Obliterator Review – How the Mighty Have Fallen

Obliterators are another unit I used to use a lot in 7th edition. In 7th they were an amazing shooting units who was capable in close combat. They were affordable and did damn near anything you needed.

However, 8th rolled around and Obliterators got adjusted. Now, I find them a shell of their former selves.

Obliterator Rules & Info

An Obliterator is effectively a 3-wound Terminator at its core, however, they come in a much smaller unit for a much higher price. You’re paying more than double the price of a Terminator for an extra wound and a wonky shooting weapon (more on that below).


As with most infantry, Obliterators have Death to the False Emperor. They also have Daemonic (5+ invulnerable), and Teleport Strike (deep strike). Again, very much like Terminators.


If only the GW models looked like this.

Obliterators now come with Fleshmetal Guns instead of the old method of choosing a weapon. The problem is that the Fleshmetal Guns are random.

Fleshmetal Guns: 24″, Assault 4, S6 + D3, -D3 AP, D3 Damage.

Yep, the damn gun is random. What the hell?

I don’t mind a little random, I love Spawn, but random on this scale is unforgivable to me. The problem here is weapon’s randomness can go from terrible at killing nearly anything to amazing at busting vehicles. The weapon has the potential to be great, and on average it should be decent at least, but that randomness alone makes it hard to work with.

You could be planning to shoot at a Knight and roll terrible for weapon stats. Now, instead of firing on the Knight you might decide to fire on infantry instead, something the random profile is more likely to kill.

I’m not saying the gun is terrible, only that I prefer weapons with a reliable profile for obvious reasons. Three Oblits with Fleshmetal Guns could do some heavy damage, or they could be playing tickle with their target.

Back in the day, Obliterators also had power fists. This made them an amazing unit for Chaos, a Swiss army knife, but 8th edition removed their fists.

Use on the Battlefield


Chaos Obliterator
This Obliterator hasn’t had his morning coffee.

With an unreliable weapon profile, shooting is probably best spent on elite infantry. The strength of the shooting will be wounding at least on 3’s (typically), and may get up to 2’s.

A full unit of Oblits (3), will get 12 shots, of which 8 will hit, and 5 will wound (based on 3’s to wound on average). From there the random makes it hard to work out. You could be doing 5 wounds or 15 with -1 to -3AP.

Again, the potential for damage is there, but the randomness of the Fleshmetal Guns just rubs me the wrong way. Is it too much to ask to know prior to picking a target what your weapon will do?

Thanks to LazyGitWargaming for reminding me of this. One nice thing you can do with Oblits is to give them Mark of Slaanesh. Then you can use the Endless Cacophony stratagem to fire a second time with the unit. This costs 2CP, and then you can dump our 24 shots with a full unit.

Still, you’re dealing with random weapons, and uncertainty in targets, but with 24 shots something should be getting vaporized. As LazyGit mentioned, if you get lucky with the rolls (-3AP, 3 Damage), you could pump out (in a perfect scenario) 72 wounds. It’s food for thought if nothing else.


This was once a thing for them in 7th, but no longer. While Obliterators are S5, they have nothing special in close combat. So, they’re relying on great armor and an invulnerable to keep them alive in combat. It can work as a tarpit, but that’s all their combat ability is good for now I’m afraid.

In General

It’s sad to see the fall from grace this unit has had. Where once they were an auto-include in any list, you now have to consider them.

I’m also, despite what it may sound like, not one of those people who hates change for the sake of change. I can see the need to adjust Obliterators for 8th edition, and I completely understand that. However, I’d rather see them with a weapon profile you can choose, or predict than rely on dice rolls for.

Obliterators vs Havocs

Currently, I feel that Havocs are a better choice than Obliterators are. The big advantage Obliterators truly have is being able to deep strike. While deep striking is nice, especially in 8th, the unreliable firepower that Oblits have really pushes Havocs ahead.

Havocs can field lascannons and missile launchers, which are both amazing weapons at dealing with vehicles and monstrous creatures. You may pay a little more for a full squad of Havocs, but you will potentially be dealing out 24 wounds a turn, and also have 5-6 ablative wounds/bolter shots.

Iron Warriors Obliterator


Modeling is somethingthing I like about Obliterators, well Chaos Space Marines in general really. You have the luxury of doing whatever you want. Well, except buying those hideous Games Workshop models they make. Man are those things ugly.


