Chaos Marines: My HQ Choice Thoughts

ChaosI’ve been quiet lately because I’ve been doing a lot of thinking with the new Chaos codex. If there’s one area I’m struggling with in the new Chaos codex it’s the HQ choices. There are a lot of good choices and they all have their own merits. As I’m gearing up to build out my Chaos force I have to consider the leaders of my army and I’m just not sure. Where before the HQ choice had little to no impact on your army, that’s all changed.

As I mentioned the other week, I want to do a fast army. I want something that’s going to be in your face as soon as possible with the ability to stay there and not just get shot clear. I know 6th is a shooting game but I just love me some assault, which is why it has to be fast (to get there in one piece), and survivable (to take some rapid fire pounding after destroying a unit).

Here’s my thoughts so far.

Lord – Mark of Nurgle. I still love Plague Marines and think they are one of the best ‘troops’ in the game. As an elite unit, not so much, so I need that Lord to get Plagues as troops.

At the moment this is also a choice of convenience as I have 2 Plague Marine squads. I only have 20 Cultists (30 once I convert my Beastmen), and 5 Chaos Marines if I didn’t have a marked Lord. I’m going to be investing in more CSM so that I’m not forced into taking a Lord of Nurgle for Plague Marines.

This is my current practical choice, nothing amazing. Now I’ll get into more forward thinking choices for when I shore up my collection holes.

Daemon Prince – I used to really enjoy running two Princes in the old codex, especially when they finally became flying Princes. In the current codex though they are expensive and not eternal warrior. They got a stat boost, except for losing eternal warrior, and are more of a scalpel and less a blunt instrument of death.

I can see using two again but not as psykers, or at least not as mastery level 3 psykers, just to keep their points a bit more reasonable. They absorb so many points that it’s going to detract from speedy units I want to take. On the other hand they are fast, so what I lose in other units I may gain back a bit on the HQ choices itself.

Huron – He got better in this codex and he has the warlord trait Master of Deception where you can infiltrate D3 units. Being able to infiltrate means the option of getting closer, so I can move up slower units at the start of the game to support the faster units coming up the board and draw some heat off them. It also opens up the potential for a null deployment between infiltration and reserves/deep strike/outflank. Which brings me to…

Sorcerer – A lot of talk about these guys now and for good reason. I really like the Nurgle and Slaanesh powers a lot. Nurgle gives you maledictions and Slaanesh a malediction and a blessing, other than their shooting powers, but it’s the non-shooting powers that have my interest. The thing with blessings and maledictions is you need to be out of a vehicle to make use of them. I’m not interested in a foot horde, it’s not my style, so that gives me a few choices on where to put him.

I’m tossing around on where to put him and in what capacity. I do want to get some Bikers and if I get Bikers then more than likely I’ll give them the mark of Nurgle for T6. I thought about Slaanesh for these guys for a fast moving unit at I5 but Bikers really are more of a utility unit than an assault unit. As a utility unit I see Nurgle benefiting them far more than Slaanesh would. Anyway, put the Sorcerer on a bike and ride around casting Nurgle maledictions to soften up units that my assault units are going to hammer into.

Another option is Raptors. Give him a jump pack and toss him in there. I can see going either Nurgle or Slaanesh here. Of course the Sorcerer’s mark has to match the unit. I’m leaning a bit more on Slaanesh in this unit. The Slaanesh powers will let me buff the unit on the charge in and/or debuff the unit I’m about the charge, which is a great combo. The primaris power is good if it works but nothing to bank on.

Ultimately the mark choice will come down to the rest of my force, whether I need the Raptors more durable to reach their goal or faster in combat for when they get there.

A bit of a gimmick I was thinking about here is giving him, Sorcerer, a stead of Slaanesh. The stead lets him outflank with the unit he joins. I could outflank the Raptors, maybe bust up a vehicle or thin down a unit on arrival, then charge in the next. I could even outflank Bikers. On its own it’s not amazing but the idea was to couple this with Huron and infiltration. If I can get 1-3 units forward from infiltrate, advance up my fast units and outflank then I could envelop the enemy and pin them in. It wouldn’t be a tactic that works against everyone or all the time but it’s a threat none-the-less.

With that thought, having two Sorcerers on steads doing this could be fun too. I’d lose out on Huron and infiltration though.

The last option I’m considering is actually putting him with Spawn. The Spawn would be Nurgle for T6. Slaanesh could get them up to I4, I5 if the blessing went right, but odds are these guys are hitting units entrenched in cover anyway and going at I1. The T6 helps offset the fact they have no save as well. The Sorcerer would need a jump pack or bike to keep up and the bike would be the best choice as it pairs better with the Spawn as calvary (neither would be slowed by terrain to charge). The Sorcerer would do the same as if he was with bikes mentioned above only he would be casting maledictions on the unit they are about to charge.

Damn, that was long-winded. Those are the choice I’m considering and you can see I’ve been thinking a lot about this. It’s also pretty obvious what my favored choice is. The HQ choice(s) will help setup how the rest of my army operates and so I’m starting at the top and working down. Over time I’ll have multiple HQ options and can work various builds. For now though I need to make purchases and build the lists out so I want to ensure my early purchases are not regretted later.

  • Lukas

    I get the convenience part. But plague marines are soooo 5th edition :P.
    salvo noise marines are where its at. With slaaneshi sorcerers so they can kill anything they shoot at. Similar to Psybolt ammos utility, but this one is free :P

    • Definitely a possibility though not exactly free as you’re buying a Sorcerer and then hoping to get the power as it’s not primaris.

  • Epaminondas

    With my vast experience playing against chaos (ie one game against you; prior to that EOT); I think the biggest thing you lack is target saturation. Big expensive HQs just reduce your saturation, and make it easier to prioritize your fire. Sure, you can build Das Uber Lord/Prince of Killiness… but does it really add alot to your force.

