Battle Briefing & List Idea for Chaos Marines

Tau Fire WarriorWednesday I played a game against StealthyStealth and his Torks (Tau with Ork allies). I’m calling this is a battle briefing as I’m just glazing over the game.

I brought my Chaos Marines with a test list for the Standoff this fall, a 1,750 hobby tournament. It was almost identical to my list last week, just some minor tweaks really. One game is hardly a judge of a list so I needed another outing with it.

Long story short, I got pummeled. First off, credit to Stealthy for his objective placement. He put one objective in my deployment zone far away from the other objectives. I play an aggressive list that likes to move so he forced me into parking a unit on that objective because I knew he had 2 units of Kroot outflanking and I couldn’t let them just steal that objective from me.  It took some of the fight out of my list by having me play defense; something my list does not do well.

It was a game of extremes. First two rounds of combat that Soulgore was in combat  (my Khorne Jugger-Lord), my daemon weapon rolled 1’s twice and both times I took wounds. Then his Warboss crushed Soulgore. I had the chance, a good roll on the daemon weapon, but the Chaos gods are always fickle. Later on turn #3 I downed both of his flyers with snapshots. It only took one unit each flyer with snapshots, crazy.

Ultimately my army could not take turns of pulse rifles to the face at 3 shots a model, at least not after a crucial failed combat. The big thing I learned is that even with Huron and infiltration that the only reliable assault unit (for distance), I have is still the Spawn. Infiltration gets me closer but terrain slows you down and the enemy can try to disengage to force you to move another turn and take another turn of fire. It’s simply not reliable.

Now I’m toying with lists that do not have Huron, which frees up some points. Also, without infiltration that means I’ll be dropping the Berzerkers. Rhinos are terrible for them and I do not want to bother with a Land Raider in this list. I keep toying with the idea of a Sorcerer for some utility but he needs to be on foot to be effective, at least not in a vehicle, but I have limited options there. I could bring in some Bikers and toss the Sorcerer on one also. However, the unit would be small since I also need to get more scoring units in. I could put him with Terminators, which isn’t terrible but they would also be a small unit. Of course a small unit of Terminators holds up better than Bikers but they are also slower. Lastly, I could get him a Steed of Slaanesh and toss him in with Spawn and Soulgore. I would gain the ability to outflank with acute sense if needed. The downside I’m seeing here is one: that unit is going to draw so much fire power it won’t last long very likely and two: I’m putting a utility character in a close combat unit and that can be dangerous for the Sorcerer.

The other list idea I’m tossing around is bringing in my Orks, Sun’z Killaz. In short, grabbing a few Trukk Boyz mobs and Lootas. Trukk Boyz can keep up with my Spawn, I gain mobile scoring units and Lootas are just great at what they do.

  • JustHippie

    Having psychic powers to make your melee forces more durable(invisible, forewarning, etc) is a better investment IMO. Adding some shooty elements will NEVER get you to outshoot Tau and Eldar(and the rumored Ultras). I think multiple FAST units all moving forward as fast as they can limits the enemy to one round of shooting at them and they won’t drop them all. A Landraider coupled with psychic buffs could be really good, why not give it a try?

    • I’m mostly trying to avoid the LR because it introduces another big model I need to get ready. I haven’t ruled it out entirely and I should really try it. It’s always tough though, you throw in that LR and there goes a big chunk of points fast. However, with everyone moving towards plasma these days it’s worth giving it a shot again.

    • TheRhino

      Without knowing exactly which powers and tactics Thor is going for by including a Sorceror, I can’t touch on the Land Raider from that angle. However, I think his utility is diminished if he’s buttoned up inside a Land Raider which has no fire points.
      I’ve been eyeing my Land Raiders recently as well, and wonder how much stuff Tau and Eldar really have to stop an AV14-all-round tank. Tau have some S8 shots here and there, and fusion weaponry on suits. But locally, folks seem to have abandoned the Piranha with fusion guns. Broadsides and Riptides have anti-tank power, but they’re taken in such low numbers that it might be worth trying out.
      While the Eldar do have a lot of low-AP weapons, not a ton of it is of very high strength. The trick there is Lance weaponry, but with the big focus being on scatter lasers now, you never know. Plus, it’s still a 4+ to affect the Land Raider, and then you have any applicable cover saves.
      The new speed of tanks moving Flat Out can have a Land Raider dropping off a unit into the enemy lines on Turn Two, or Turn one if your opponent moves forward too much (and your Land Raider survived the volleys of shooting aimed at it).