Thor's Obliterator Unit
My Obliterator unit converted from Assault on Black Reach Terminators.

For Obliterator alternatives, a lot of people will use Chaos Terminators as a base model and add some green stuff. I chose to use loyalist Terminators and green stuff fleshy bits onto them. I’ve seen some amazing scratch-builds for them as well. If it looks like it has a 2+ save and a lot of shooty parts then you’ve nailed it.

If you aren’t into converting then Wargame Exclusive has some very nice looking alternatives. Also, Hitech Miniatures has some really awesome looking models for alternatives

Conclusion on Obliterators

Again, regrettably I feel Obliterators just are OK, but not great. I used to love this unit, and I do still love them in general, just not on the table. I’m sure I’ll give these guys a second chance at some point, just not right now.

Do you like Obliterators, or are you more of a fan of the armored support options instead?

Series Navigation

<< Chaos Spawn Review – Mutated Beyond ReasonChaos Space Marines Review – The Few, the Proud, the Fallen >>
  • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

    I love Oblits as well, just so useful. I like to use them with a comms relay (which brings reserves in sooner) and the deep striking Helbrute formation for target saturation. If Forgeworld is accepted where you play and you have the money DSing Blood Slaughterers would be even better than Helbrutes.

    Another use for Oblits is as babysitters for Typhus. Mr T is expensive, and hard to deliver, putting him in a Land Raider just multiplies that, but deepstriking him in is risky and Chaos Termies (especially Nurgle marked ones) are pricey, not fearless, and will die to Typhus’s AP2 Destroyer Hive power. I usually put him with a couple of Oblits and deep strike them, Oblits are tough enough to shrug off first turn fire, next turn split Typhus off to charge something and use his Destroyer Hive, or if its a tougher target charge in with the Oblits.

    I don’t play Chaos Daemons but if you do don’t forget that Instruments of Chaos work on Oblits so you can bring them in without a reserve roll, but sadly I don’t think the Icons work due to the wording about Daemonic Alignment (Oblits with MoN are not ‘Daemons of Nurgle’). Not worth taking just for this, but if you’ve taken an instrument to manipulate Warp Storm rolls its worth remembering.

    • I just started looking at the Helbrute formations seriously. I love Dreadnoughts of all types and the formations make them useful. So far I like the look of the Helcult. I also like the Mayhem pack but I tend to get skittish with deep striking; though they aren’t so expensive that it would ruin your day by losing one coming in.

      They do make a good bodyguard, though I rarely use them in that capacity just because of Slow and Purposeful (no running to gain ground).

      Yeah, the fact they aren’t daemons of whatever bones them there. I really wish CSM had access a means of preventing/reducing scatter like the icons of old. The Dimensional Key is nearly useless and just not worth it.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        I tried using the Dkey seriously, making a Tzeentch disc riding lord with that Crimson Slaughter armour that gives you a 2+ save, L Claw and Pfist. HIf he survived turn 1s shooting he was so fast he always got a turn two charge, but even so he wasn’t really worth his points, nothing else in the army could keep up with him so he always got killed! Plus he didn’t unlock anything useful as troops.

        I only used the Helcult once, but it was very good, fearless blons of Cultists are really useful and for once the Dread actually survived to do something because of the improved cover save.

        • That’s an issue with Chaos Marines at times; you have to go so far down a road to make something work that it’s not worth the investment.

          Helcult just makes sense for me since I almost always have Cultists anyway, so why not toss in a Helbrute and reap the rewards?

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            agreed. I bet they didn’t playtest the Dimensional Key even once or they’d have realised how useless it is. Even if you get a turn two charge most of your reserves will have come in by the time the assault phase rolls around!

            I’m certainly going to use the Helcult again, though deepstriking Dreads are fun for my in your face Khorne army, they aren’t really competitive, just too risky.

  • Man, they sure could use a new model from GW.
    The core troopies need a new boxset as well.

    • Agreed. Chaos could use some updates to the model line and need some nice multi-unit kits as well. You know how it is though, if you’re not the Imperium then you wait years and years, sometimes indefinitely, to get stuff.

      • As an agent of Chaos it is your duty to corrupt those nice new Imperial kits to better suit your needs!

        In a way I think the Dark Vengeance models highlight the shortcomings of the current Chaos kits. It’s not good when starter box models outshine most of the model range. If only they had more multipart plastic chaos models that looked that nice!

        • The Raptor/Warp Talon kit followed the aesthetic set by the Dark Vengeance set, same with the new Helbrute kit. It got me excited to see them roll out more kits with that baroque style but they have been taking their sweet ass time with it. So many Chaos players would gladly snatch up new kits in that style.

          • Updated multi-part cult troops could be very useful. Then you could mix bits from those kits with the standard CSM models to make champions and marked units, or just to dress them up a bit.

            At the least they could replace the “upgrade kits” with actual models…

  • The current Obliterator models are miles ahead of the original, for sure.
    They are brilliant multipurpose heavy choices, but planning is key. The lone obliterator option also serves really well as a “Termicide” option: deepstrike and blow something to molten ruins.
    As far a Typhus’ bodyguard there is no better ablative armour for the big T.
    Also, Mark of Nurgle! Instant death? What’s that?

    • It’s just that inability to run that’s a bit of a turn off with Oblits guarding Typhus. Granted, a good landing means tons of guns on target but you can’t spread out if you get a bad landing or are fearful of big nasty pie plates.

      • Slow and Purposeful has always been their down side. I generally employ them as mobile fire platforms taking best advantage of available fire corridors and as a fire magnet 2+/5++ and Mark of Nurgle takes some killing.
        As mentioned below, let Typhus run off and do his thing after the unit weathers a turn of fire: worst case scenario you may lose one or two of the Oblits.
        Getting them to land where you want is the hard bit …

  • Glad you updated this. Shame the rules aren’t great.

    • They were my favorite unit next to Spawn, so I’m very sad to see their decline. Ultimately, they aren’t useless, but there’s just better and cheaper options.

      • LazyGitWargaming

        Fleshmetal guns are Assault 4 as per the new Chaos Codex. I suspect a doubling of firepower might just change your opinion of them..

        • I totally missed the assault 4 change. I must have glanced it over assuming it was the same.

          Good call on the stratagem. I totally keep forgetting about that one.

          I guess I need to make some more updates.

  • I still think they rock, but they now need a melee babysitter of sorts. Abaddon fits the bill; make the Oblits members of the Black Legion, and the warmaster lets them reroll all failed hits (and boosts their leadership, which may help down the pipe). Deepstrike the entire group in and tear something up.
    Epidemius and a mark of nurgle also helps to bolster up their combat stats, since oblits are still daemons.
    Finally, my take is that you roll their gun profile and then choose a target, which adds some of their flexibility back.

    • Now that I read the entry again on the weapons, I feel you’re right about rolling first, then picking a target. That helps for sure, but of course it’s still random.

      I think it’s that Oblits are no longer the one-stop shop they once were that bothers me. Their shooting was amazing before. How could it not be when you picked your weapon each time? They could also tear stuff apart with power fists if the shooting didn’t kill it. We could make them Nurgle for T5, and they just walked around as little tanks, annihilating everything.

      If they removed the fists, but left them with the weapon options they had previously then I’d have coped better.

  • I’ve actually still found them very useful, since their upgrade in the Codex. The S and AP range from decent to great, and keeping a Command Point around to re-roll the Damage when going for a hard target can really kick up their threat range. Veterans of the Long War is another good Stratagem for them, either to mitigate not getting the S you needed or to just take them over the top and end up Wounding Knights on 2+. Native Deep Strike is always nice to have, too.

    Even if not going all the way to Abaddon, a Terminator Chaos Lord and/or Sorcerer dropping in with them for re-rolling 1s/Prescience can be very handy. Provides a guard against Assaults as well, which they do need now.

    • I’ve learned I need to play test them more ;)

      • Yeah, they’re definitely a different Unit to what they were before. I think they’re still a good one, tho.

        • I can handle different as long as they do something. Like I said, I’ve always loved the unit, so I guess I just looked at all the changes as negatives and didn’t try to see the positive.

  • Chaz Sexington

    MoT Oblits have become an Alpha Legion tournament staple when combined with the Changeling. -2 to Hit means that plasma, which is the Oblits’ weak spot, overheats on a 3 or less. Lists often include 9 Obliterators.

    • I’m softening up on them lately. They were still way better in the last codex, but they aren’t as bad as I thought they were.

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