Battle Review: Chaos Space Marines vs Tyranids

Chaos Space Marines vs Tyranids #1This past Saturday was supposed to be a 1,600 Warhammer 40K tournament at my LGS but only three of us showed. Well, a fourth later showed but after someone already bailed so the tournament was scraped. However, since we were there I played against Andrew and his Tyranids.

I was playing Disciples of Twilight, my Chaos Space Marines. I wanted to try and list that had a heavy assault element but with a reasonable amount of fire support. Using my assault units to pound open Rhinos and such has not been ideal. So, the list I brought along was this.

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, Gift of Mutation


  • Chaos Space Marines (10) -Meltagun x 2, Icon of Vengeance
    • Aspiring Champion – Meta Bombs
    • Rhino
  • Cultists (10) -Autoguns, HeavyStubber
    • Aspiring Champion – Shotgun
  • Cultists (10) – CCW,Autopistol, Flamer
    • Aspiring Champion

Fast Attack

  • Spawn (5)
  • Heldrake – Hades Autocannon
  • Raptors (10) – Mark of Slaanesh, Icon of Excess, Meltagun x 2
    • Aspiring Champion – Melta Bombs

Heavy Support

  • Obliterators (2) – Mark of Nurgle, Veterans of the Long War
  • Obliterators (2) – Mark of Nurgle, Veterans of the Long War
  • Forgefiend – Hades Autocannon x 2

The Game

We played the Maelstrom of War mission where you start with six cards and decrease one card every turn. He got first turn.

Andrew advanced and on the first turn managed 4pts. He had the Broodlord (believe that was it), leading his Genestealers and used that power that causes a pinning check at -2LD and pinned a squad of Obliterators. I advanced a bit but held back to try and maneuver for charging on my turn instead of being charged. I picked up I believe 2pts on the first turn.

Chaos Space Marines vs Tyranids #2
Somewhere around turn #3.

Next turn he again managed to pin the same squad of Obliterators again and continued his advance to get his weapons in range. His Carnifexs shot the hell out of my other squad of Obliterators and wiped them. I moved up Soulgore and Spawn and they charged into the Carnifex brood and left one Carnifex alive with a single wound.

Andrew’s Hive Crone and Zoanthropes were really putting a dent in my army on my left flank while the Genestealers, Broodlord, Tyrant and Guard were rolling up my right flank. He had taken a solid lead around turn three with something like 8-4. I had failed two charges in a row with my Raptors trying to get into his Raveners. I have terrible luck getting those damn Raptors into combat. Things were not looking good for me.

Soulgore rose to the call. He and the Spawn finished off the last Carnifex and a squad of Termagants that charged in to support the Carnifex. For the rest of the game Soulgore went on to rampage the Tyranids and my daemon weapon did not fail me once and I don’t think he managed under 10 attacks total each combat phase. He and the Spawn cleared my left flank.

On my right flank the Genestealers rolled my Cultists but my Obliterators wounded the Tyrant and Guard with shooting and charged in. The Tyrant whiffed big time and the Obliterators pounded out a Guard, left one with a wound and the Tyrant had a wound left. The Obliterators were cleared out after but his last Guard was dead and my Heldrake vector struck the final wound off the Tyrant. I had the card for killing his Warlord, D3 points, and scored two for it plus Slay the Warlord for 3pts.

At the end of turn #5 we were tied with me taking out his Warlord but we rolled another turn. His turn #6 didn’t net him any points and then I picked up a card for an objective I was on. I took the 1pt lead but we rolled another turn, turn #7. On his turn #7 he took out my Heldrake to tie it up and I didn’t draw a card of use so the game ended a tie, 14-14.


What an awesome game. The more I play the Maelstrom missions the more I enjoy them. It just creates such a cool dynamic to the game. Most of his cards he drew were for objectives while I drew few of those and mostly the ones involving killing stuff, which is what made the game so interesting.

We beat the hell out of each other and neither of us had much left at the end of turn #7, as a 14-14 score might indicate. His early lead had me worried but Soulgore went unchallenged through his army, literally and figuratively, and kept me in the fight. Last game I played Soulgore with Crimson Slaughter to do the famed setup of Daemonheart (2+ and IWND), along with a power fist and lightning claw. It wasn’t bad but I missed the offensive power of the Axe of Blind Fury. This game reminded me why I love that axe so much.

Overall I really liked my list. I went heavier on fire support than I normally do. For a while I was of the mentality of just throwing as much as my opponent as I could, assault-wise, and hoping to have so many threats that something would pan out. For the most part it never worked well. Getting in the right fire support elements for assault units is critical, a lesson learned. Historically I do terrible against Tyranids, in any edition of 40K and any version of their codex. The fact I hung in on this game, came back from being so far behind and tying it just reinforces the fact I need that fire support.

What do you think of the Maelstrom of War missions?

  • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

    I like the Maelstrom missions a lot, they are fun to play. They are very random though and to be honest I’ve never really felt I’ve deserved any of the wins or loses I’ve had in Maelstrom games, it has always come down to luck. Fun to play for a laugh, but the old missions are more tactical. If there was a cross between them- a last turn objective based mission with just one random card per turn, that might be perfect.

    I think the Daemonheart/PF/LC works best on a Tzeentch Lord with disc and sigil, for a 2+ 3++ jetbike. The disc gives him an extra attack, as does the two specialised weapons, so he has 6 attacks on the charge.

    Would be funny to try on a Palanquin riding Lord surrounded by a max squad of cultists, T5, 5 wounds, IWND, 2+ 3++ and 6 attacks again, the only way to kill him would be to hit him with S10 and hope he fluffs his LOS roll!

    • See, I disagree on the tactical part. Maelstrom missions require a more flexible list. You can’t rely on sitting in your deployment zone pounding your opponent with fire power and you also can’t just bum rush your opponent. You have to balance working the cards with how your approach your opponent. Focus too much on just destroying your opponent and you may give up points and focus on points too much and you may find yourself getting picked apart.

      The problem I have with standard missions is the static nature of them. You know you need to grab objective A, B or C (whatever), and have at least five turns to get there. Sit back and shoot for 3-4 turns and move in. Dance around a bit, avoid your opponent and last turn swoop in. You usually know early on how the game is going to go and I find that dull. That’s my humble opinion at least.

      Good call on the Lord. I generally never consider a Tzeentch marked Lord but in that setup it makes sense. I’d even go a step further and give him The Slaughterer’s Horns to get rage and furious charge. Hmmm. I’ll have to try that out.

      A palanquin Lord would be interesting in that setup. Not something I would try but nasty none-the-less.

      • I think both mission styles have merit. The standard missions feel a bit more like a strikeforce sent to achieve a specific goal while the Maelstrom missions reflect two armies dealing with whatever happens to be thrown at them. There is more of a luck factor with the Maelstrom missions but this can be mitigated to some degree by keeping your army well positioned and/or mobile, and by pulling the standard bonus points. The Maelstrom missions do lead to some close and sometimes surprising games, and after so many years with the standard static missions the Maelstrom missions bring a fresh experience to the game.

        I do like the idea of a hybrid mission. Make one of the objectives the primary one, or add a primary objective task of some kind, and have it be worth 4 or 5 points to the army holding it at the end. Then toss in two or three tactical objectives to keep things fluid. The primary objective should be worth enough to sway the game but it should still be possible to get enough of a lead on other objectives to offset it. That way the primary is worth fighting for but it’s not the only one that matters.

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