      • EvantheNoob

        I can’t speak for Eldar, but Tau have several ways to deal with Land Raiders – although it’s not as easy as it was. Used to be you’d just line up your broadsides and laugh as AV14 gets blown off the board – now you actually have to think abuot it. Fusion suits are good, although short ranged. The hammerhead with Railgun is still a threat out there – especially with Longstrike. BS5 with Tank Hunter ignroing night fight and most likely ignoring cover is nasty on a S10 AP1 gun that can reach across the board – he is pricy though and there won’t be more than one. Fusion piranhas aren’t common, which is a shame because they really are quite good for their points. Of course, Riptides are nasty but like you said, probably won’t see many at the Standoff. Their are a few tircksy things like EMP grenades on infantry and the Onager Gauntlet, but I wouldn’t worry too much about those.

        • That’s the key though, it’s not as easy as it once was. I know when I took my LR for my Marines and faced a Tau player before that I was going to lose that LR on turn #1; no questions asked. Tau are still capable but the ability isn’t as saturated as before and with a flat out move, assuming first turn, odds are still good the unit at least made it close.

      • I drafted up a list with a LR just to so what I could manage. I agree, putting your psyker in a LR is a waste really, so my list has him on foot with a Terminator retinue. For the points I have to work with it’s the best I can manage to keep him casting each turn and durable.

        Flat out was huge for LRs. Sure, you can’t move 12″ now, dump out and charge any longer but that flat out move still gets you there turn #2 most likely, as you said.

        • EvantheNoob

          The problem with the flat out move is that you are putting yourself right in the range of not just Tau, but IG, SM, CSM, and Eldar anti-tank. An LR in your face with a deathstar or just an assault unit is very scary to pretty much any army. I know this is the plasma edition, but pretty much every army brings some melta. The key will be formulating a list that gets everything (or at least everything that matters) in the enemy’s face turn 1 for the turn two charge.

          • No argument there.

        • JustHippie

          This is exactly what I was suggesting, LR to protect one melee unit and a sorcerer(or other psyker) to protect another. Once the first charges are successful the psyker can then buff other units that need to get across the field too.

  • stealthystealth

    Landraiders are a pain in the ass. What sucks for you is when they don’t pay off for some reason. 250 pts plus pkg inside wasted. I also think raiders are harder to play then what’s on the surface.

    I love truck boys. They take a little fines but I will say 2 truck boys 1 mega nob truck & spawn squad would be pretty sick.

    • Land Raiders are an investment and if you aren’t smart with it then you can certainly waste it. It’s pricey so you have to play smart with it. I’m not saying I always play smart with a LR, often that blood lust surges up, but I try.

      That’s pretty much what I would have points for, 2 Trukk Boyz and some Meganobz. With 3 Trukks moving up and Spawn along side them, something should hit.

  • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

    multiple fast threats is the key to Khorne at the moment I think. My current army has bikes, spawn with Jugger-Lord, Raptors, deep-striking Oblits and Terminators, plus a blob of Berzerkers running towards the enemy as a distraction and Cultists to hold home base. At above 1500 I add Kharn, hounds, Bloodthirster and Bloodletters. You lose a lot on the way in but you have many good contesting units and do a lot of damage in CC. Guaranteed Line-Breaker makes up for not having enough shooting to get First Blood.

    Not having a Land Raider or a Sorcerer saves more points to make units a little larger and more robust to withstand shooting and who wants a Sorcerer in a Khornate list?.

    Its fun too!

    • Multiple fast threats is the key to getting anything in combat these days. With such a focus on shooting this edition the assault armies have taken a serious hit.

      How do you find Raptors? I’ve tried them out a few times and they were OK but I find it hard to take them over Bikers. Point for point I find Bikers work out better but I do love jump units too.

      • EvantheNoob

        If you intend to keep Huron, why not just max out the Berserker squad? I know it’s probably a modelling/painting thing, but If you are going to infiltrate the berserkers might as well make it a big unit.

        I think that’s one of the hidden strengths of the Chaos codex that not enough people use. Large squads are tough – really tough. 20 Berserkers take a lot of beating to kill off.

