a power fist off my Maulerfiend. My Heldrake arrived and did nothing of note. Obliterators fired plasma cannons at Long Fangs, destroyed four and the remainder ran off the board. The Maulerfiend charged Muderfang and they each put a hull point on another but my Maulerfiend got immobilized. The Spawn charged into Grey Hunters and did nothing. At this point the game was something like 3-2 my lead.

Grey Hunters AdvanceChaos Space Marines AdvanceTo summarize the rest of the game, as I find turn by turn to be meh, Murderfang took out my Maulerfiend. My Spawn got swamped by Grey Hunters and eventually taken down, opening up the right flank, which he then marched down. My Prince had continued up that left flank and charged the Long Fangs, killing all but one who ran but later regrouped. My Obliterators and Huron controlled the board center along with my Chaos Space Marines with meltaguns. The Prince later came to help secure the board center and finish off Muderfang alongside Huron and my remaining Obliterator. The Heldrake of course proved a nuisance to everything with his baleflamer.

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With the board center secured I was able to start claiming a lead. We went six turns and at the end I had won 10-7.

Game Gallery

Game Thoughts

It was a fun game but Jared really had some bad luck with rolls. If his lascannons managed to hit, which was way less often than it should have been, he continually rolled 1’s for armor pen. His Long Fangs should have been a lot more effective than they were. That terrible luck let me position where I wanted to be and deal with the Long Fangs. Once the Long Fangs were neutralized it was down to close combat, which is what my list does well.

The early charge by the Skyclaws didn’t do Jared any favors either. With Huron and the Obliterators being hidden he wasn’t able to get wounds in before the charge and took the full force of the unit in return. Had he held those back a turn or two so he could get a few rounds of shooting into my army and then used them to charge a weakened part of my line they would have been more effective.

My List

Unsurprisingly, the more I use my list the better I’m getting with it and the more I like it. On paper I don’t think it’s that threatening but I’m managing to wield it effectively and that’s what matters. This is the first game I’ve had where Huron was more than a support character so it was nice to see him smash some heads. Using my Daemon Prince to fly down a flank and threaten support unit worked out well for me as well.

  • Skyclaws are a bit of a tricky unit. With their speed it is tempting to throw them forward early but they’re not that dominating in melee. I think they work best mopping up weakened units or joining friendly units to swamp a combat, using their mobility to pick fights they can win. As you indicate, a little patience goes a long way with them.

    Anyway, nice write up. It sounds like it was a fun game even if it was a bit tainted by poor luck.

    • We talked about the Skyclaws and I was saying the same thing to him. Apparently he’s had really good luck with them so far, which is why he was aggressive, but that was also against your Guard. Against power armor it’s a whole different story. It’s also his first time facing my CSM, so there’s a learning curve there. He underestimated Huron’s ability to tear through Marines and the Obliterators ability to survive against his higher initiative and punch back hard.

      • They are more effective against guard units than many other armies. Target recognition is an important aspect of the game so I would expect some growing pains as he faces new armies. Obliterators are a particularly tough nut to crack without plenty of ap2 or a ton of fire to drown them in.

      • TheRhino

        In my experience, Assault Marines and Skyclaws tend to need the help of a character to help them clean house against power armor. IMO, the best for them is a Chaplain. While a Captain or Chapter Master is a melee beast, the Chaplain boosts the effectiveness of every single model in the unit. Up to 30 attacks on the charge for a 10-man unit of ASM, all of which reroll to hit.
        Under no circumstances should ASM/Skyclaws ever charge 2+ armor though.

        • Darkh

          Actually even without a Wolf Priest a squad of 10 Skyclaws gets 40 attacks on the charge (Base Attack 1 + 1 for two CCW + 2 for Rage). A Wolf Priest adds Fearless and Preferred Enemy, but adds an extra 125 points with a jump pack, so it’s a trade off.
          My hope had been to force the Obliterators to make a lot of saves, but I didn’t anticipate Huron’s heavy flamer and higher initiative, which cut the unit in half before they even got to attack.
          Still, with no softer targets immediately available, keeping the Skyclaws in reserve for a counter-assault probably would have been the better option. Learning curve, and all that. :)

          • The Wolf Priest also gives you Feel No Pain (6+) and four S6 attacks on the charge. He gives the unit a pretty good boost.

