One of the things I have really struggled with in 40K 7th edition is finding a way to make the Chaos Sorcerer function. I love the advent of the psychic phase for 7th. I feel it reigned in psykers a lot while at the same time letting them do their thing. With a phase of its own, psykers can cast however they want and not have it impact their shooting or assault choices. I was very glad to see that brought to 7th edition.
Another change though, and one that really affected my use of a Chaos Sorcerer, was the loss of being able to use blessings and maledictions from a transport’s firing point. I have no issue with the change, and I agree it was needed for balance, but it made it really hard for me to determine where to place my Chaos Sorcerer. He could no longer ride around in a Rhino with Chaos Space Marines bolstering their leadership and providing support to nearby units. To support the army the Sorcerer had to get out of the Rhino, and we all know it’s scary when you get out of the Rhino!
I tried a lot of things with my Chaos Sorcerer. When Crimson Slaughter came out I thought that The Balestar of Mannon would fix them. Having access to Divination is never a bad thing. I tried all sorts of Chaos Marks, different wargear, and where I placed him. I could go on and on about what I tried and what didn’t work. Instead I wanted to focus on sharing what I learned the hard way. This is just my experience, so your mileage may vary.
Always Have Your Sorcerer Accessible
This goes back to the transport thing I was saying. You can only use Witchfire powers from a fire point, so if your Sorcerer has other powers then keep him outside a transport, at least if you’re relying on those other powers. Some powers only effect the Sorcerer and his unit. There are situations when you will need to get your Sorcerer into another unit because of this, and that’s far more easily done when the Sorcerer is already on foot. Riding around in transports with your Sorcerer makes things harder than it needs to be.
The other side of accessibility is keeping your Chaos Sorcerer central to your army. Some powers have a really short range, so being able to reach your entire army with powers is crucial.
Keep the Cost of Your Sorcerer to a Minimal
It’s so easy to dump points into Chaos Marks and wargear. If your Chaos Sorcerer is also your warlord then it’s really easy to succumb to overspending. Remember, a Sorcerer is a T4 two wound model with mediocre stats for close combat. His ability is in his powers, not his physical prowess on the field. Investing a lot of points into a model, just to keep it alive, is often just wasteful. Those points are better spent elsewhere in my experience.
Choose a Psychic Focus
Between the Chaos powers, and the three disciplines a Chaos Sorcerer has access to, there are a lot of options. The problem though is if you’re rolling on multiple tables, trying to cherry-pick the best powers, it will rarely work. Power selection is too random to pull from various disciplines reliably. If you marked a Sorcerer then I wouldn’t choose from more than one other discipline. Sticking to one discipline often proves more beneficial than dabbling in multiple.
Consider Not Giving Your Sorcerer a Chaos Mark
I find the Chaos psychic powers to not be all that great. They are OK, but generally speaking there are better powers in the standard psychic disciplines. Having a Chaos Mark forces you to take at least one God power. The Sorcerer automatically gains psychic focus in that God’s discipline, which of course all means you can’t focus in a standard discipline when you are marked. As a result, if you really want a power from another discipline then you’ve greatly reduced your odds of getting it when you have a Chaos Mark.
The Sorcerer Should Enhance the Army, Not Be the Linchpin
Relying on psychic powers to make your army work will disappoint you. The process of casting powers is unreliable. Your army should function well on its own, and the Sorcerer should help them do their task better or easier, not be reliable for them to perform their job.
My Chaos Sorcerer Setup
I have played with my Chaos Sorcerer a lot lately, hence this post. I’ve learned a lot the hard way. I also wanted to share what my Sorcerer setup looks like based on those experiences.
Yep, that’s it. That setup weighs in at only 150pts.
I admit that this setup started off with me wanting to paint up my Chaos Sorcerer in Terminator armor for a 40K campaign we were doing. This wasn’t some grand plan at creating the best Sorcerer possible, but instead to make best with what I was using. I have gone down the road of really expensive setups, 200pts or more, and routinely been disappointed by the results in the past. I shaved off everything I didn’t feel was essential for the Sorcerer to do his job, and that job for me is to support the army.
The only non-essential thing is the Terminator Armor. Being mastery 3 is needed for added reliability in casting, and a Spell Familiar is a no-brainer. Again, this was the model I wanted to use and he has Terminator armor. I looked at it practically though. The Terminator armor is 25pts, and that gets the Sorcerer a 2+ save and a 5++. To buy the Aura of Dark Glory to get a 5++ instead costs 15pts. That means I’m only paying 10pts to get a 2+ save. Seems practical to me!
I have run this setup with two different bodyguards. One is to run him with a unit of Terminators. The really nice part about having the Chaos Sorcerer in with Terminators is that there is a Champion to take challenges for him. The other unit I run him with is Obliterators with the Mark of Nurgle. Obliterators have become my preferred retinue for him. Compared to Terminators, Obliterators are more resilient, and more valuable point-for-point. I almost always run my lists with Obliterators in it, so when he was with Terminators I had to buy them just to guard him, which seemed like a big waste of points.
The last thing I started doing was to focus exclusively in Telepathy. Telepathy of course has Psychic Shriek and Invisibility, both great powers, but the gem I had overlooked previously is Mental Fortitude. I had always just read the first part of that power where it lets a unit falling back to immediately regroup. Well, that’s cool but situational in use. The next part though says that the unit gains Fearless. I don’t have to tell any Chaos Space Marine player how useful having fearless units is. It’s a damn game changer at times. The great thing too is if you manage to get both Invisibility and Mental Fortitude. That way you can make one unit Invisible and another Fearless. That gives you two units who are going to hold up for a turn.
Well, that concludes my recent experiences on how I managed to find a way to make my Chaos Sorcerer work on the table for me.
What’s your experiences with Chaos Sorcerers? Do you have any suggestions on setups and effective ways to run one?