        • stealthystealth

          The problem with one big unit is “typically” they can only hit one unit. Multiple fast threats will hopefully equal multiple combats. That being said is not an actionable item.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            not sure I agree. Multi charging is sometimes inadvisable since Berzerkers will lose their charge bonuses if they multi charge but occasionally this is a good thing if facing softer targets as it keeps you in combat through your opponent’s turn. A big blob of Zerks has quite a frontage and is likely to be able to reach several enemy units. If you can have a crack at a couple of vehicles and a squad or two at the same time why not?

        • I’m going to try putting a Sorcerer in place of Huron for reliable utility.

          Large squads are often overlooked but I think it’s more because of the investment than anything else, at least for me. 20 Berzerkers, for example, with a single power sword runs 405pts. Going with Huron to infiltrate adds 160pts, so now I have 565pts invested in a single unit. I’m not saying it isn’t worth it but you definitely need to build with it in mind.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            I’ve found 15 Zerkers and Kharn is just about big enough that they reach combat with enough punch remaining (ie Kharn still alive) as long as I’m distracting my opponent with other faster threats. Another 5 seems redundant. Sometimes I’ve also run a unit of cultists in front of them to provide them with cover and should the Cultists actually make it to combat they can trigger the opponent’s Overwatch.

            20 MoK CSM might be a good choice too with Kharn though as they are so much cheaper than Berzerkers and Kharn gives them Hatred and Fearless. Definitely need to add the Icon of Wrath to these big units, failing a charge will most likely lose you the game.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        CSM Bikers are fantastic, especially with a character of some sort to add fearless. Have been thinking about dropping Kharn to bring a biker Lord (the Jugger-Lord is best run with spawn as they have the same movement rates).

        Point for point bikes are better than Raptors, the only advantage Raptors have is the ability to Deep Strike. Having lots of Deep Striking units is a way to counteract their individual unreliability and they can support each other if there is room to drop them close together (and if the dice are kind). 5 Raptors, MoK, meltaguns, combi-melta, meltabombs, lightning claw is 155 points, which is expensive but tolerable for a unit that puts out a lot of damage, can’t be ignored by your opponent and easily contests objectives and gets linebreaker. Dropping 5 Raptors into someone’s artillery park is often rewarding and the Lightning Claw and MoK gives them the ability to reliably hunt Devastators or Dark Reapers in the opponent’s deployment zone.

        General drill is drop in with the first model 6 inches from a tank on the side of it that blocks line of sight from as much of the opponent’s army as possible. Wreck the tank (explode results are annoying…) and next turn jump over the wreck and charge a power armoured backfield unit.

        I wouldn’t go for more than one smallish unit (certainly no more than 8 strong) but one seems worth it for what it adds.

        • I’ve been thinking about adding a Sorcerer on a Bike and going full-on Slaanesh with it. It’s a hair pricier than the Khorne route, which is what I normally do, but much more resilient.

          One advantage, other than deep strike, Raptors have is the ability to move over terrain. It’s one of those things that’s overlooked until it comes up. Bikes are fast but having to go around buildings can really slow the unit down.

          Raptors I’ve had the same though as Bikes, trying Slaanesh. Get the FNP in there, not as useful as on Bikes, but also that I5 boost to mitigate the damage coming back at them.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            also bikes aren’t much use if people are hiding on the upper levels of a ruin!

            Slaanesh is definitely the most powerful build for CSM and Daemons at the moment. I collect Nurgle, Khorne and Alpha Legion, but Slaanesh is certainly tempting at the moment… Perhaps I’ll give in and collect all 4 gods!

  • JD Brink

    Orks could be fun too. I think the infiltrate with Huron is a great option, and he’s a great character. When i use him I usually have a shooty unit like CSM or chosen outflank with his warlord trait. Since we cant outflank and assault anymore it’s crucial that they pack some firepower, but it’s always worked well for me. They can come in and pick out a vulnerable target and light it up on arrival, then either charge or shoot or just get buried in where it itches on the next turn. I’m an outflanker, though, love to do that –throws in a wild card every game and that’s my play style. (oooh, bikers could really do some damage that way and have the speed to maneuver well too!)

    • Infiltrate from the warlord trait states only infantry, so no go on the Bikes sadly. Outflanking is such a gamble that I rarely try it these days. I don’t often use very shooty units either and that loss of assault from reserves/outflanking stinks.

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