Monday, 6 February 2012

Achieving the Impossible - Competitive Chaos Marines

Recently I've had an itch which I need to scratch - that is, to revisit the Chaos Space Marines codex and see if there are some left-field ways of building a CSM force capable of competing with Space Wolves, Grey Knights, Imperial Guard mech/leaf-blower builds and other armies which are rightfully considered to be competitive in tournaments. The reasons for this are simple - firstly, my original 40k army is Chaos Marines, and right now they are simply collecting dust, and secondly, I think we can safely expect a new Chaos Legions and/or Renegade Marine codex any time soon, so time is short to 'enjoy' the current codex.

The Masterplan

Whenever I plan an army (no really, I do plan) I aim to be able to achieve three main things:

1. Destroy enemy transports early in the game
2. Eliminate opposing troops
3. Have enough surviving scoring troops alive at the end of the game to claim objectives

This may be a bit over-simplistic, but it helps me to approach a codex with clarity of thought. I am a mainly fluffy player, and I will often compromise my army's overall efficiency by including units that I love, or by building the whole army around a theme (all drop-spore Tyranids, all jump-pack Marines etc). Nothing wrong with fluffy playing of course, but you can only lose so many times before the  novelty wears off! 

Thinking Outside the Box

So this week's plan is to take a fresh - and more importantly critical - look at the Chaos Space Marines codex, and to try to address the three tactical points above. I'm hoping that, with the advent of elite, low model-count tournament favourites like Grey Knights, Loganwing, Deathwing et al, that this might give  the old book a new lease of life. Of course I'm a realist so I'm not expecting miracles, but it's worth a try.

Where Your Help Comes In

I'd love to hear from you! If you play Chaos Marines, let me know what works for you (let's keep it positive; there's plenty of blogs dedicated to negativity already out there!). If you regularly play against Chaos Marines, let me know what you have come to dread facing.

So, thanks in advance for your comments!

Later this week I will comment on your responses, and also publish my thoughts on what I think could work. Finally, I intend to play some games with the best 1,750pt list that we can come up with here. So Mick, Andy, Gav, Dave - this means I'll be looking for some practise games! And if the army works reasonably, I may even take it to the Open War tournament in Manfield in April.  


  1. Lash of Submission has always caused my Templar s no end of problems. I've played it twice and been tabled by it twice.

  2. Lash is indeed great when combined with either Berzerkers or Obliterators (in fact any template-toting heavies).

    My thoughts are still tending toward bike-mounted Nurgle Marines with meltaguns - fast, flexible delivery of AP1 melts shots to take out transports, followed by the more usual CSM build of lash Daemon Prince, Oblits and Plague Marines. It would be nice to get some Berzerkers in there too, but the problem is getting them to have the charge - unless you deliver 'em with a very costly Land Raider, they tend to get stranded very easily.