Battle Review: Chaos Space Marines vs Astra Militarum

Baneblade: Stormsword
This is my opponent’s Stormsword.

Wednesday night I played a 1,500 game with my Chaos Space Marines against Astra Militarum. This was my 4th game in Warhammer 40K 7th edition and I felt like trying something different. My force was very Khorne heavy. I won’t post the exact list but it featured Kharn, Berzerkers, Karanak, Bloodletters and Flesh Hounds. I thought I would try running counter to the psyker heavy lists people are trying out. Of course, my opponent had no pyskers and his army was all meched up. In fact, he had a Stormsword Baneblade, which he asked me if he could use. I figured why not. My Khorne heavy force is going to have a rough go with the match-up anyway, let’s make it more interesting.

The Game

We played a Maelstrom of War mission, the one where you have 3 cards each turn and they are kept secret until you achieve them. It was also hammer & anvil deployment. The table was a pretty dense ruined city and so I setup in cover with my Spawn and Maulerfiend on the left flank and most of the rest on the right flank. He setup to make use of the fire-lanes and kept the Stormsword back behind the rest of his force on my left. The game can be summarized pretty easily: I rushed forward. The only ranged shooting I had was a plasma gun in a 5-man Chaos Space Marines squad in a Rhino but I was holding them back in my deployment for objective maneuvering. Everything else of mine needed to assault to be effective. That’s a Khorne heavy force for you. Kharn the BetrayerI lost my Maulerfiend out of the gate to the Stormsword. I feed him the Maulerfiend early to buy a turn of moving the rest of my force, which worked out. I got into his tanks with Spawn and Hounds on turn #2 and destroyed them. The following turn my Berzerkers got into a Leman Russ and Kharn smashed that apart. My reserves weren’t arriving however and between the Stormsword and the rest of his force I was taking a pounding. When my Bloodletters did arrive the Stormsword and Veterans mowed them down to a single model, same with my Hounds. My Raptors came in turn #4 and glanced the Stormsword with meltaguns. I then sent Kharn, the Berzerkers were all dead, into the Stormsword and he got it down to a single hull point. Kharn is an animal at tackling vehicles on the charge. I was not able to get that last hull point off of it during the rest of the game and that Stormsword picked apart the rest of my army.

Conclusion

At the end of the game I had two Chaos Space Marines left alive. I did some damage though and he had the Stormsword left (that damn last hull point still on there), a Chimera with Veterans and another Veterans squad on foot left. The final score was him winning 13-11. KhorneIt was a damn close game and a ton of fun. The Maelstrom missions really allow for comebacks, which I like. I had taken a big lead early on with it being 9-3 at turn #3. He fought back though and used his speed to his advantage to position the Veterans on objectives. Only taking a 2pt loss in a game where I had a Khorne heavy force against meched up Astra Militarum and a Stormsword is a victory to me. This game also lead me to realize that I really like a Khorne heavy force. I have always favored aggressive armies so it’s not terribly surprising. Rarely, however, have I gone to such extremes with a list to almost solely focus on that one element, the assault phase. I’d like to think I’m a tactical thinker and enjoy the nuances of a tricky list but at the same time I’m all about bringing a sledgehammer as well. I’ll have to see where this more blunt approach takes me for a little bit. Who else has been facing a Lord of War in 7th edition and what do you think about them? They’re toned down from what they once were but still powerful. Do you want to be asked if one can be used against you or are you all-in now it’s a part of the Force Organization Chart?

  • TheRhino

    Interesting. What sort of shooting does a Stormlord put out?
    Did the heavy city terrain help you advance? If it had been one of the other less-cluttered boards we use, do you think you’d have fared as well?

    • The primary weapon is S10, AP1 and it’s the 10″ pie-plate. It also has 2 x twin-linked lascannons and 3 x twin-linked heavy bolters.

      Ultimately the city didn’t help much. That primary weapon ignores cover and with it being a ruined city getting line of sight wasn’t much of an issue. My saving grace was a few shots didn’t land exactly where he wanted them but had they then the game would have been over quick.

