Chaos Space Marines Review Part 4: Native Troops


I’m skipping ahead and doing this one rather than doing special HQs due to the screwup with that article and with a lot of arguing about the value of CSM’s troops in the new codex.

Let’s get this straight: CSM may not have the best troops out there, but they’re hardly bad. They have a number of unique options and are cheaper than any other MEQ in the game. Above and beyond that they have access to GEQ-type cheap troop squads for being objective-clingers without needing to give up their ally slot. Combined, these two give chaos plenty of different troop squads they can field, even ignoring the Cult troops (which we’ll talk about in the successor article to this one.)

What’s so good about CSM and Cultists, you ask? Aren’t they just worse than GH/DA Tacticals/Guardsmen/etc? Well, yes and no. You see, if you just set your CSM up as doofy Bolter guys who want to be do-everything units, yes, they are worse than the comparative Imperial options. Imperials get some really excellent prices on utility abilities (like Combat Squads, ATSKNF, etc) and Chaos just can’t match up to that standard. If you try to build your CSM units as super-generalists, you will always be worse than Imperials. Get that through your head.

On the other hand, as units dedicated to particular roles they function a lot better. The larger squad sizes, ability to get random buffs (via Boons), cheap base cost, customizeability of statline, etc, all go a long ways towards being able to set them to a particular task and exceed similar squads in that role. Chaos can’t lean on its troops as jacks-of-all-trades the way SW, GK, or BA can, but it can make them a perfectly functional foundation to other elements of its army.

Before we dive into CSM too deeply, though, let’s talk a little about Cultists. Cultists are essentially Guardsmen, but are one point cheaper and come with BP/CCW base as well as 6+ armor. They lack the options for heavy/special weapons (having only the Stubber and Flamer) and have to pay if they want to get a Lasgun. They also suffer from having essentially no abilities as well as the 10pt champion tax.

So they’re not gonna be a mainstay do-all troop like Infantry Squads are, that much is clear. What they have instead is better close combat ability- and more so if you Mark them- as well as cheapness and the access to HQs that provide Fearless. This essentially gives them two roles: one, sitting on a back objective and cowering, relying on weight of bodies and Going to Ground to ward off enemy fire; or two, pushing forward in a mob a la Orks/Tyranids in order to deliver a character into the enemy’s lines. The first plan is probably stronger, since it doesn’t involve walking into guns, but in cases where the other side outshoots you (like an actual Guard/Tau army) pushing a ton of mans forward and demanding they all be dealt with is something nice to have- remember, while they may not be great in a fight, numbers count for a lot (as long as you have Stubborn/Fearless in the unit.)

Like a lot of units, the strongest setup for Cultists is usually the simplest- no Marks, no extra guns, just a pile of bodies to sit somewhere. Since more often than not they are just hitting the dirt every turn, paying to give them extra weapons is often not really needed, although Flamers can be somewhat useful for free overwatch shots. Since you pay the champion tax on every squad, buying extra bodies (rather than going MSU) is generally the right choice; 15-20 works pretty well in most cases, depending on point levels. Less than 13 is not recommended, as you simply won’t have enough bodies to hold anything; more than 21 gets pretty awkward to move around fairly quickly.

It’s important not to underestimate the value of having both GEQ and MEQ troops available innately to the codex; yes, other books can do this by allying in whichever they are missing, but since this cuts out the option for taking something else to instead fill a non-troop gap. For example, CSM can bring Necrons along for S7 spam and transport flyers as well as having cheap backfield sitter units in large numbers. No other book can do this- Marines, Guard, etc, all have to essentially “give up” their ally in order to gain access to the complementary troop type- they certainly may get other stuff out of it, but the opportunity cost is still there. Chaos can dodge this cost by having them available innately, which is very handy.

Chaos Space Marines
These guys are the big one. As the core troop choice of the codex, CSM are where the book starts out at and usually finishes in terms of mainstay units that are gonna go out and Get Things Done. In that respect that are entirely useable, coming in fairly cheap and and with a very standard statline. They get one special/heavy per five (also standard) and can get squad sizes well above their Imperial counterparts, which is very relevant when trying to push models across the field into the enemy’s zone in order to steal an objective or get to punchin’; it also means that squad buffs (from a Sorc or Lord) can go a lot further.

They key to making CSM work is to avoid splurging too much on extras. Unlike Imperial books, you have a lot of options- it’s easy to get your dudes on par with Grey Knights for cost without even trying very hard and spending 300+ on a single squad is not a good plan. Efficiency is your virtue here- figure out what the unit wants to be doing and do it as best you can. Slaanesh and Khorne can both be very useful Marks, as Khorne complements one of your core strengths very well and Slaanesh lets you win fights against other Marines more consistently while taking fewer casualties. Both of them also have good Icons to go with them, adding charge reliability and further survivability respectively; however, not every squad even needs to take a Mark; shooting CSM especially or those with transports may just want to forgo it and keep themselves nice and cheap.

Nurgle is a reasonable choice, but realistically it only stops the lower end of anti-infantry fire; Autocannons, Missiles, etc, just don’t care about your toughness bump. (It doesn’t help that the Icon is complete garbage, either.) Tzeentch’s Mark just doesn’t really add anything to units without a natural invuln, so it can’t really be considered outside of gimmick “stand on the Skyshield” lists.

So, basically, you have to decide whether you want your unit to be shooty (Bolters) or choppy (BP+CCW) and then if you’re going Slaanesh (can work for either, but usually only for 10+ model units), Khorne (choppy only), or unmarked (again, works for either.) Buying the extra CCW is probably only something you do maybe for your special/heavy weapon bearers so that they don’t lose out if you’re doing that- remember that the Champ comes with the trifecta automatically, so there’s no need to pay extra for his.

Veterans of the Long War is worth considering in cases of melee-focused squads, since its benefits against a loyalist are fairly significant. However, this has to be weighed against the likelihood of actually making it to melee and the chances you’ll see Marines across the table from you. This will largely be a meta consideration- how common are MEQs in your area? Does your army otherwise struggle with them? What type are they? (Against vanilla SM you may not need the bonus, whereas against SW or GK it can be a deal-breaker.) The Leadership boost is also a nice bonus, though if you have an IC with them (as will often happen) it may not be needed at all.

Last but not least let’s talk about Fearless. Specifically, about the high cost you pay for Fearless on CSM (25pts and giving up other banner options) and the fact that, honestly speaking, you may not really need it. Fearless is a great ability and all, but if you are, say, a unit of Fauxzerkers (BP/CCW, MoK, Icon) you really should not be losing combat to most things- if you are, you have gotten into a fight with something you really shouldn’t have and something pretty unusual at that. If you really need it Hatred will help you by giving you better reliability, but really you should just live with what you have and call it good. Yes, it’d be awesome to be immune to Sweeping Advance, but you picked Chaos so you don’t get that, so get over it.

To Be Continued
I focused on the basic troops this time; we’ll go over Cult troops in the next article, but sadly for them, most of the Cult troops aren’t nearly as good as the choices we have here. Three of them are at least some degree of useable, but it essentially boils down to a matter of cost- CSM and Cultists are cheaper and thus leave more points available for the other slots in the codex, many of which contain some very strong options for hard-hitting units. Conserving points in the TR slot lets you take more of the fancy toys elsewhere, and for many books- CSM amongst them- this is just how you live.

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199 responses to Chaos Space Marines Review Part 4: Native Troops

Excellent article and pretty much what I've been trying to drill in the heads of various Chaos players who want their Chaos Codex to include an option or counter equivalent to all 6 or so Sphesh Marine books. They downplay how unreasonably good most of their non troop options are and want their troops that way too.

so you're saying that if we're ok with CSM being only good in one area instead of generally in all areas like loyalists (for the same points), they're not so bad? lol

CSM are not MEQ lacking ATSKNF, cultists are not GEQ lacking 5+ armor.

how do you figure any of them are cheap? with champion tax (which is even more of a disadvantage because of the champions of chaos rule), those units cost EXACTLY the same points as loyalist equivalents, but lacking vital special rules. they're just worse for the same pts.

full vanilla tac squad (90+5×16) + flamer (0) + ML(0) = csm squad (75 + 5×13) + flamer (5) + ml (15) + ATSKNF (IoV 25pts) + chapter tactics (?) + combat squads (?) = 185pts +?
dark angels tac squad (70) + sgt (10) = csm squad (75) + ATSKNF (IoV=25pts) + stubborn (?) + combat squads (?) = 100pts +?
grey hunters (15) = CSM (13) + xtra ccw (+2) + counterattack (MoK +2) + ATSKNF (IoV+25pts) = 17,5pts

Did you even read the article?

He clearly said that if you try to mimic the loadout of SM units, then CSM Marine Squads are going to be worse.

So why are you trying to make a 10-man CSM squad, with Flamer/ML, and Fearless, and using that as comparison? That's a good loadout for SM, and a bad loadout for CSM.

In all cases, you're picking the good troop squad from each loyalist Codex, and bending the CSM squad into inefficient shapes in order to try to compare them, without realizing the inherent unfairness.

Why don't we compare a 5-man SM squad to a 5-man CSM squad instead of 10? Is it because SM are really bad at 5-man squads?
Why add useless stuff to the 5-man CSM squad compared to DA? Just run them at 5 men for 75 pts, period. Give them VotLR if you want to make them equal the points exactly, and they are pretty equivalent… loss of Stubborn in return for +1 LD is pretty equal. If you lose combat by more than 1, it's worse, but for other LD checks it's better. Loss of Combat Squads for a 5-man squad? Completely irrelevant.
Grey Hunters: don't even bother. Grey Hunters get a package deal, but they're also forced into the package deal. If you just want bolters and bodies, CSM are better… if you want the full package, GH are better.

In all cases, I see that you're trying to take the CSM peg and pound it into a SM-type shape, and complaining that you're wasting points doing so. That's quite true, but the point of the article is exactly that this is not how CSM are best run.

