Battle Review: Chaos Space Marines vs Tyranids

Last night I played a 1,650 40K game against Tyranids with my Disciples of Twilight, Chaos Space Marines. I decided to do something different and that’s run a very Nurgley list. I haven’t run a Nurgle heavy list in a very, very long time. Here’s my list.

Chaos Space Marines (Crimson Slaughter) – 1,650


  • Soulgore (Chaos Lord) – Mark of Nurgle, Sigil of Corruption, Bolt Pistol, Daemonheart, The Slaughterer’s Horns, Chaos Bike, Power Fist, Lightning Claw, Blight Grenades, Melta Bombs


  • Helbrute – Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon, Missile Launcher


  • Plague Marines (6) – Plasma Gun x 2
    • Plague Champion – Combi-flamer, Power Fist
    • Rhino – Dirge Caster
  • Plague Marines (6) – Meltagun x 2
    • Plague Champion – Combi-melta, Power Fist
    • Rhino

Fast Attack

  • Spawn (5) – Mark of Nurgle
  • Chaos Bikers (5) – Mark of Nurgle, Meltagun x 2

Heavy Support

  • Havocs (7) – Autocannon x 1, Missile Launcher x 3
  • Obliterators (3) – Mark of Nurgle
  • Maulerfiend – Lasher Tendrils
Chaos Space Marines vs Tyranids: Turn #1
End of my turn #1.

I really wanted to give a Nurgle Biker Lord a shot so I basically built the list around him.

The Game

We played the Maelstrom mission Deadlock where you start with 6 cards and decrease a card every turn. I got side choice and first turn. You can mostly make out my deployment in this shot. This is at the end of turn #1. Every card I drew was for objectives and I scored 7pts on the first turn. My shooting was large innefective. On Mark’s turn he drew a lot of objective cards too and advanced and managed to snag 5pts on his turn. He also immobilized my Maulerfiend. Poor daemonic puppy can’t catch a break in a game.

Chaos Space Marines vs Tyranids: Turn #1 - 2
Mark’s turn #2.

Turn #2 I charged my Spawn into his blob of Termagants. He had used Paroxysm on my Spawn and they mostly flailed around. My Bikers charged into some Gargoyles and took out about half the squad. His turn he charged his Hormagaunts into my Obliterators and Shrikes came to bail out the Gargoyles. Most of his army hung back and took shots at my Havocs and Rhinos. From here on the game revolved around assaults. My Spawn stayed stuck in their combat, another Termagant squad charged in to aid the other, my Obliterators finally clearing the Hormagaunts and my Lord getting stuck in with lots of baddies, though eventually dying off. We continued drawing cards and slowly pulling points but it had quickly stalled out from the big opening we had. The game ended on turn #6 with a draw. I thought I had won last night by 1pt and then realized I goofed when he killed my Warlord and I forgot to score him his card (D3 and he rolled for 1pt), plus Slay the Warlord, so a solid draw at 13-13.


It was a very close game and neither of us really swung a lead at all. I had him early by a few points but the game was always within 2pts. Neither of us really bashed the other one in much either. We pretty much killed an even amount on both sides and that wasn’t much considering. As form for Nurgle experiment, it went well. Not surprising that T6 Bikers are hard to deal with as well as T6 Spawn. Most of my army was T5 or T6. I had not used my Plague Marines in almost two years and they did well. They did not do anything amazing but being tough to kill off let them hold ground and run around for objectives. Soulgore did reasonably well. I do miss the daemon weapon on him, at least when I roll high on it, but I don’t miss having to fear rolling 1’s either and smacking myself. I’ve gotten so used that to setup that I felt lacking a bit in close combat. However, this setup isn’t to make him a close combat monster but more a utility to send where needed and to that end he performed. Definitely a list I’ll work on refining and add to my repertoire.

  • Imagine that, a mission called Deadlock ending in a draw! With the number of objectives dwindling you need to get an early lead in that one or you’re in trouble. It gets very difficult to pull ahead or catch up in later turns.

    Sounds like a good game. It looks like a very resilient list!

    • I had not thought about that, the draw on Deadlock…brilliant!

      Resilient is a good way to put it. The damage output of the list isn’t amazing, that’s where my Khorne lists shine, but it does hold up damn well. Being able to hold up, if not do a ton of damage, works out well in the Maelstrom missions if you’re drawing objective cards at least.

  • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

    I’d be tempted to replace the Helbrute and the Maulerfiend with a pair of Vindicators, for cheap high AV, AP2 and the potential at least to do some damage. Failing that Vengeance Weapon Batteries work well for boosting a resilient lists damage output, and since they are AV14 they often get ignored and can just bang away with their battlecannons all day.

    • Those are the two units I’d look to replace as well. I love the Mauler but he’s hit or miss. The Helbrute was tossed in because I was floating some points and wanted at least another ranged vehicle weapon.

      I don’t have Vindis though or the weapon batteries. I need to start adding in some more ranged options like that because right now most of what I own is for punching faces off, not shooting them ;)

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        I love Nurgle, but their resilience only goes so far in these days of Imperial Knights, Riptides etc. I’ve found that some AV14 or 13 tends to take the attention of enemy heavy weapons off the Plague Marines, so they can shine where they belong- effortlessly wading through small arms fire into combat.

        I think they synergise well with big blobs of zombies to jam midfield and make up for their lack of numbers, but sadly this means paying the Typhus tax. I usually deepstrike him with Oblits, but to be honest it doesn’t really work too well at low points values.

        All told pure Nurgle CSM is awkward, not fast enough to catch Eldar and not enough damage output to really win against other armies. Toughness 6 bikes and spawn are cool though!

        • I don’t think I’ll likely go so Nurgle heavy again. The Spawn and Bikers are obvious Nurgle candidates and have the speed, resilience and power to be useful. I love Plague Marines but the investment needed on top of the rest of the list is hard to justify since it doesn’t fill the gaps in the list.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            Aside from the lack of two specials, 5x MoN CSM with special and combi are a lot cheaper and almost as good, and on theme.

  • worried guy

    i thought you can only take a max of 5 spawn in one unit?

    • You’re right. Just noticed that typo now that you mention it.

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