      • TheRhino

        Oh. I think that’s actually the StormSWORD. The StormLORD appears to have a Vulcan Mega Bolter, from my Google searching.
        IG superheavies are terribly named.

        • Yep, you’re right. I updated the article.

          Yeah, I can’t keep track of the 6,000 tank variant names they have.

  • Sounds like a fun game. I really like the tactical objectives system because it rewards tactical flexibility over pure killing power. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with pure killing power in 40k! It just seems like the Maelstrom of War missions push the focus towards maneuvering throughout the game and away from static games with last minute grabs.

    • Agreed. It’s what lead me to an early lead. During my advance I was able to snag objectives and then I started pushing him off them to take them from him. However, attrition came into play and I lost my fast units (Spawn & Hounds), allowing him to maneuver around my army and play to the objectives. It’s because of the TOs that I could even take that early lead. Only needing objectives at the end of your turn allows for more aggressive armies to take points on the move, which I love. My lists don’t play well with holding stuff at the end of a game and that always was my downfall in standard missions.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        I find when using a list with lots of deep striking that some sort of reserves manipulation is important. That comms thing you can get with a fortification allows you to reroll all your reserve rolls. An Aegis and the comms relay costs 70 points, or do what I normally do as fire support for my Khorne army and add it to a bastion with lascannon havocs inside and an Icarus lascannon on the roof.

        Really helps, and since you can choose to reroll successful results makes it possible to run the Key magic item from CSM if you feel like a wacky strategy. Put a Tzeentch Lord on a disc (jetbike), kill something turn 2 and on turn 3 all of your reserves come in without scattering… Great fun with Hellbrute Mayhem Pack and Obliterator spam! Sadly the Key doesn’t work for Chaos Daemons as it specifies ‘models from this codex’ :-(

        I tend to run my hounds with the rest of the force, for target saturation, rather than deepstrike them so it doesn’t matter for them.

        • Reserve manipulation would have gone a long ways in this game. For the record, I know I worded it poorly, but the Hounds started on the board.

          Normally it’s just the Bloodletters in reserve but I did the Raptors too so I could try and get to his armor. Taking the Key and then having a Comms Relay is a bit of an investment for my liking. Not saying it isn’t worthwhile but comes down to investment vs reward and in most of my games, with the units I tend to run, it wouldn’t be worth the investment. Still, it’s something to consider.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            it would be an investment, though the Tzeentch Lord on disc is quite a cool unit, there is nothing else as fast in the CSM codex. I don’t think it would be seriously competitive except at very high points levels, even with a deep strike heavy list, but it would be fun. The Dimensional Key is a silly item really since most reserves will have already arrived by the time you can use it under normal circumstances.

  • Zack Chabot

    It was a lot of fun thanks for the game.

    • Yeah, it was fun for sure.

  • Pascalnz

    just checking you added the points for taking hull points off of the LOW?.. sounds like a sweet game:)

    • Is that still a thing? We weren’t sure and were lazy and never bothered looking, lol.

      • Pascalnz

        yeah, it’s still escalation, you still had +1 to seize and a different warlord chart to roll on if you wanted:) the game, it appears, was a draw:)

        • TheRhino

          I think that would depend on where you sourced the unit rules. If you pull them out of a FW book, it’s not an Escalation game. It’s a straight up BRB game. Nothing in the BRB says “refer to the Escalation expansion/book”.

          • Pascalnz

            if the FW book has the lord of war stamp, then you use the escalation book rules. anything said any differently? in the BRB, what does it cover for lords of war other than the slot it takes in the army?

            • TheRhino

              That’s all a Lords of War stamp is, a FOC designation now. You use the unit rules for everything else, for example :Super Heavy Walker, or Flying gargantuan Creature. You do NOT have to own Escalation to use a Lord of War.

              • Pascalnz

                kooky, it’ll be a week before I can check books, but it’s something I’ll take a good look at thanks:)

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