If you are one of those players who want to run units HIS WAY, that's fine. Outfit your CSM however you want them to be, and that is possible given all of their options. But then, don't complain that you get all of the options but not with all of the efficiences of other Codices that may not have all of those options. For example, GH have no option to go cheap, SM have no option to take a special at 5 men, etc.

If you are instead a player who is focused on efficiency in point usage, that's also fine. But then outfit the CSM based on their best usage, not based on how you would like them to be run, or on how they would match up to some SM chapter. In all Codices, mimicking another Codex's strength is a sure way to be less efficient than is possible.

5 man SM tac squad (90) vs 5 man CSM suqad (75) : lacks ATSKNF, equivalent icon of vengeance (fearless, snipable, 25pts) = 90 vs 100pts for the same thing.

other way round: compare the above listed "good" ways to run CSM
Fauxzerkers: 15 man CSM (75+10×13), MoK (+2), VotlW (+1), PW (15), MB (5), 2x melta (10) = 290pts
14 blood claws (210), 2x melta (5), wolf guard (18) + PW (10), MB (5) = 253pts
–>hatred, +1WS/BS/LD vs. ATSKNF and 37pts.

get more for less. quod erat demonstrandum.

really, I don't get the argument that CSM must not be compared to anything space wolf because those are better…so maybe they can, and CSM are just worse?

Maybe you shouldn't compare units, but rather army lists? Why, it's almost like Chaos Space Marines were meant to fulfil a certain niche in Codex: Chaos Space Marines and not a niche in Codex: Space Wolves. Radical design choice.

Are you serious?
Again, why are you taking bad ideas and comparing them just so that you have the same things?

1: 5-man CSM can take a special, 5-man SM cannot. Who would bother buying a 25-pt icon for a 5-man squad (that's usually in a Rhino)? If you do take a 5-man CSM squad, you are sure as all hell NOT going to run it without a special weapon but with an Icon, just so that it can match up more equivalently to the abilities of a SM squad. Again, you are trying to mimic a squad, and by doing so, introducing inefficiencies.
A 5-man SM squad, barebones, for camping an objective. But a 5-man CSM squad does it better since they can run a Plasma Gun and do some damage. Of course they will be different points, but they also work differently.

2: Are you seriously comparing the WS3/BS3 Blood Claws with MoK CSM? Who will run a 15-man squad of MoK CSM and not put in the Chaos Lord into there so they're Fearless? Again, a case of taking a decent build for Blood Claws and trying to fit CSM to match it, which is not a decent build for CSM. I'm personally not putting up a 300 pt unit and NOT putting in a Lord to give it Fearless. If I don't have the Lord because he's going elsewhere, then the unit is not going up to 15 where I may lose more if they flee.

You get more for less, in your opinion because, as I've told you, you're building efficient SM units and comparing them to inefficient builds for CSM. Add in a Wolf Lord to the Blood Claws and a Khorne Lord to the CSM, and that ATSKNF issue disappears.

I'm glad that someone gets it, at least.

CSM isn't the SM codex. It's not SW. It's not DA. It's not BT. If you try and just clone loyalist units, your army will be shitty.

silly you. first you don't get how the same abilites cost different points in different armies, now you don't get how I just compared rebuild one of puppy's honorable CSM mentions with space wolves for less points with better performance 😉

yeah let's not compare anything, points values are just too complex and relative – that's why they don't use them anymore in the WD, right?

let's play instead. my warlord titan against your killteam?

Point matter, but comparing identical builds, or trying to make identical builds, is going to be inherently unfair to one side or another.

You can say "CSM Troops are not good enough for their points". You can argue that, and while I may agree or disagree, I wouldn't say that it's a foolish argument. Maybe right, and maybe wrong.

But what you're saying is that equivalent squads from CSM are not good enough compared to equivalent squads from other MEQ Codices, and that IS foolish. It is foolish for several reasons:

1: You pay for versatility. Look at Oblits… great unit, but because of their versatility. Their firepower/durability for the points is not good in any firemode, but having multiple fire options makes them good. So, similarly, what if CSM could mimic every single other MEQ squad, but at 5-10% loss in efficiency. You would point out that in every case they are worse, and say that this means that they are bad, while ignoring that BA trying to mimic GH may suffer even worse loss of efficiency. Versatility has to be paid for, and that means that the more versatile a unit is, the less efficient it is in any particular comparison.

2: Sometimes you cannot compare two loadouts simply because each Codex gets a benefit in a different type. A SM squad sucks at 5 men because they cannot take anything but bolters plus the Sarge weapons. But at 10 men, they get free weapons. And get to Combat Squad. But even when they do, they can't take 2x Special. A CSM squad does better at 5 men, worse at 10 overall, but better at taking double specials… whichever number and option you pick, SOMEONE is not going to show at full efficiency. That's why looking at points should be done in a general "this unit is overpriced" or "this unit is very good for the points", rather than looking at the same build from different Codices.

That's where you're going wrong. Just the fact that you're telling me that you compared a rebuild of Puppy's squads directly to an exact mimic of another squad is inherently flawed. Ignoring that I don't consider that build a great built for CSM. Or that I actually think that the CSM are way better than the Blood Claws with their WS/BS 3. Or that a large squad of CSM would have the Lord in it and use the Banner of Wrath. Or that… who really takes Blood Claws? I mean, ignoring all that…. it's still a flawed mechanism of comparison.

Stick to general arguments about points and that CSM may or may not be good enough for the points, and you can have reasonable arguments. Build different squads from different Codices and say "this is better for the points", fine. But when you try to build the same squad from different Codices, you're using a flawed methodology.

what you don't get is that for 1pt of CSM, you approximately get 1,15 points in other codices – nothing but that show all of the examples given. the builds are equivalent just to extrapolate what a certain special ability is worth in points. CSM (and cultists) are less point-efficient, regardless of build.
the only flawed concept here is paying for something you don't get.

btw oblits (70pts):
= CSM Terminator (31) x1,5 (2 wounds) + PF (7) + Lascannon (20) >70
ergo: they don't pay for versatility. that's why they're good.

wtf is this?

where do you get a 1.5 multiplyer for 2 wounds?
where do you get price for a lascannon on terminators?

Just. Stop. Now.

p.s.: I don't like to pay points for options I choose not to take. yeah 5 CSM can take a PG. 5 SM can take a razorback or be deployed via droppod. You could have had an argument, but you didn't.

Perhaps you should have said "I don't like to pay points for options I choose not to USE". That's the real test. But by that token, GK are shit because by definition you won't be using half of their abilities half the time (if they're 24" away shooting those force halberds are doing jack). Which brings us back to the argument about the Oblits, which pay for having the OPTION to do something.

Whether you want to (be able to) USE that option, ever, is up to you. If you decide that such felxibility is not for you, and that more focused units are more your thing, that's perfectly reasonable. But it's not in itself an argument against flexibility.

Yeah, mistype there. I guess I'm used to thinking of T3/6+ guys in Fearless hordes as having Bolt Pistols. 😛

I think this article is a little weak compared to your previous CSM review articles (which I loved) and I think it's due to the subject. It's tough to talk about Cultists and basic CSM and say anything other than "they're ok"

I think your analysis of cultists is spot on. The cheap 20 man squad (I like to add double stubbers for some ranged threat) is the best objective camper in the book and bigger squads can work as a Lord delivery service, giving fearless bodies and some extra weak attacks, or a Sorceror meatshield. However, once you add allies, they start to lose some luster. With Necrons, both squads remains useful since you’re probably using your Necrons for air support. If you’re bringing Orks, that attacking squad is just worse than a Boyz squad, and you really need to think long and hard before you bring it. If you’re brining IG, well now both squads look weak. Infantry squads can camp with an actual ranged weapon for minimal extra cost and I don’t think I need to explain the benefits of attacking blob squads (in summary, they’re better than cultists). In summary, I think Cultists have a few uses in a pure CSM army or with Necron allies and can be your campers with Orks, but are not a top tier unit and bring no competitive advantage if you have IG allies.

Now CSM, my favorite unit in all of 40k. Another wasted opportunity by GW. I’m not sure why it’s so hard to make this unit work. They could have just copy/pasted Grey Hunters, made Aspiring Champs/Chosen a WG style unit, added some sort of unique sweep/morale protection and had happy CSM players. Or 1 heavy/2 specials per 5. Or 3 specials/2 heavy per 10. Something unique besides slightly cheaper tacticals that know fear. I tried really hard to use this unit in my competitive lists, but I find it very difficult. As you say, if you try to make them generalists they become too expensive. With no heavy until 10 guys and no combat squads, sitting them back is a terrible idea. Once you try to specialize, they rapidly become inferior to Cult units. Want a shooty unit? PM get an extra special, t5 and FNP for not a lot more cost. NM get a heavy per 5 and a ton of anti-infantry shots. Want an assault unit? Berserkers are much better in CC. NM get an awesome assault special weapon. Both are fearless. When you consider that Chaos Lords are pretty good and Marks are generally worth it, there’s just not a lot of reason to bring the basic guys. There are a few caveats IMO. You have a Nurgle Lord and you want a CC unit and aren’t bringing Ork or IG allies. Now some MoK CSM add value, but are they more efficient than bring allied CC units? I don’t think so. One spot I can use actual “competitive” use is with a Khorne Lord, adding 1 or 2 plasma CSM squads might make sense, although bringing allied IG plasma squads is probably better. The other area I can see them maybe working is in an MSU list, but I’m not sure MSU can be top-end competitive and the extra 50 points or so per squad to make them PM with double special seems like an easy decision.

Well, that’s all I have. I appreciate your efforts to “maximize” some weaker units. The new book is much better than the old one and can be very competitive, but it seems like competitive players who love the Black Legion, Alpha Legion, Night Lords, Iron Warriors and Word Bearers will have to wait another edition to run competitive and themed lists.

I dunno Puppy, I find this article… weird. It's like you say a lot of things without saying anything. Maybe it's due to the fact that you try so hard to not only to convince others, but mostly yourself, that CSM aren't just kinda crappy.

I mean… Yes, they are different when you kit them out in a way that other Marines can't. But you gotta ask yourself: Is it actually good? Do I need this? Why do I want combat orïentated marines, who need a lord to babysit, on foot? I don't want MoS CSM who only work well when facing a certain oppenent on a certain board under the light of a full moon on the 27st of january.

Marines áre generalists. Even with MoK or MoS. It doesn't turn them into Assault beasts, they're still hideous at it, mostly because of how 6th close combat works. I want expensive generalists (they're still expensive, stop acting like they're not) to not have leadership problems, if only by the virtue of other Marines not having the same problems. Stop acting like Chaos are so different that you can't just compare their troops, each marine army has their own toys, but they also share the same core: Marines as troops. CSM are flawed by virtue of being fucked in the morale department.

Yes when everything works out fine you arrive in combat with 8 MoS marines and beat a 10 man Tactical squad. But it doesn't always work out fine and then CSM don't have ATSKNF to fall back on. Sometimes you arrive with 5 man, lose combat with 1, fail your Ld and get run down. It fucking sucks and will cost you games.

Your advise to gw then is to remove csm from the game since they are just shitty tactical marines with no reframing features? While we’re at it, why not take tyranids / sob / orks / (d)eldar and toss them since they are not marines and need …. Tactics to make them not be merely average? Kudos to you sir!

I play Chaos, I find them one of the strongest armies out there and I like the codex.

So fuck off with your simplistic conclusion as to why I don't like CSM. If you got something to say, reply to my actual points instead of putting out an easy one-liner.

There's no need to reply to your "points" when they amount to you saying nothing more than "I want ATSKNF because other marines have it", ignoring the fact that other armies have operated fine without ATSKNF for years, and, more importantly, when you start telling people to "fuck off" or "pull their head out of their ass" because they have a different opinion.

You still avoid all points I made, but I didn't expect any better, so no, you don't deserve more than a "fuck off".

I'd prefer them to remove ATSKNF, to be honest. It's a horrible rule. Yes, the Marines are really disciplined.

So are Eldar, Necrons, Tau…even some Dark Eldar and Orcs.

I'd like a morale system that means bugger-all, to be honest. Something that isn't binary on-off and isn't carefully couched in irrelevance most of the time because people cry when their little mens run away.

Mmm. Failing that, though, as I say, I'd really like it if the favoured children weren't just immune to it.

Fearless has huge costs (and can be removed). And They….just doesn't, and can't be.

I said that nowhere, but glad to see you agree and find them crappy too 🙂

It's actually funny that you bring up those other armies, it helps to reïnforce my point with a bit of imagination: Nids and Orks (if maybe just as allies) are okay and hey, look, they have acces to hordes of cheap fearless troops!
Oh hey look! Omg! Dark Eldar and Eldar suck balls and sisters actually suffer form not having ATSKNF too… Maybe… just maybe I have a point and you should get your head out of your ass? Maybe?

… your point is that we should remove leadership entirely from the game then? Since what you're saying is that all non-imperial marine armies (who aren't innately fearless) are not worth playing because they do not have ATSKNF. Unfortunately that "weakness" is part of what makes C:CSM unique & interesting when compared to other marine armies. KNOWING that you CAN be swept by losing combat by a measily kill means that you need to play your army differently. You need to be more aware of likely outcomes & have plans to mitigate undesirable events. This is strategy / tactics.

The books MUST be different because, frankly, playing a dozen games aganist a dozen different loyalist armies is boring enough. If EVERYBODY played space wolves (or whatever the flavour of the week is… I like chaos) and EVERY game was just SW v SW the game would die. Variety is good. A marine army lacking ATSKNF because it is part of what defines them is good.

this is not an argument anyone is going to "win". You are entrenched in your position & I am entrenched in mine. I do not agree or respect your opinion because I believe you are asking for even further simplification & generalization in the game; you don't agree with or respect my opinion because you feel I'm apologizing for one of GW's many "mistakes". That's fine, we don't have to agree, we don't have to play the same army – thats why GW has made several different ones.

You assume so many things, it's like your mind is taking a walk with you haha. Oh well.

No, I'm fine with units having Leadership issues. I'm even fine with Chaos Space Marine having these leadership issues, but not with their current cost/current cost of their options. MoK for 1 point each and a the Khorne Banner for 10 points? Now we're talking, 160 points for 10 marines with 4 attacks on the charge and 2 specials ís different and ís useable, just as an example.

So yeah, keep writing walls of text with assumptions and taking my words out of context, couldn't care less.

Oh and I don't have to win arguments. I discuss things so people can benefit from my knowledge, while I sometimes gain aditional knowledge. My 'opinions' aren't even all the time necessarily how I really feel about things, all for the greater good ya know.

Much is made of larger squad sizes. However in larger squads you are not in a Rhino. Did foot builds become viable again when I wasn't looking?

Not that I can figure out. I've tried looking at SoB trops as a 20 women unit, but with no discount for 10+ models, no more special/heavy weapons, and still able to be swept in assault it just doesn't seem like it would work out at all. CSM troops seem to be at about the same place, but at least they have some options to buy and other troop choices.

20 Fearless Marines comes to 285pts, which isn't too bad a price tag for avoiding the sweep problem, but at the end of the day *they're still just guys with bolters*. If it was 1-per-5 specials instead of capped at 2-per-unit then you might have a case for a quad plasma bunker conga-line between two objectives, but as it is… meh.

Hybrid = combination of mechanised and non-mechanised forces. In the CSM codex, if you don't mechanise your Troops, there's no element of mech at all, because your other viable options (Havocs, Oblits, Bikes, Spawn et al) cannot be placed in transports. You're just a load of guys with toughness values instead of vehicles plus the Heldrake i.e. A foot army. Unless you're Daemons then I still have yet to see that pulled off well.

You mechanise SOME Troops, and you leave a big squad or two on foot. Main reason being that if you take a Lord, he gives one squad Fearless, so it's a waste to add him to a MSU squad in a Rhino. But a large squad on foot that's not with a Lord is succeptible to being Swept, unless it's a Cult unit. So for normal CSM, you mix some Troops in Rhinos for fast movement, one big blob of Marines for a lot of CC attacks with a Lord in there, and some Cultists in the back to hold objectives. That's the hybrid part, mixing CSM that are in Rhinos with a squad that's not in a Rhino.

But again, that's not hybrid – it's a foot list with the odd Rhino. 1-2 Rhinos on a field otherwise bare of armour, and consequently they have the life expectancy of a hedgehog/moth mutant hybrid that lives next to a 6-lane motorway. "Hybrid" in my mind ( I suppose it's a subjective term) consists of two mutually supportive halves to your army; one made up of infantry and the other made up of vehicles, such as Predator spam with ASM support in BA, or Land Raider plus Rhino escorts with Dev firebase in Vanilla, or Footdar with Walker and Serpent support.

Your 10 man squads in Rhinos are like (not identical to, but similar enough in form and function) worse Tacticals if you leave them with bolters, worse Grey Hunters if you buy them the CCW, and worse ASM on foot if you swap the bolter out. And who's scared of Tacticals, ASM on foot or overpriced GH that can be swept? No-one.

AP says "don't generalize, specialize". Fair enough. What are the specializations? Shooting, Melee, and holding objectives.

To specialize in shooting, you need to buy a special weapon and either another special or a heavy (10 models required). You already come with bolters and can't upgrade to anything else. None of the Marks are very useful except Nurgle. If you think it's important, you can buy a Rhino and/or Ld upgrades. That's about the limit of your potential shooting specialization. Guess who else can take a special, a heavy, and a Rhino, and come with Ld upgrades as standard? Tac Marines.

To specialize in combat, you need to swap your bolter for a CCW, and either take a Rhino to get close to the enemy or a large squad size to compensate for casualties. You may as well take two specials because they're nice bang-for-buck. You can pay extra points for melee related abilities, such as +1 Init, Rerolling charges, FnP or FC. You also need to pay for your Ld upgrades, because they're more important. You know who else has CCWs, 2 specials, and FnP/FC while rerolling charges? Blood Angel ASMs.

To hold objectives, you need either bodies, greater survivability, or cheapness. But here you lose out even to your own codex. Noise Marines are Fearless and come with better guns. Plague Marines have T5 and FnP and Fearless and 2 specials in 5 men. If you just want bodies, Cultists have you covered and are cheaper.

Even when specialized as much as possible, CSM are worse than any other comparable MEQ unit. Flat. Are melee-specialized CSM better than Tac squads in melee? Yes. Are shooting specialized CSM better at shooting than ASM? Yes. But if you're assaulting with Tacs or shooting with ASMs, you're doing it wrong, never mind the fact that >neither of those units were shining beacons of competitiveness anyway<.

The fact is, if you want to play a Chaos Space Marine army that is, y'know, made up of normal Chaos Space Marines, there is no competitive reason to use the codex, as opposed to just rocking it Pre-Heresy style with the SW, BA or Vanilla dex representing your Legion.

"You know who else has CCWs, 2 specials, and FnP/FC while rerolling charges? Blood Angel ASMs."

Only when they're backed up by a 75-point unit from the Elites section.

10x Double Melta ASM w/ Priest = 285pts

10x CSM w/ Double Melta, CCWs, Rhino, MoS and Banner = 255pts. Alternatively you can footslog by going over 10 men in size at 16pts per model.

Note, this is not me "copying" imperials, this is me following the advice to specialize. I chose to go Slaanesh instead of Khorne, because the two are fairly comparable when it comes to CC ability.

ASM are not "OMG amazing". They're… playable. Nothing special. Yet for 30pts more they get an extra man (with 2A base and WS5 no less), Jump Packs instead of a Rhino (universally better for an assault based unit), ATSKNF making them immune to sweeps (important for a melee focused unit), Combat Tactics for added flexibility, a 1-in-6 chance to be Fearless and Descent of Angels, allowing them to dispense with slogging across the field, instead dropping with minimum scatter very reliably on turn 2, giving you a guaranteed alpha strike with your Melta. I'd say all that is worth 30pts.

So even CSM specialized pretty much as much as possible into being good at CC, are STILL worse than a more flexible unit that ISN'T particularly good already.

Normal CSM are just inefficient. Simple as.

… every unit can't be LOLOMGAMAZING. In fact NO unit SHOULD be. LOLOMGAMAZING units like vendetta's, veterans, gh, lf, purifiers have done so much damage to this game that it still may be unfixable.

ALL Units should be averag & selected based on preference for aesthetics & player-style, NOT because "OMG you took unit X when unit Y can clearly kill 0.25 more rhinos over 5 turns for the same price? NOOB!"

So you agree with me that CSM kitted for combat should be equal in performance to ASM – who are "average"?


But you're still trying to copy Imperials, because that unit makes no particular sense otherwise. That's a perfectly reasonable counter-assault objective holder; with I5 and FNP that squad would make a mess out of the ASM if they drop in, particularly since the ASM won't get the charge, and therefore their Hammer of Wrath attacks. Drop the Rhino, and you can pack a couple more bodies in there, to make up for whatever they'll lose if the ASM turn those meltas on them first.

If you want an assault unit that goes out, like the ASM, what you need is more bodies, no Rhino, and an HQ choice that can give them fearless. With bikers, Obliterators, Havocs, a Helldrake or two and a couple Rhino squads running around, the enemy shouldn't have enough firepower to deal with all those threats, meaning whatever survives (and something most certainly should, unless they're ignoring a great many other threats) will cause a great deal of trouble once it reaches the enemy's lines. And once they get there, and find a nice enemy objective to camp on, removing them will be a great deal more difficult than removing the ASM, who can break and will flee 3D6" if they do, whereas as long as there's a lord and a single CSM hanging around they're still claiming, and if there's just the lord it's still contesting.

I said that if you wanted you could swap the Rhino for more bodies (you can get 2 more men for the same points). Adding HQ units is a wash because of the choices available, and we're not talking about that FOC slot, and EVERY unit has to work in conjunction with the rest of the army, so talking about what else the Chaos or BA player may or may not have on the table is rather pointless.

"Even when specialized as much as possible, CSM are worse than any other comparable MEQ unit. Flat. Are melee-specialized CSM better than Tac squads in melee? Yes. Are shooting specialized CSM better at shooting than ASM? Yes."

Are they? Is a shooty CSM squad, especially a 5-man MSU squad, worse than a shooty Tac squad? You get the same bodies/bolters/objective holding for less, plus the ability to run a special. You do have morale issues… but that's not a major issue against shooting, and against Assault you're likely going to get crushed whether you're Tacs or CSM. Might be better to fold and flee (and even get wiped), to prevent the Assault unit from hiding in CC during your turn. Better or worse, they seem pretty balanced to me.

ASM and assault… for 13 points a body, I think that CSM are quite solid in assault. Not great, but as you say, ASM are hardly great either. It's more of an issue with Asssault in the rules than with the unit. Looking at CSM in an assault configuration, whether with the MoK, Banner of Wrath, or neither, they're fine for Assault troops. That Assault is not a great choice for Troop squads as a specialization isn't a reason to blame the unit… Berzerkers are a good choice as Assault units and they also suffer from the same "shoot with Troops, assault with Elites/Fast" issue.

> Is a shooty CSM squad, especially a 5-man MSU squad, worse than a shooty Tac squad? You get the same bodies/bolters/objective holding for less, plus the ability to run a special.

Unless you're only running a single copy of that squad, a Combat Squadding Tac unit is better because they auto-rally and behave normally the turn they do (in fact they move 9" instead of 6"). You also gain the option to voluntarily flee, which as Kirby says, is a very useful ability. And the second squad has a Heavy instead of a second special.

If you are only running a single copy, a better comparison might be to sniper scouts. Sniper Rifles instead of Bolters, a Missile Launcher instead of a Special, Infiltrate, Scout, possibly Stealth, and still with all the Morale benefits. Downside is WS/BS3 and a 4 plus in the open. Mind you, those downsides help you fold faster in assault, allowing you to shoot the enemy in your turn, which is one of the apparent advantages of CSM that you mentioned.

And blaming the rules for Assault for making CSM bad at assault doesn't make any sense. If assault is bad, then all assault units took a hit in value and became commensurately worse. If melee is an ineffective loadout, then it's ineffective. That means that CSM tooled for combat are ineffective and therefore a bad unit. Saying "CSM tooled for combat would be fine if the rules for assault were better" is a personal fantasy, not an evaluation of the unit in the real world.

I wouldn't say that FOOT builds are that much better, but being out of a metal box is no longer a major handicap. Mixed builds are a lot better, and while I think that movable terrain that blocks line of sight for 35 points is a good deal even if you're not going to be in it, it's much more reasonable now to run a lot of models on foot and consider it a solid list.

If you're going to get a large squad of CSM, perhaps with a Lord to make them Fearless…. you want them out of a Rhino so that you get the benefit of all of their bolters against all of the infantry that your opponent is likely to field. Go ahead and buy a Rhino anyhow, to protect them from at least some of the opponent's firepower or to give them moving cover, but you no longer gain such a huge defensive advantage from being in one, that it's hard to imagine you'd ever be okay with being on foot.

Before the FAQ, I could get behind this. Now, your best Troop is fairly obvious: 5 Noise Marines with a Blastmaster for 125 points.

Now? A resounding meh.

Cultists exist for 2 purposes. 10 guys in t-shirts reserving then hiding on an objective or ablative wounds for your HQ of choice. They’re good for those roles, so I guess that makes them the better Troop by default. You don’t have to spend too much and they’re a good escort for your now-mandatory Slaanesh Lord.

CSM are average at best. They’ve got a ton of options, but everything adds up wrong when their base price is too high. They were actually cheaper in the last Codex, 15 points for bolter/pistol/ccw and Ld9 compared to 16 now (with Hatred). Even the heavies and specials cost full price. Fearless isn’t happening unless you shell out for a snipable banner, stick on of your HQs in there or pick up Fabius (probably one of the better ways to use CSM). Your champ is practically DOA, committed to throwing himself onto the nearest character’s sword as soon as possible.

They’re set up to be a midrange, combat oriented Troop and don’t perform well in the role. As a midrange unit they pay too much for options and bolterspam is just lolbad. As an assault unit they lack for any Ld mitigation, waste their built-in character and have no means of delivery besides T3-at-best Rhinos or slogging it. Unfortunately, they’re not cheap enough to do either.

Overall, an astoundingly average unit. Compared to Cultists, Plague Marines and now Noise Marines you have very little reason to bring them along. Another wonderful example of the embarassingly poor internal balance in this shitpile of a Codex.

Some units have to be average. This isn't Lake Woebegone 40,000 where all the psykers are strong, all the tanks are good looking, and all the Troops are above average. We're two codices into the new edition, let's reserve some perspective and see where the unit ends up in two or three years.

A Codex: Space Marines (5th Edition) Tactical Squad looked very different in October 2008 than it did in May 2012… the codex was rewritten but the environment changed around it over 5th's lifespan. It seems silly — albeit quite in character — for the WH40k fanbase to bemoan the state of one unit a few weeks into its life.

Unless 6th edition somehow shifts so that Ld tests are no longer an issue, or they FAQ chaos rhinos to hold 25 dudes (because chaos) the core weaknesses really aren't going to change. The problem is you have a MEQ unit that, while slightly cheaper before you buy anything, has to pay a premium for anything shiny and will run off the board/get swept. The Chaos dex exists in a world of efficient torrent firepower where troops are needed to do a fair amount of the lifting in lists and they just don't hold up by comparison.

I just feel like people are drastically overstating the whole Sweeping Advance thing. Yes, it will sometimes happen to you and it will suck. You will wish you were immune to it. It would be nice if you were.

But does it really happen all that often? Are your CSM getting into and losing tons of fights and then also being beat on the Initiative test? I just don't see it that much. You are better than most generic units in combat and you have access to both Fearless (via a Lord or Telep Sorcerer) and many effective melee upgrades, not to mention naturally good Leadership. I just don't see it being the constant and horrific problem that it's often portrayed as.

Absolutely, for the amount of time and attention given to the issue of CSMs lack of ATSKNF, a sweeping advance doesn't happen half as often as is made out.

"The problem is you have a MEQ unit that, while slightly cheaper before you buy anything, has to pay a premium for anything shiny and will run off the board/get swept."

'Cheaper' and 'premium' are the relevant issues here. You're comparing it to a bunch of 4th and 5th Edition codices and one other 6th Edition codex where the basic troops are intended to be some of the best generalists in the game.

To put it in persepective, look how "weak" Warhammer Armies: Orcs & Goblins (8th) and Tomb Kings (8th) looked when those were the only two available for that edition… Now with the playing field a lot more even, the designs of those books shines through.

Perhaps C:CSM (6th) will turn out to be crap — although I doubt it — but its a little early to do the sackcloth and ashes routine.

It's not just Sweeping Advance, either, it's all LD tests. Apparently Chaos Marines are just breaking and running all over the place, and then they keep running, even though it's easier to regroup now even after massive casualties. You'd think they'd switched values with a Tau Firewarrior or something, the way people go on about how utterly unreliably non-ATSKNF/non-Fearless CSM are…

Uh… CSM have the same Leadership value as all other generic Marines (and can get one better via VotLW.) ATSKNF is only relevant for Sweeping Advance immunity and auto-regrouping; it doesn't help you at all on the actual test itself.

Also, don't pretend they're anywhere near as shitty as Tau for Ld. Ld9 is worlds better than Ld7.

Yes, abusepuppy, that was in fact my point. CSM have perfectly reasonable LD values, and yet there seems to be no end to the number of people complaining, not just that they're constantly breaking, but that without ATSKNF they're out of the game, staying broken and fleeing from the table, or getting Swept and annihilated in combat. It's an exaggeration both of how common Sweeping Advance is against Marines (not particularly) and how regularly CSM fail their LD tests in the first place (not often).

I think the big issue is that absolutely reliable is better than remotely unreliable.

If you're used to Fearless, taking Morale checks at all feels like a dangerous gamble, and the competitive player seldom gambles. Competitiveness is about reliability, and in the reliability stakes, not having to take Ld tests at all trumps being good at passing them.

If I were building a list with Chaos as the primary detachment, I would note that the units parachuted in from Elites all offer something that's better than Chaos Space Marines (albeit more specialised) and more reliable at not running away. If competition was my primary goal, I'd base the list around them.

If that's not an option (because I'm not taking a Lord, because Chaos aren't my primary detachment, because I'm considering factors other than competitive reliability) then I start to consider the Chaos Space Marine; fairly reliable 3+ scoring bodies which come in specialised 5-man squads (matched combi-weapon and special weapon, possibly unmarked although maybe Khorne for a melee surprise, probably Veterans because they will be testing at some point) or chunkier 10-man squads (matched special weapons, but they'd probably get a Mark and Icon and Champion kit that afforded a little duality; Slaanesh seems like the plum pick for this role, 'cause I5 and Feel No Pain's quite nifty for a dual-purpose Troop slot).

They're not Best in Slot, but if they were we'd all be whinging about how unappealing the Cult Marines are. There's an awkwardness in the design there; the basic Chaos Space Marine is the instinctive bread and butter of the book (he's on the cover and everything!) but he's less obviously Chaos-y than the Cult Marines and I guess they want obviously Chaos-y armies to be attractive choices – hence Cult Marines in Troop slots and the option of Cultists for the Undivided folks. For what it's worth, my actual Iron Warriors are mostly going to be Chosen or Havocs guiding a Cultist core; I doubt I'll build more than ten ordinary CSM.

Chumby's right. It is poor internal balance – what I'm saying is I can sort of see a reason for hat.

the points you send on ignoring it are points missing in effectivity elsewhere. But why should I pay points for something other get for free?
why do you like to have 3+ armor? yeah sometimes you get hit and then it will suck, and you will wish you had it, but sure you can make due with cover saves while still paying for a marine?

But you aren't paying full price, that's the point. 13pts != 14/15/16pts. You can argue whether its "worth" it or not, but you ARE getting a discount for it.

that is not a discount. a discount is paying LESS for the SAME value.
13pts do NOT get you the same value. look at the comparisons above.
you actually pay MORE for the same value (buying back the stripped specials).
even for the setups you recommended other codices pay less points.
paying a bit less for a lot less value is the same as paying more for the same.
that is called "usury" (or "overpriced"), not "discount".

Honestly, I think it's refreshing to see an army at all that might like close combat (they can do the bolter thing or the melee thing) and also can theoretically be swept. Practically every close combat army ever has some kind of immunity to being swept, depending on circumstances (Marines have ATSKNF, Tyranids, Deldar and Orks have ways to be Fearless etc), so it really only exists to punish shooters for not wiping the enemy out quickly enough.

That said, because of the penalties for losing close combat, everyone has high Leadership which means the 50% casualties and pinning rules hardly have a reason to be printed, and any "Resolve this attack against their Ld" weapon that isn't S 10 is a joke that would generally work better just hitting at S 3 or 4 against Toughness.

Moving the game to have more emphasis on the basic rules and basic rank-and-file was a big part of WHFB 8th Editions design philosophy and the army books for it, to date, have mostly stuck to that theme. It it my freverent hope that WH40K 6th Edition goes the same route… Chaos seems to, Dark Angels less so. But then again, the Dark Angels have long been the "elite units as core" chapter (and "GreenWing" looks very good now too).

This. So this. So much this I want to + it more. If your CC based CSM are getting swept often enough in CC that you make this big of a deal about it…you're quite simply not very good at the game or are playing with extremely loaded against you dice.

Bile is probably one of the best HQs to make the most of both CSM troop options, who'll take on a 20-strong squad of S5 T5 enhanced CSMs with MoN, leaving Bile with a 35-strong squad of cultists with MoN? There's two troops units for 700 points including heavy stubbers for the blob of T4s and meltas for the blob of T5s.

If you want to be lolsy, combine Huron Blackheart (Bile as counts-as Garreon?) and infiltrate that squad.

The main problem with troops in CSM, as far as I can tell, is mobility. You essentially have rhinos and the warlord trait that lets you infiltrate, that's it. (the CSM LR is a very crappy LR) THere's no drop pods, outflanking, native infiltration, scouts, no "tricks" really to get really mobile troops in your army.

The bikes are quite good, everyone's in love with spawn, the jump packs are ok, and the Terminators can deepstrike and are pretty awesome. But there's no way to make any of these troops. There's no way to make anything scoring move more than 6" a turn unless it's less than 10 men and in a rhino.

I mean, 10 MEQs in AV 11 boxes is ok. Blobs of 20 MEQs are ok. But I'm not sure it really competes with scoring Ravenwing bikers (or vanilla bikers, of that matter) transport flyers, terminators that can score, GK Dsing mostly whenever they want, veils of darkeness, summoning, and warp gate, scoring jump packs, and infiltrating scouts, scouting troops, etc.

Other armies just have so many more options for getting their troops where they need to be.

Their mobility isn't great, no. Rhinos are a fine thing, I think, but it would be nice if they got something else to make up for the absence of the Drop Pod and Razorback.

you could vector strike your troops with an heldrake, then place survivors 12'' in front of the dragon's final position…
best transport ever!!!

They could have just been given Drop Pods too, it's not like there isn't plenty of time to steal a few off a battlefield. Bloody hell, you could have gone full-Ward and given a Sorcerer some power called "Hell's Highway" the drops a 3" portal to the warp within 6" of the sorc and let your dudes come in through that, even if it might randomly eat a few dudes. Heck if it ate dudes that would actually be an incentive to take larger squads.

Pretty sure they had drop pods during the Horus heresy (different version) so there's no real reason for CSM not to have them. Or yeah, so Sorc power or artifact. Or a flying transport. Or hell, some huge demon possessed thingie that automatically ate a unit each turn. Or just simple stuff like scoring termies wiht the right character.

The codex is just kinda boring, honestly, Helldrake aside.

Doesn't have the Drop Pod Assault rule, though, which means the soonest your boys will touch ground is T3. Good in the sense that they CAN get across the board without fear of getting shot up, and the Dreadclaw is pretty hard to slap down in the one turn you have to do it. Bad in that normal drop pods are even more reliable and damn near impossible to keep from disgorging their loads right in your face.

1. It doesn't come in automatically turn 1 (or even turn 2.)

2. You can't really disembark from it the turn it arrives.

The Dreadclaw is a drop pod in name only.

Sorry chap, I'm with abusepuppy on this one. No matter what you call it, fluff ain't crunch. It doesn't offer the same tactical options as a Drop Pod because it doesn't use the same mechanics.

Be nice if it did though, eh Forge World? Eh?

Hey, I never said it was a GOOD drop pod, but was just offering a counterpoint to Threadmiser and Prometheus who said that they should have been given drop pods / had them during the Horus Heresy. The Dreadclaw was whatthey had then. The Dreadclaw was what they have now.

They really could stand to revist the rules for it. Giving it some way to turn up by Turn 2 at least…

Some way like… Drop Pod Assault?

I really am on your side here. I want it to be a Chaos drop pod in the same way that a Chaos Rhino is a Rhino, i.e. it functions in the same way but with combi-bolters and Havoc launchers instead of storm bolters and hunter-killers.

Which is good, because it's a WH40k rulebook written, published, and sold by Games Workshop. Not me.

You may not like the fact that GW's Imperial Armour books are intended to be valid rules, you may elect not to treat them as such, and you may stick to tourneys that restrict them… doesn't change the fact that they are what they are.

Until FW is universally accepted in every major tournament, every gaming club, and every store, you cannot give advice or form an argument based on it being so.

YOU think FW is a perfectly valid and legal addition to any army. A significant amount of the 40k gaming community disagrees, including TOs. Given that GW doesn't run any tourneys, we go off the rules of the tourneys we visit to form our concept of what is and is not competitive.

So please, stop pretending that this FW unit or another is a valid solution to a problem. It isn't. You might WISH it is, but it isn't. Otherwise I guarantee that every single SM player would have swapped out their Dreads for Mortis Contemptors by now.

I wasn't talking about tournaments or gaming clubs, I was talking about the Warhammer 40,000 rules. You think tourney rules are more important than GW's rules, I don't feel that way and that's not how I play this game. I'm not going around accusing anyone of playing the game wrong, just pointing out there are alternatives to Tourneyhammer.

Is the Dreadclaw a solution to the lack of a drop pod? No. It's not nearly as good.
Is the Dreadclaw a drop pod that CSM can use? Yes. It is… and that's the question that was asked.

No, it's not. It was written by a wholly owned subsidiary of GW. That subsidiary has said they're legal rules for 40k, some of them. (is the dreadclaw even on that list? I don't think so but am not sure)

GW itself has said crap all about it, which I find telling.

Forgeworld is not a wholly owned subsidiary, it is a division. Just like Black Library Publishing… and no one objects to White Dwarf units or army lists. I'm also not sure why the companies internal organization (which is mostly about taxes and import/export duties) has any bearing on the rules.

The books all are quite clear, they are official rules supplements to WH40K, same as any codex, White Dwarf article, or whathaveyou. The idea that "GW itself has said crap all about it" is ridiculous on its face. Look at any unit from any one of the Imperial Armour books, at random. You'll see a line along the lines of "<$NAME OF UNIT> is a <$FORCE ORG SLOT> choice for an army from Codex: <$NULL>."

If you don't want to play with FW, that's fine. But that dosen't change the actual words written in the books.


FW is about as legal as houserules. House rules can be good rules, but they're still house rules. My house rules can also say they're "official" but that does not make it so.

Your crying that FW "is too" official, is fairly meaningless, because few people agree. If GW wanted FW to be official, they could fix that fairly quickly by saying so on their GW website or an official GW book. They have not chosen to do so, despite the financial advantages, and I think that tells you something.

Games Workshop says Imperial Armour is official, right there in the book. I've really been able to undertsand this common argument against the IA line… I mean, I own most of them (and have read PDF scans of the rest *sssh! don't tell!*) and they all state explictly what codices each unit is for, what force org slot they use, etc. Every last one of them is penned by GW employees, printed by GW, sold and marketed by GW, etc.

Disallowing Forge World is about as legal as any tournament rules packet. Tourney rules can be good rules, but they're still non-standard rules. Just because lots of tourneys use the same or similar rules does not change the rules printed and published by GW. ^_^,

My imperial armour volume 2 was printed by a GW subsidiary, sold to me through a GW store, lists GW IP clearly in it & on the very first page says something like "the following rules are intended to supliment the variety of armies in WH40K" (paraphrased)

ETC. Tournie rules != GW rules.
GW in no way, shape or form endorses the ETC rules pack for WHF and yet it is the LAW of one of the world's largest tournament circuits. IA books have more legitimacy than the ETC players pack.

Case. Point. Argument over.

Dude, I play in lots and lots of GTs, and I don't even know what the ETC rules look like. So yeah, I'd say IA rules have more legitmacy than ETC rules…..which still leaves them with barely any.

Case. Closed. Argument was over long time ago.

Look, you want to use FW, that's fine, do that. Some tournaments do too. But they are not, in any way, "official".

European Team Championships…. used to be kind of a big thing.

The point is that warhammer rules are warhammer tournament rules but warhammer tournament rules are not warhammer rules in the same way that cats are mammals but mammals are not cats.

No. They are penned by FORGE WORLD employees.

Forge world is a subsiduary of GW. This does not mean their employees are employed by GW.

This CERTAINLY does not mean they have the same Game Design goals.

Also "Official" doesn't necessarily mean "legal without opponent's permission". GW has had a long history of creating rules that require you to ask your opponent first, mostly through White Dwarf (and once upon a time, the Journal).

Or even in army books. Special Characters used to be (in theory) so overpowered you had to ask your opponent before you could use them.

I'm not weighing in on either side here, but out of interest, has there ever been a FW unit used in a White Dwarf Battle Report? Presumably if FW units were kosher all of the time, then some would have shown up from time to time.

Has there been a White Dwarf Battle Report in the last 20 years that wasn't a thinly disguised commercial for that month's new products?

I think tourneys are a fairly poor way to establish the baseline of the game, but I can at least see the logic to it. But White Dwarf, really?

(That might sound a litte harsh given the limits of text. I don't intended it to be mocking or dismissive of Sam, so much as bemusedly disdainful of White Dwarf. ^_^)

I agree that White Dwarf isn't exactly a stellar example of the baseline of the game, as you put it.

My point was more that if GW staff, or at least those that participate in the battle reports, considered FW units to be just as much a part of the game as Codex (or WD insert) units, surely there would be at least a couple of examples where they used the odd unit or 2 from FW books in their reports (alongside whatever shiny new thing came out that month).

I think it's a fat sight more interesting than the last one, and getting rid of the "lose the Icon, lose the Mark" stupidity was heartwarming.

You know, that's helped me unpack something. I'd been trying to work out what Chaosmens needed Allies for; they have the cheap blobs and the scoring 3+ saves and the quality flyer and the target saturation and all that, but mobile scoring (and maybe cracking heavy armour at range) seem to be holes.

I guess we're all supposed to take Allies now. Good job I was going to anyway.

"most of the Cult troops aren’t nearly as good as the choices we have here. Three of them are at least some degree of useable"


But seriously folks, come play Chaos in warhammer fantasy, where you can be assured of your superiority

It'll be fine, Cruddace does good fantasy armies 😀

*rocks back and forth in a corner*

it'll be fine :'D

Tomb Kings and Empire are excellent books, lots of fun, balanced units, both embrace the overall philosphy of 8th that mundane, rank-and-file blocks working in concert with each other are the way to win. Imperial Guard are widely considered to have one of the best codices in WH40k.

Yes, Tyranids is lackluster… I just wish the fanbase would get over it already. Has there ever been a rulebook for this game people like!?

People seem to like GK and IG, they bitched a bunch about Necrons to start with being kind of shitty and now they bitch about them being too good.

Cruddace just seems to be all over the place in 40k in terms of both overall codex quality and unit-by-unit quality in each codex. Imperial Guard vs Tyranids is a total joke, but the IG codex contains ogryns, ratlings and other garbage as well as vendettas and the guard blob

He's at least consistent in fantasy, without having any truly terrible or over the top powerful units in his books.

I was there, Sethis… Codex: Angels of Death was hated for being a two-in-one; Codex: Ultramarines was hated for being boring; Codex: Imperial Guard was considered too weak; Codex: Eldar was considered OP due to shuriken catapult spam and people also hated the lack of Waveserpent models after ArmorCast lost the rights; Codex: Tyranids was considered OP. Codex: Sisters of Battle came out… oh, two months before the switch to third edition rendered all of it moot (which hurt me, bad, as I had sunk ~$900 into the army in that span).

So was I. Me and my friends loved our books and armies because there was no such thing as "competitive" because there were no tournaments, and no internet for dissemination of ideas. Therefore we had no complaints about the relative power level of the units because we took what we like the look of.

Except, y'know, you lose to everyone else who actually knows how to play the game. Times change, and so does the hobby.

Which really means that you and your friends prefer to play this way. Which is all well and good, as there is no such thing as a wrong way to have fun… But the game is only as "competitive" as you want to let it be.

I really like the current BA dex. But I think I am in the minority here. Also the 6th ed. rule set is so much more fun for myself and the group I play with. We have very little to complain about.

But we are the non-vocal majority. 😉

The BA dex was the best book in 5th Edition, imo. Almost every unit in the book was viable to one degree or another, it wasn't OP, and it wasn't mono-build. You could pretty much make whatever you wanted out of it. Then 6th happened and some of their core concepts got crapped on.

The biggest hurt was the change to rhinos. I'm in the process of moving my rhino ASMs over to riding in Pods; I think that's a decent direction to go in now, if they're not using their jump packs.

A statistical analysis of ATSKNF with DA bolterguy vs CSM bolterguy, in a shooting situation:

A DA squad that takes enough damage to make a morale check will retreat 1/6 of the time, if you have the Vet Sgt upgrade. If they don't hit the edge of the board, they will then auto-regroup.
A CSM squad will keep running 1/6 of the time. Since they also fail 1/6 times, this means that once in 36 rounds, you have the situation where a CSM squad breaks and the DA squad does not. We will consider this as a "destroyed" squad for CSM even though there are times that they will get back in the fight later. We will consider the DA squad that retreated for a turn as completely unaffected although there is a chance that they were near their table edge and removed from play.

So, firepower directed at CSM is about 1/36 more effective due to the lack of ATSKNF.
A CSM bolterdude costs 13 pts vs the 14 of the DA bolterdude. That means that firepower directed at CSM is 1/14 less effective at removing points off the board than firepower directed at DA bolter dudes. Note that the ratio does improve upon special/heavy weapons, as the cost ratio becomes closer.

CSM bolterdudes have about 8% more firepower per point than DA bolterdudes. The increase is also positive for special/heavy wepon bodies, but again to a lesser degree.

The conclusion is pretty clear: in a shooting match, the cheaper CSM bodies win out over the ATSNKF advantage of loyalist marines. Yes, this does mean that shooty CSM units are more vulnerable to CC than the shooty Loyalists. Yes, you do have to screen them with some advancing CC element to prevent them from being Swept, which is where the lack of ATSKNF is a major rather than a minor hindrance. But as long as you manage that, or the opponent's army is also a shooty army, CSM match up quite solidy against DA bodies… and DA bolterdudes are some of the most cost-efficient bolterdudes that Loyalists have.

Note that this analysis does ignore the advantage that the auto-regroup of ATSKNF gives with regards to an additional 3" move and being able to fire Heavy Weapons normally after regrouping.

It is human nature to remember unusual events rather than a long series of the ordinary happening. We all recall losing a game to some unit failing an easy check, but we don't realize that we had won 2 games previously simply because our cheaper, less dependable units had more bodies and firepower on the table because they were less reliable. Unreliable troops are not weaker than reliable ones if they are appropriately priced, but they FEEL weaker because we don't control them as well. Math shows long-term trends, but we remember short-term unusual situations. It's not unusual that players have always disliked random and/or undependable units even when they were cheap enough to make up for their lack of dependability. CSM seem to be cheap enough in shooting situations, and they have a lot of internal options to protect them from losing because they're constantly getting assaulted and swept.

Well said.

>>It is human nature to remember unusual events rather than a long series of the ordinary happening.<<

That is where 99% of people poor perception of the game comes from.

Yes!!! Someone actually using maths to demonstrate efficiency, rather than just getting annoyed about anecdotal experiences!!! You are my new hero

No way, I heard about a guy who relied entirely on anecdotal evidence once and then he became a millionaire. It really works!

> "Note that this analysis does ignore the advantage that the auto-regroup of ATSKNF gives with regards to an additional 3" move and being able to fire Heavy Weapons normally after regrouping."

And combat tactics. And combat squads. And the whole "significantly worse in combat" thing you mentioned. Which, y'know, makes the conclusion a lot less clear – if not swing it over the other way entirely.

What combat tactics? Combat squads – i don't know, full DA tacticals don't seem that efficient to me. If I want bodies I would rather take allies in most cases. The thing I noticed with CSM codex is that it works well if you decide which role you want it to perform and stick to it. This way, even though you don't get many extra rules, but at the chosen role, you are more efficient than almost any other codex. Yes, my units are less versatile, but in the end I have more of them, in the end being more powerful where I choose to be.

Be fair, though, DA tacs don't have Combat Tactics. They have ANTI-combat tactics, where even if somehow they got Combat Tactics they can't use them…

"A statistical analysis of ATSKNF with DA bolterguy vs CSM bolterguy, in a shooting situation."

"And combat tactics. And combat squads. And the whole "significantly worse in combat" thing you mentioned."

How, exactly, are any of these three elements present "in a shooting situation"? Combat Tactics is completely irrelevant (unless you're suggesting the DA would voluntarily choose to fail the break test from shooting casualties?), combat squads have already been broken down by that point, and being significantly worse in combat (which they're not really, on a body-for-body level) is outside the scope of Sly's point.

Combat tactics: Allow you to fall back from combat voluntarily, allowing you to rapid fire with your bolters instead of swinging with 1A each with no AP, and hitting on BS instead of WS. Oh, and it allows the rest of your army to shoot the enemy as well, so yes, it's a valid part of what makes a good shooty unit. And yes, you will often choose to fall back from shooting, such as when an enemy hits you with a flamer or meltagun or bolt pistols prior to assaulting because he wants to wipe you in one round of combat or fears he doesn't have enough offensive strength to win the combat on pure attacks. However DA don't have this, but it's worth noting in any comparison between CSM and other MEQs.

Combat squads: Allow you to be more flexible in your deployment. Deploying shooty units well is fairly important. A 10 man CSM squad has to stick together, and is therefore compromising between the range bands of their heavy (48") and their special (24" at best). DA don't have that problem, in 5/6 missions they are free to sit the heavy at max range while the special advances to midfield. It also grants more targets that the enemy has to neutralise. They also have twice as much Obj holding potential.

Worse in combat: If the game only had a movement and shooting phase, or you have a "can't touch this" indestructible barrier around your shooty squads, then you're right, it wouldn't matter. But the game doesn't work like that. Sometimes, you get assaulted. Sometimes you have to assault yourself. Being better at those situations is an obvious plus compared to being worse at it.

Sly's point is that "In a complete vacuum where you put 10 CSM 24" away from 10 DA and stand still, the CSM have 8% better efficiency" which is great to know, but pretty useless when writing an actual list to play real games with.

The problem is almost all of the reactions to APs article are made by considering units in vacuum. Besides, CSM have cultists, which by clever positioning can ensure that oponent just won't get his charge off, unless he/she wastes valuable shooting on shit unit to assault anothe cheap unit with uncertain outcome. Just one of examples, there are tons of other scenarios you're not considering, like guard allies, orks, using rhinos to block firing lines/movement etc.

"Combat tactics […] However DA don't have this"

Then why even mention it? Sly was clearly comparing the two newest MEq books, CSM and DA; by putting combat tactics forwards, you're moving beyond the scope of his point. Plus, any assault unit likely to be such a threat that you'd rather your basic MEq Troop unit fall back and fire, instead of just sticking it out to grind them down over a turn or three of combat, is equally likely to have the I to catch them when they try to flee. I guess it could be useful for extracting a model or two from the clutches of a mob of boyz or a blob squad, but it seems like a pretty niche ability.

Combat squads, eh. Yeah, you can break the DA in half before the game if it's not a kill points mission. But in that case, the smaller squads are going to have to take morale tests more often, meaning they're likely to keep bouncing back and forth between two points, rather than being able to advance or even just hold a specific point, not to mention regularly falling out of any cover they might be using come the assault phase. Plus, while it's true that DA could sit their heavy weapon guy at max range and fire away, CSM could always just, y'know, buy a small squad with a heavy and no special. It's not like they're in any great danger of maxing out their Troop FOC slot.

Worse in combat is, again, pretty marginal. Same 4's across the board, same attacks, sergeants probably killing each other off. Maybe the CSM lose, but probably not by more than one kill, at which point they still have an above-average chance to pass their leadership. And even if they fail, they still have a fifty-fifty chance of escaping the DA squad, because their I is the same in both cases. There's just not that much of a difference between the two units.

"Sly's point […] is great to know, but pretty useless when writing an actual list to play real games with."

So is the constant focus on CSM in a vacuum, as though there weren't four other FOC slots they should be working in tandem with for best results.

> "Then why even mention it?"

Because I thought they did have it, and was corrected. As you can see from my reply below, if you bothered to read it.

CSM could always just, y'know, buy a small squad with a heavy and no special.

Except, y'know, they can't. Ten men to get a heavy weapon. Five only get a special.

Dark Angels on the other hand, can buy five men and give them a heavy weapon.

You can do it with Noise Marines now, but I thought the topic was Chaos Space Marines.

No, no. The conclusion is NOT that CSM Squads are better than equivalent Loyalists, over all game situations.

The conclusion was that, in a shooting situation specifically, the point decrease is more than fair for losing ATSKNF. That's all.

Now, when you consider CC, where the lack of ATSKNF is a major downside, are the CSM squads really better? I personally doubt it. But then again, this entire article is not saying that CSM Troops are all that great, just that they are decent. So, being better in shooting and worse in situations where ATSKNF is a major benefit, makes them probably close enough to DA Marines. Maybe a bit better, maybe a bit worse, certainly not great, but neither are they bad like some people make them out to be.

Because unlike Loyalist marines they are better when free to shoot and better in CC when facing weaker opponents (or even stronger opponents who may win the overall fight but not necessarily each round, like Orks), but worse when facing superior odds, you have to be more careful with how they are run. That means you can't take 3×10 squads with 2x PGs like Grey Hunters, and not really care which is in front and which is in the back. You have to take a cover squad with the Lord, and guys in the back who are there just to shoot because they may break when facing CC, etc. It is a game plan that is more subject to being countered. It is also a good game plan, because as the math shows, they are GOOD when they are put in the right situations, but it is still a vulnerable game plan.

Some players don't like that, while others are okay with building a game plan where each piece only does a set job rather than all jobs like the Loyalist squads. But it doesn't seem like CSM troops are as bad as they're made out to be, inferior in all situations to Cult Marines or to Loyalists. When properly cared for, they are quite efficient for their points. It's an efficiency that can be turned around if your opponent messes up your plan, but until that happens, they do their tasks very efficiently.

…You know there's no award for being my favorite commenter, right? And even if you keep trying so hard to win it, I almost certainly won't create one for you?

Just to clear up the forgeworld tournament thing. At GW hq they have a mostly non competitive tournament called throne of skulls 1500 points, no forgeworld. I cab imagine them adding it in.

I use plague marines and cultists (2×7 and 2×10). I also use a landraider and 2 rhinos, they are suitable for what I need at 1500.

You can’t compare troops cross codex fairly, not really. Of course gw doesn’t always get the balance right, and yes atsknf is rather nasty, but remember regrouping is easier as long as the champion stays alive. While its not as good, its still pretty useful. We are a different army, yes sm vehicles, special rules, combat squads, drop pods, powr of the machine spirit,living legend, the high king etc etc.

You may as well wish for power from pain, massed poison weapons or synapse. Chaos are now officially a different army from what it was 10000 years ago (or when chapters turn renegade, but I guess you could just use the codex they were before they turned?).

I’m not totally pleased with the state of the chaos codex, but I got bored of wolves and angels didn’t grab me, neither did codex sm and I’m no way jumping to dark eldar.

TLDR A different army

I love how a character that gets free upgrades throughout the game is considered to be worth 0 points. Amazing. (Not directed at AP, but the pot bangers)

Also how being able to stack to 20 on units that can bring very good banners. Oh yeah…they can be "sniped", because sniper weapons and shooty based characters are suddenly all the rage right?

I honestly think most of the "problem" with people appraising the CSM troop selection is that people are still stuck in their 5th edition mindset. For instance, one or two large blobs of foot can be very effective now. I've had a 20 brick of Warriors in almost very single Necron army I've played in 6th.

Oh, and all the complaining about being swept. Really…who are you people sending your CSM against where this is even a problem, and where are your Lords/DPs/Terms/Spawn/Bikes etc while your CSM are getting their shit pushed in in CC? Man, I've been told for years that 40k was a "shooting game"…but apparently everyone is suddenly fighting CC based armies when they plop their CSM on the table. Weird.

(AP knows I'm rather fond of a little CC unit that isn't immune to moral, really…learn to pick your battles people)

Necron Warriors are cheaper, can threaten any vehicle with all of their models at 24", and effectively have super-FnP native. Oh and they're not even Marines so that comparison is even more shakey than comparing them to DA/SW/Vanilla/BA which everyone seems to be moaning about doing already.

If units of 20 could take 2 heavies and 2 specials, or even 4 specials, it would be worth considering.

From what I've read, no-one so far has said "useless". Simply "inefficient" and "worse than loyalists".

Oh, and the reason the character is ignored is because 1) the odds of winning multiple challenges with a single T4 1W guy are rather tiny, 2) even winning a single challenge can be a tall order depending on opposition and 3) it comes with the downside of throwing yourself at HQ choices, Terminator Sergeants, Monstrous Creatures et al regardless of whether that is a tactically sound choice or not.

Except you don't play 20 marine blob for heavies or special weapons nor to sit on objective. You put beatstick HQ in, send your shitty AC to eat challenge, while lord murders the entire squad. Now, there is really good chance that at least one marine stays alive(run this either mathematically or test in games). Well, they've got ASTKNF, stubborn and fearless is even better, if you have(and should have in 20 man squad) I5 you are very likely qoig to stay locked in combat with one guy, providing you with 0+ cover for shooting next phase and 99% of wiping squad next turn. This isn't one 100% reliable, but is reliable enough to pull it of with some consistency. Just one example of running such unit, not sure if this is even good, but it's certainly amusing 🙂 (btw take either Huron or MoS Lord with steed for best results :))

If a challenge is tactically unsound for you, why would you think your opponent would hesitate to make it in return if you pass up your challenge opportunity? One way or another, that sergeant is going to get into a fight.

You don't always have to accept every challenge. You can keep your Sarge alive until after the combat is finished by simply declining.

And how would that help? If your sergeant refuses to accept a challenge not only does he not get to attack while the challenger model does, but you're not allowed to use his LD for the rest of the phase. He's essentially dead for that combat round, and he hasn't soaked up three or four attacks all on his own, meaning you've probably lost more models from the squad than you would have otherwise, meaning you're taking your LD test with an even bigger penalty on the same inferior LD you would have been using if the sergeant had actually died.

Against, say, a combat squad with a power fist Sergeant – you'll win the combat eventually, but it's not in your best interests to take the chance of your champ getting gibbed by that fist as you do so, especially if you have a combi-weapon, useful boon, or Power Axe. You'll lose a basic guy to the fist, but still win the combat with your champ intact and ready to take on the next guy.

At least you would, if you weren't forced into it by your rules. And that's just one example. There are several more.

So do the reasonable thing and give the sergeant a power sword instead of a power axe. The axe won't really help; best case, he can kill the terminator that's killing him right back, and in most cases he's simply going to get dragged down by either weight of attacks or a power sword before he gets to swing.

You know your sergeant has to challenge, no matter what, so outfit him appropriately for the fights he's likely to get into.

Even if he has a sword, it's far from a given he'll drop the opposing model. 3A hitting on 4+ and wounding on 4+ only causes 0.75 wounds on average, assuming no save. That isn't good odds.

Like I said, there are lots of other examples.

So, if three power sword attacks have only a three-quarters chance of putting a wound on an MEq or weaker, what is your sergeant consistently running into that's simply pulping him? Are you routinely letting terminators, Sangunairy Guard, Death Company or assault squads with power sword-wielding captains get the charge off on your basic CSM squads? And if so, why do you expect them to survive in the first place?

It's starting to feel like you're deliberately avoiding my point: Being forced into challenges is a downside because it forces you to TAKE RISKS with a model when you otherwise would not.

We have left the discussion of "Impossible" challenges behind (which we can all agree are a bad thing), and are now addressing "Reasonable" challenges. Sometimes it is beneficial for you to take the "Reasonable" challenge. This is fine, and all well and good. However there are also circumstances where you do not NEED to take the risk because you do not NEED to issue or accept a challenge – you are going to win the combat eventually anyway without your expensive (can run up to the ~40pt mark with a boon and sword) model. But Champion of Chaos FORCES you to take the risk with your Asp Champ whether you want to or not, which can result in him getting pulped a statistically significant proportion of the time. Even if it's only a 25% chance, if you could avoid it, you would.

I just don't see the percentage as being anywhere near that high. What are basic CSM units going to run into that they're not going to want to have their sergeant challenge, but against whom they're going to stand a fairly decent chance otherwise of taking in a fight? Sure, it would be nice to be able to opt out in the odd fight, but for the most part either killing the enemy's sergeant is going to be worthwhile enough that you'll want to take the chance, despite the risk but partially because of the reward (the boon chart), or you're so hopelessly outclassed that challenging or not challenging simply isn't going to make a difference. The more 6th I've played, the more I've found that there's always a challenge going on; if the charging player doesn't want it, the charged player certainly does, and the penalties for sitting out the round are high enough that refusing a challenge just isn't worth it. Even a lousy chance is better than no chance at all.

Who said anything about multiple challenges? Again, you Chaos. If you're marked at all, which you should be if your making an aggressive CC unit, and you take your boom, plus a power weapon, and you are already way ahead the bog standard sergeant, even a BA ASM. And remember, a lot of CC units, particularly from the troop selection, rely on that upgrade character for a significant portion of their damage. If you get them sitting on the side lines, then you go to town with you AC on the squad and hope for a lucky precision shot.

If you put every Character at a random GT on a list what percentage of them do you think could take a tooled out AC? Honestly? ICs and MCs aside the list is quite small, and a lot of MCs aren't characters.

Oh and you might get lucky and turn a 30 or 40 point model into a 160 point model, because getting 120 extra points in a fight completely sucks and stuff.

your kidding right?

Loyalist marines can make MUCH better challenge characters than chaos can even think of, a chaos character will just die to pretty much any other equivalent sergeant in other codex's…..makes the table a pointless bit of waffle.

Example Unit:
20 MoS CSM (CCW/Pistol)
Icon of Vengeance
355 Points

Now of course you can slap on special weapons and AC upgrades from there, but 355 points for 20 FnP, I5, leadership 10 space marines that have Hatred: Space Marines is none to shabby. I would love to see 355 points of Loyalist Space Marines that wouldn't get their shit pushed in by this unit.

2x Vindicators. 230pts.

You don't counter paper with paper, you counter it with scissors.

This is why imaginaryhammer is bad. Argue about the role the unit fulfills, not what specific units it hoses/gets hosed by.

Oh brother. You spent the entire thread comparing the units to loyalist Marines, and then when presented with a strong unit Loyalist Marines can't match or directly counter, you move the goal posts.

Fact is, you can do things with CSM you can't with LM, for efficient points when focused. As others have mentioned this is a perfect unit to drop a Lord in, or run in a Fabius Army. Then they're Fearless, which in 6th edition is superior to ASTKNF in most situations. Different Strokes for different dexes man, as the game should be. Chaos are much more comparable in the fundamental mechanics to an army like Necrons, where the units can be made iron tough and incredibly focused, then they are to their power armored wearing generalist cousins. I think that's one huge thing that some CSM players seem to be missing.

> "You spent the entire thread comparing the units to loyalist Marines…"



It's not an argument about "10 bolter CSM versus 10 DA Tacs, who wins?" It's about who performs the role of "MEQ scoring unit" better. Be that Tacs, ASMs, GHs or CSMs.


Do they really? I'm not so sure. They have similar stats, but… Loyalist MEQs are self-sufficient, do not have nearly as many options to specialize for a particular task (even if that option is to take nothing but weapons so they're cheap), and don't have a major need for protection against LD issues. CSM aren't as self-sufficient, have more options for specialization, and need some babysitting or charge protection.

A lot of SM units work very well as 10-man, while I'm really not happy with too many CSM loadouts around 10 man… at 5 man, they're fine, and I don't care much about their LD issues because they will be dead a lot more often than killed due to retreating from CC. At 15-20, they're worth the addition of a banner or a Lord, so the lack of ATSKNF is not a major issue. But at 10 men? They're expensive enough that you really worry about losing the whole squad to a bad roll, but not quite a big enough brick to put the Lord in there.

It just feels likey they're only superficially similar to Loyalist MEQs, and play similarly to them in specific squads (5-man, or big bricks), but are quite different when they're in a medium-sized squad. I'm really not sure if direct squad to squad comparisons are reasonable, rather than "Here are all of the Troop squads in my CSM list, compared to all of my Troop squads in my Loyalist list". Just as a simple example, my Ultramarines list would reasonably run 3×10 squads… but if I were to run 30 Troop bodies in a CSM list, it would NEVER be 3×10. Maybe 1×15 with the Lord, and 3×5, but not 3×10. They just don't work the same way, and comparing squad to squad at some sizes just feels awkward.

I'm with you, I think. Five is enough for a special weapon and combi-weapon, fifteen is enough to take some shots and still chuck out some hits. It's almost like usage matters.

A big, Fearless, in-your-face mob of MEQ with BP/CCW is a scoring unit that has some effectiveness. Just look at Guard blobs. It has a different method of accomplishing its effectiveness (CC threat instead of shooting), but it fulfills the same role in terms of being a resilient scoring unit that is difficult to shift and has some offense.

Also, another thing that tends to get overlooked, is the Bolter/CCW/both option is on a per model basis. This allows you the option to tier your guys so that, if you wanted to, you could have 10 dudes in front with just one or the other, and 10 dudes in back with both, obviously allowing you to take the cheaper ablative wounds first. Certainly not gamebreaking, but can be useful.

Guys, guys. Can we please stop wanking over DA Tacticals? Even with Bolter Banner (which my Vindicare loves to see across the table), they're still dogshit. Because they're Tacticals.

CSM are melee. Get over it. Ditch the bolters, go BP+CCW, MoK, 15-20 man, and fuck shit up in sword range. That means when the 10 surviving dudes hit melee, you still steamroller most chaff infantry handily and non-melee Marines (Strikes, Tacs etc), get their shit push in. Also, that unit is still cheap enough to sacrifice.

MSU Noise Marines are nice but you have no staying power (Terminators also don't care about blastmasters, nor do Paladins or Nob Bikers, an Ecto-Fiend is still better). Cultists are great until you remember IG are an Ally with Orders, special+heavy weapons, Comissar's and way better tanks+Flyers.

Leadership has never been a major factor in 40k. I can count on one hand the number of times ATSKNF has actually triggered in a game. Yeah, its great to auto-regroup and fire Heavy weapons, but if your opponent isn't wiping out units every Shooting phase, he's doing it wrong. Also, if you are failing Ld9 tests that often, or getting into bad melee matchups, that's not to do with the unit being bad. Don't jam MoK CSM into enemy Terminators or other elite melee, use your own Terminators to engage such units and use the CSM for murdering enemy Troops in melee. Anything that beats you in melee is either at least as expensive as you or non-scoring (BA lost the Furious Charge Initiative advantage, and they cost more, so Assault Marines are still less efficient than you).

MoK? Hardly. If you're going to run marked CSM, you should be running Slaaneshi for the I5, which allows them to hit before pretty much everything else in the game; if you think you're going to hit a lot of power weapons, give them an Icon of Excess for the FNP. The aspiring champion in particular will appreciate the MoS over the MoK, since it gives him a better chance to win challenges, and therefore more chances to roll on the mutation table.

how do you figure any of them are cheap? with champion tax (which is even more of a disadvantage because of the champions of chaos rule), those units cost EXACTLY the same points as loyalist equivalents, but lacking vital special rules. they're just worse for the same pts.

Because the article is from 2 1/2 years ago and it was before the release of the loyalist books. Other than spam, the last post is 124 weeks old, so I'm guessing you should play necrons. You know, 'cause this thread was dead.