    Granted, the short end deployment, combined with your zippo rhinos kicked you in the nuts turn one… but I never felt alot of pressure. Unidimensional threats, over time.

    If you want close combat, you need to hit with an overwhelming wave all at once. One or two units a turn can be easily negated by torrent of fire, quality fire… ie by any army.

    HQ, shooting, support… all should be enabling your troops to get into close combat fast. Two rhinos at 1850 doesn’t cut it.

    Build the list from a getting your troops into combat POV, and add support including HQ that helps.

    Huron for example is both cheap, and helps d3 units get into it faster.

  • TheRhino

    I don’t think Chaos can pull off a null deployment build. Nothing in the book MUST be in reserves except the Helldrake or FMC Prince, and none of your transports fly. You’re stuck with half your units ont he board, at minimum.
    Unless I’m misunderstanding your definition of null deployment…

    • It wouldn’t be a full null deployment but could mostly be. I average about 8 units in my 1,850 lists, minus transports and HQs (they’re attached already). On a shit lucky roll I could infiltrate 3 units, put 4 in reserves, so only deploy one unit. About the best Chaos can do with it now.

      • JustHippie

        Null deployment isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Trust me.

        • Khorne Inquisitor


      • TheRhino

        Don’t you have to count the DTs and ICs in your total though? I know ICs count as a separate unit for the total, not sure about DTs.

  • JustHippie

    I think using Daemon allies to run Princes is the best solution. Although the new CSM prince stats are amazing the HQ slot is too valuable for a choppy MC IMO. Take Plaguebearers for the durable scoring unit and have the Daemon(EW) prince come in non-preferred 1/2(hopefully).
    Seems like there will be a TON of Nurgle armies(2 besides you at FLGS already) since so many guys had Plagues from old armies.
    Personally I stay away from Nurgle because EVERYONE runs it. I like the Infiltrate options since it can be used to hide or to attack depending on what you are facing. The outflank not so much, Will they come in turn 2,3 or 4? Kind of hard to execute a plan when they don’t come in and with Warlord trait -1 reserves and Officer of the Fleet -1 needing 5’s turns 2 and 3 stinks and IG allies are popping up like daisies to boot.

    • That’s been my thought on Princes, hence my Standoff list being what it is. Might be fun some time to put down 4 Princes though. That being said, a single Chaos Prince can find a spot to fill but I just don’t see two of them.

      No argument on outflank, it’s not reliable. The odds are way better now than before of getting it sooner but that’s about it.

  • Amberclad

    Sounds like what you really need is a nurgle lord on a bike. T6 will make sure he can’t be insta-killed except with force weapons. He’ll be fast, to go along with your bikers and is a combat monster. And I bet you can get him for a reasonable price (points wise). You could even combine him with a nurgle sorceror on a bike, (they can still take bikes right?) and have really nasty spearhead unit.

    • Yeah, you can give bikes to Sorcerers. The problem I see though is that Bikers really aren’t a close combat unit and that’s all a Lord is good for. Bikers aren’t bad and being T6 would make them a good tarpit but they aren’t going to roll anything either.

  • Not interested in Typhus?

    • Typhus is my absolute favorite HQ choice. The problem I’ve had though is delivering Typhus so he can devour things. You deep strike Typhus and a Terminator retinue near something and it dies as every gun aims at it. At least that’s been my experience once people know what Typhus is capable of. So, I need to get myself a Land Raider if I want to more reliably use him. That of course makes him a pricey HQ investment fiscally and I’m trying to reserve my larger spending on other things like more CSM, Raptors, Bikes, etc.

      • Why not just join him to a squad and walk him across the field?

        • Tried and it just dies. It’s worse then deep striking. At least when I deep strike it’s sudden and hopefully I have other targets to draw fire off of Typhus. They have one turn to make a decision. When they slog across the field they are slow and easily dealt with at leisure.

          Again, these are my experiences with them. In short, I play against a pretty strong group of opponents.

          • Khorne Inquisitor

            If you run a larger daemon force you can run it easily. If you run some assaulty survivable stuff (ie. Nurgle, Bloodcrushers, Fiends…sorta, soulgrinders, screamers, greater daemons…you know), aand drop stuff aggressively it pulls the heat off of him when he deepstrikes. Like I suggested when we played and discussed how deep striking terminators gets them killed. HOWEVER, deepsttrike terminators when there are already blooodletters and a greater daemon breathing down their back and POOF target priority is off oof typhus. Utilize multiple deepstriking units to pull pressure off any one as the neaar tthreats build up it makes the opponent to make decisions that can be game changing for him. If you deepstrike only one or two things however…yeah, yyou just get the piss shot out of you. :P

  • stealthystealth

    I have not read the Chaos Codex and I have no idea how much stuff costs. So just going off what you said by fast.


    One large squad of marines tooled out to deal damage. Think those are the noise ones.

    One smaller squad

    two squads of plague in rhinos with plasma

    two squad spawn mark of nurgle (the one that makes them tuff.)

    One havok squad

    any points left can be for a prince or like amberclad said lord on a bike maybe a dragon.

    Here is the concept

    You will infiltrate the big squad up for sure.
    If you can do 2 you bring up the second smaller squad or a spawn squad if you need a anti charge wall.
    If 3 then all of those.

    You move your plague marines forward snap shot plasma out of top hatch. moving toward whatever objective you are going to hold/deny

    2nd spawn unit moving toward whatever you want to tie up take cover behind rhinos.

    I think that would allow you give midfield pressure early in the game.

  • I’m a big fan of Huron too so good to know he’s even better now. I look forward to the next Red Corsairs raid!

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