Battle Review: Chaos Space Marines vs Iron Hands

Thor and CarlWednesday night I played a 1,600 game of Warhammer 40K against Space Marines, Iron Hands specifically. As usual we played a Maelstrom of War mission and got the one where you start with one card and gain on each additional turn.

The list I brought along was the same as last week. I’ve been trying to stick to something to improve how well the list performs, instead of a new list each week, and to work on nailing down a core to my army and developing a style to lean on.

Here it is again.

Chaos Space Marines – 1,600


  • Soulgore (Chaos Lord) – Bolt Pistol, Axe of Blind Fury, Sigil of Corruption, Juggernaut of Khorne, Mark of Khorne, Melta Bombs


  • Chaos Space Marines (10) – Icon of Vengeance,Meltagun x 2
    • Aspiring Champion – Melta Bombs
    • Rhino – Dozer Blade
  • Berzerkers (10) – Icon of Wrath
    • Berzerker Champion – Melta Bombs, Power Sword
    • Rhino
  • Cultists (10) -Autoguns, HeavyStubber x 1
    • Cultist Champion – Shotgun

Fast Attack

  • Spawn (5)
  • Heldrake – Hades Autocannon

Heavy Support

  • Obliterators (3) – Mark of Nurgle, Veterans of the Long War
  • Havocs (7) – Veterans of the Long War,Autocannon x 1, Missile Launcher x 3
    • Aspiring Champion – Melta Bombs
  • Maulerfiend – Lasher Tendrils

My opponent’s list was very light on bodies but had a few serious threats. He had the Chapter Master all done up the way every single Iron Warriors player does it (I forget all the wargear but the Biker based tank of a dude). He also had a Librarian on bike, some Bikers of course, two Scout squads in Land Speeder Storms, Thunderfire Cannon, Techmarine on Bike, Stormtalon and an Imperial Knight. I think that’s everything.

The Game

He took first turn and his opening was painful. His Thunderfire took out 7 Berzerkers; I failed 7 of 9 saves. His Knight missed and his Bikes moved up a bit. Everything else was in reserves. I advanced Soulgore with Spawn up one flank, Maulerfiend down the center and the Berzerkers jumped in their Rhino and moved up the other flank. I had Havocs in the center with a fire lane down the center and right flank, which happened to be where he deployed most of his army.

I managed to charge his Bikes with my Spawn and Lord but my Maulerfiend failed his charge. This combat defined the game. On my charge I rolled a 1 on my daemon weapon but still got through 5-6 wounds, which his Chapter Master saved. I took a few wounds on Spawn in return. The combat went on until turn #4 with his Chapter Master tanking wounds and his Librarian using his force weapon to remove Soulgore and Spawn. I later got my Maulerfiend in there, who eventually died, and lastly my Obliterators. The Obliterators finally won and destroyed the unit entirely while having only one left alive.

Basically, I threw everything I could at that unit. It was his only mobile threat and he had so much tied up into it. The Knight I could avoid for a while, and did most of the game, but I knew if I could take out the Bike unit that I could go on to snag the points I would need to win.

The game was a slug-fest. At the end of turn #5 he had a 2pt lead on me but we went to turn #6. After turn #6 the game was a tie. We rolled turn #7 and he gained 2 more points but then I drew cards that would give me 3pts without trying, probably 5 if I tried. The game was over.


It was a great game. Nether of us had much left at the end. Keeping that Bike unit tied up allowed me to maneuver the rest of my army and deal with the Scouts when they arrived. My Heldrake hunted and took out the Stormtalon and the Knight I just disregarded. Had he been more aggressive with that Knight the game would have been different. He kept it back defensively instead of putting it in my face as a threat I could not ignore.

  • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

    why weren’t your Zerkers in the rhino at the start btw?

    • Because they can’t charge out of it and if I start in it then the earliest I could charge is turn #3. I take it to have an objective secured vehicle and I use it to screen their advance.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        fair enough- I am interested because I tend to play them another way. I stick them in the rhino, and send them 18″ towards the enemy turn one, turn two I almost always get them out (unless my opponent is a cowardly custard sitting on their baseline) and then run them forward as you do. I don’t expect them to get a charge turn two this way, but it usually guarantees they will get a charge eventually rather than being ignored.

        Berzerkers are tough to use now, its interesting to see another approach.

        • I have only recently been giving them a shot. When they stopped being able to charge out of Rhinos I gave up on them for a while. Lately I’ve tried them on foot with the icon and have been pleasantly surprised. I usually have enough faster threats that they go ignored and that I feel is the key. If they were my only melee threat then starting them on foot would be suicide. It’s probably not the “best” approach but one that’s been working for me.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            On foot I’ve found them really fragile, there is so much AP3 out there these days. I prefer Khorne marked CSM with a Lord/Kharn to give them fearless if I’m going for a blob of them on foot, you get more bodies for your points. The CSM codex really needs a cheap assault transport! Mind you, they might work with Huron or some other way of giving them infiltration.

            • True, but that WS5 makes all the difference in the world though. To get CSM close to the damage output of Berzerkers you need to spend 17pts a model. You’ll match attacks but still only be WS4 and won’t have furious charge. Plus, Zerkers are naturally fearless, no fear of losing it. In short, I find them worth the points.

              • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

                I don’t find I need them to be as good as Zerkers in CC, just better than Marines!

                • Fair enough. No sense jacking their cost up too much if you’re going to run Kharn with them since he’ll just kill them anyway ;)

                  • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

                    I remember one time when Kharn killed my last scoring Berzerker in a fit of pique and cost me the game! At least Kharn had the good grace to take his last wound with his own plasma pistol. Damned ‘Gets Hot’!

                    • Bleh. That’s horrible. I’ve only used him a few times but have had really good luck with him…so far.

                    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

                      his saving grace is that he is more reliable on the attack than a Juggerlord with Daemon weapon- no chance of rolling a 1 for the number of attacks with Gorechild! He also rerolls to hit with his attacks in the first round so only kills his own men with any frequency in turn two of any melee, even then you don’t usually lose many. The big downside is he is so fragile, he’s been fighting for Khorne for 10,000 years but mysteriously doesn’t have Eternal Warrior, which makes attacking Terminators with his AP2 at Initiative weapon more dangerous than it should be since any Terminator with a power fist can kill him in a single blow.

                    • The T4 no ET is the big reason I do not use him more. That can be said of why I don’t use most named characters.

%d bloggers like this: