Grimtech’s Carnival – a Fun, Fluffy 1,500 CSM List

I was complaining a bit the other day about my 40K gaming. I’m not a fan of complaining for the sake of complaining, so I wanted to work on a solution. I put together a list that I feel will be fun to play. With my attempts to remedy my issues, I want to work on establishing more solid fluff for my Chaos Space Marines, Disciples of Twilight. Some stuff is written down, but most is floating around incomplete in my mind. I feel like if I can get more of that fluff down, with more structure and approach, then I can move forward more with my list building. Yeah, probably sounds very backwards to the more competitive out there, but I very much doubt I have a strong competitive gamer following anyway.

Anyway, here’s the list I’m working on.

Disciples of Twilight (Chaos Space Marines) – 1,500pts


  • Grimtech (Warpsmith) – Bolt Pistol, Power Axe, Mark of Nurgle, Aura of Dark Glory, Blight Grenades, Melta Bombs


  • Gorgons (Terminators) x 5 – Assorted Power Weapons, Reaper Autocannon

Fast Attack

  • Heldrake – Baleflamer

Heavy Support

  • Ragefist (Defiler) – Battle Cannon, Reaper Autocannon, Twin-linked Heavy Flamer, Power Fists x 2, Dirge Caster
  • Obliterator – Mark of Khorne (I had 4pts left, why not?)

Lords of War

  • Chaos Knight Titan Errant – Heavy Stubber, Thermal Cannon, Foe-reaper Chainsword, Dirge Caster, Daemon Knight of Tzeentch


  • Helcult
    • Hellscream (Helbrute) – Multi-melta, Power Fist
    • Cultists x 20 – Autopistol, Close Combat Weapon, Flamer
    • Cultists x 10 – Autogun, Heavy Stubber

Yes, it’s an Unbound list, and the first one I’ve ever decided to run. When Unbound became a thing, my first thought was the cool ways you could run fun thematic lists, but I forgot about it. Well, in my attempts at a resurgence, I figured I’d take another look at it.

Now, how this is going to perform on the table is beyond me. It has a Knight, so it can’t entirely suck, right? My big thing, again, was to do something fluffy for my army. The Gorgons serve as a bodyguard/retinue for HQs in my army, so busting out Chaos Terminators is simply for that reason. I love the Heldrake and Defiler models, so they had to come out and play, plus being daemonic engines, they fit right in. There’s a lone Obliterator (I was floating points and lacked more Cultist models), to represent the Dark Mechanicum (they are all painted that way).

The biggest thing here (other than the Knight of course), is the Helcult formation. Rules-wise, the Helbrute gets Rage and any 1’s to-hit strike a friendly model in 6″ (CSM can never have a bonus without a damn drawback…). While the Helbrute lives, the Cultists are Fearless. When the Helbrute dies (and you know damn well it will), the Cultists get Zealot. Last, if Cultists obscure the Helbrute then the Helbrute gets a 3+ cover save, and for each cover save passed a Cultist dies.

What I really like about this formation is the concept of Cultists worshiping the Helbrute. The rule that gives the Cultists Fearless, or Zealot, is called Living Idol of Chaos. Where they take wounds for the Helbrute is Human Shields. Having Cultists of Chaos seeing a daemonic engine as an idol fits right in with a Warpsmith focused list. That’s the angle I see working with Grimtech’s fluff, that he pretty much only takes his pets (the daemonic engines), on the field, as well as those who worship his pets, which he allows for the benefit of those being worshiped.

I also want to start breathing life into my Knight, which is the big reason he’s in the list. The Knight needs a name, a demeanor (other than mad and killy), and putting him in a list with Grimtech, and playing a handful of games, will hopefully do that. That will in turn impact my approach with modeling and painting it, which I really want to finish (modeling), and start (painting).

There you have it, my attempt to do something fun, fluffy and enjoyable for myself in my next 40K game.

What do you think? A vain attempt, or a cool pursuit?

  • Really looking forward to seeing how if works out for you.

    • You and me both.

  • I’m not a player but I like armies stuff-based, it’s a great idea to have an olistic approach to the hobby! Only a question, if I remember well there were a pair of antithesis in Chaos, Khorne VS Slaanesh and Nurgle VS Tzeentch: is there any juicy fluffy reason to have a Nurgle HQ and a Tzeentch Knight or it is only a hobby choice (the great engine of my work ahaha)?
    Maybe I’m quite old school, and the rivalry between the couples of Gods does not exist yet and this is a dumb question!

    • You’re right in that Khorne hates Slaanesh, and Nurgle and Tzeentch. The way I view my marks, or daemonic alignments, is it’s a way to represent something the unit does well. So, Mark of Nurgle isn’t a blessing from Nurgle, but instead that my Warpsmith is tougher than a normal Marine on account of his bionics. Mark of Khorne just represents a unit that excels in close combat. So forth and so on.

  • When you’re not using it to cheese out, Unbound can be a hell of a lot of fun. I actually started my Daemonkin almost a year before that Dex came out, as an Unbound mix of CSM and CD, and it was a blast.

    The Helbrute Formations are also awesome. The Mayhem Pack is the one I run most often, but the Helcult is hilariously awesome, too. We actually completely forgot about the “hits friendlies on 1s” bit when my buddy was running it yesterday, but that would have just been maybe a couple of extra Culties gone from a Unit that was still at like 15 at the end of the Game.

    • Agreed. Unbound is really ideal for those wanting to create a fluffy army that can’t be done any other way. Of course, there’s the other side of the coin as well.

      I really like the Mayhem Pack as well. I thought about using it in this list, but then I saw the Helcult and the possibilities for fluff with Cultists following around the Helbrutes. I had forgotten about 1’s hitting friendlies too until re-reading for the list. Yeah, I’m sure it wasn’t game-breaking in your last game, forgetting about it.

  • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

    looks like an interesting list, and no dead weight, aside from the Defiler (you don’t want to count-as a Soul Grinder do you, they are much better!).

    • I suppose it is easy enough to count him as a Soulgrinder…

  • Unbound is fun, but it requires some alteration of mindset when playing our Maelstrom missions. No objective is safe, and none is stealable without massive application of force.

    As for theme, it would be neat to see you explore the connections to the Dark Mechanicum some more. How do you feel about Noise Marines? Their bizarre array of weaponry would provide some cool modeling opportunities in the form of power armored models with grafted weaponry, bionics, augmetics, etc.

    • Not being able to steal objectives, or having them stolen, will definitely be different. I don’t often see very many lists heavy on Objective Secured at XRG these days, so shouldn’t be a huge deal overall.

      That’s a really cool idea with Noise Marines. I actually really like them on paper, but the lack of models (instead it’s stupid expensive metal upgrade kits), is the reason I haven’t bothered with them. Creating something like you suggested would be fun.

      • Brennan Barni

        Have you considered third party resin casts for your noise marines? I’ve found some amazing stuff on Scibor and other similar websites, and I’m pretty sure they’re cheaper than the metal upgrade kits.

        • I can’t say I’ve looked around for Noise Marines stuff, but I do know there’s a lot of 3rd party stuff that looks great. Probably time to start hunting again for parts.

  • I’m with KOIR, if you’re going unbound I’d use the Defiler as a Soul Grinder. Maybe switch the Termies to a Termicide unit (3 Termies with combi-plasma deep striking in) to find the points?
    Speaking of Termies, how do they work for you? I’ve always found large units to be very meh.

    • Well, I have them at 5 as a bodyguard for Grimtech (Warpsmith). I suppose I could put him in with the Cultists. Not a bad idea actually, since the Cultists will be tailing the Helbrute anyway. I’ll have to think about that one a bit.

      Overall, I’ve found 5 Termies to be very bleh. Admittedly, I don’t have a great mix of power weapons in the unit. They’re setup is what you get in the box. I’d like to get more combi weapons, and another axe or two, for them. That being said, the one thing they do well is draw fire. They hardly ever kill anything worthwhile, but they take a fair amount of fire power from my opponents, and sometimes that’s a valuable thing to have.

  • Chaz Sexington

    I would recommend beefing up those units of Cultists considerably to get the most out of your Helcult bonuses. 35 MoS CCW Cultists with 3 flamers can do decent damage unless they run into massed small arms fire or Wyverns. If you’re using them as Dreadnought cover, I’d take more, because they’ll last one round of shooting in the numbers they currently are. If you want them to be holding backfield objectives you might as well go CAD.

    I would also recommend giving the Dreadnought some dakka instead of the powerfist, as our Dreads have 2 attacks less and cost the same as our Loyalist counterparts. 3+ cover does a lot for the survival of the Helcult dread which it’ll lose in CC.

    • I don’t own any more Cultists. I rarely use them, so I never bought more. I might have to change that :)

      I was thinking about that with the Helbrute too, going shooting, but then again, the CCW Cultists want to punch things. So, I feel like I’m wasting those guys if they are hanging back giving cover to a shooting Helbrute.

      • Chaz Sexington

        I know what you mean; I’ve opting for 30 autogun Cultists with 2-3 flamers/heavy stubbers. They can sit on objectives while covering the Dread.

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