            Or for 95 points you can add a Wolf Guard Battle Leader with jump pack and wolf claws for 5 attacks on the charge at I5 S5 AP3 with shred. I would still go with the Wolf Priest first but putting both in there gives you a unit that packs a huge punch. Against weaker units you also have the option of splitting off the IC’s to hit a second squad in melee.

            • He did have a Wolf Guard Battle Leader, at least I assume the dude with power fist in there was one. By the sounds of it the claws are the way to go though. Fists are great but definitely got relegated to specific units once 40K introduced challenges. Huron challenged and killed him off with his claw at I5. The wolf claws at the same initiative would likely have put a few wounds on Huron before going down.

              • The SW codex allows layers and layers of characters. They can take a Wolf Guard Pack Leader as an upgrade character. He has standard Wolf Guard stats and access to some of the wargear. The Battle Leader is more similar to a Captain and fills one HQ slot. I agree that claws are a better option for characters, and Wolf Claws are better than most thanks to the +1 Strength.

                One of the Sky Claws can take power fist as well. It’s the same points for BS3 and one fewer natural attack, but the Pack Leader doesn’t get Rage so they are actually the same number of attacks on the charge. More importantly, the Sky Claw isn’t a character so he can’t be challenged out.

              • Darkh

                It was a Pack Leader with a Power Fist. He’s mostly there to add some versatility in case the squad is forced to fight something with descent armor. I might model one with Claws when I redo my Skyclaw models to actually look like Space Wolves. And I had completely forgotten about the Healing Balms on the Wolf Priest. It is certainly a worthwhile unit, I was just saying that under the new codex the Bloodclaws/Skyclaws can actually be viable unit on their own. They’re cheaper per model, and no longer need the Priest to keep them in check. The Priest adds more punch, it just depends on what role you intend for the ‘Claws, and how many points you want to spend on the unit. My mistake was underestimating a unit I was unfamiliar with.

                • I think the powerfist is better on one of the Sky Claws because it can’t be challenged out. Not many armies have the ability to hide a powerfist anymore so take advantage of it. Being able to use it at WS3 is better than not using it at WS4! The Pack Leader is better off with something that hits at initiative so he’s not getting tapped out early.
                  As for the Wolf Priest, I agree that he’s not strictly necessary any more but he does turn a harassment unit into one that has some real teeth. And as an IC, he doesn’t have to stay with the unit. If the Sky Claws don’t need him he can break off to support another unit.
                  The Battle Leader is a cheaper option to beef up the unit as he’s very likely (with claws anyway) to kill a few MEQ or weaker models before they can strike back, giving your Sky Claws an instant edge.
                  I do agree that your biggest mistake was underestimating an unfamiliar unit. At least you’ve learned how tough Huron and the Oblits are!

                  • So, we goofed that up then by letting Huron challenge the Pack Leader. I figured he was a character. That really could have changed things. The Pack Leader was back a bit so Huron would have taken out 3 Skyclaws, and not killed any on overwatch since I screwed that up too (SNP prevents the entire unit from overwatch). That would have left 6 bodies swinging at I4 and then one at I1 with a fist.

                    Damn, now I feel bad.

                    • TheRhino

                      Pack Leaders are characters. They’re the equivalent to Sergeants. Battle Leaders are ICs and equivalent to Captains.

                    • Doh. I cannot read for the life of me today.

                    • Yeah, you only cheated him with the overwatch ;)

                      I was just pointing out that he can take a fist that isn’t on the character, and protect it from being challenged out like that. That could have made a difference in this battle.

  • charlesthoss

    Huron cannot overwatch in the Obliterators. Their Slow and Purposeful rule prevents all models in the unit from firing overwatch, even the ones that don’t have the rule.

    • Crap, you’re right. Thanks for pointing that out!

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