Monday, October 22, 2012

12 Days Of Chaos Part 3: HQ Special Characters

On the third day of Chaos, my true God's granted me
Three Tyrants, 
Two Chaos Marks, and Daemonic Immortality

Lantz: Welcome back to our celebration of the newest codex to the 40k universe; Chaos Space Marines. We're past the army's blanket rules, so let's get into the meat. Special Characters are up first and there's a bunch of them. All vary in points cost and stats which really seems to carry the book along in this Chaotic kind of presentation. When it comes to Imperial Space Marines there isn't very much differentiation between units stat lines, typically either wargear or special rules set each character apart. With the Chaos Space Marines, their special characters vary greatly from one another in every way possible. Chaos! All right, enough jabbering, let's get to it!

Abaddon The Despoiler
Lantz: I'm a numbers guy. So when it comes to unit reviews I like to break things down to ones and zeros. So let's have at it. Abby is the single most expensive thing you can spend your points on in this book coming in at a good chunk over a Land Raider, but is still cheaper than 4th Edition. You see, 40k goes through ups and downs with point costs and with 5th Edition and Matt Ward came things that are ridiculously cheap. *cough* Necron Wraiths *cough*
So while things do need to be cheaper because other codices have done so, Phil Kelly still manages to keep things at very fair point costs. There's nothing in this book that immediately jumps out at me as extremely under- or over-powered. So when you see Abaddon's cost compared to everything else, you have to wonder what you're getting. Not only does he hold his previous impressive statline from 4th, more or less the same rules and wargear as before, but now makes Chaos Chosen (an Elite unit we'll get to in due time) a troop choice. Also note that, like most of the Special Characters in this book, he must be chosen as your Warlord and is given a specific Warlord Trait instead of rolling for it randomly. This means he and any units within 12" of him have Preferred Enemy (Space Marines). The only negatives we see from the previous book are his weapons. No longer are they combined into one, but split into two which could be seen as a positive depending on the situation. This and the Talon of Horus now giving enemy Blood Angels the rule Hatred (Abbadon) are the only real downsides to this guy.

Drkmorals: Abby is the pimp daddy of Chaos Hq’s and I don’t really think anything has changed.  Abby will beat face when in combat with just about anything he touches. He has 6 plus D6 Str 5 AP2 init 6 attacks on the charge OR 6 Str 8 AP 3 attacks with Shred in case you have a high toughness model or a vehicle he wants to take out. He allows you take chosen as troops and he gives BA players Hatred toward him that is fluffy but silly since even giving them hatred he is going to rape most BA units in combat. Honestly his biggest drawback hasn’t changed; he is slow, so basically he needs a delivery system which makes his points cost go up even higher if you are running him.  The random Charge length helps you a bit though since now he might randomly charge over 7 inches in 6th edition, but for the most part people will be trying to avoid you or torrent this guy down. If you liked him before then you will still like him, or as we say locally when he makes combat: HAIL TO THE KING BABY.

Huron Blackheart
Lantz: The only thing this guy doesn't seem to have is a 2+ armour save. Huron has a little bit of everything; he can give D3 units Infiltrate, he's good at killing infantry, he's good at killing vehicles and he's also your only access to the Divination Psyker tree (though it is random). Despite the random psyker table, Huron is quite beastly coming in at just over 100 points less than Abaddon. I wouldn't say he's a steal as he's by my definition a fairly good jack-of-all-trades, but as you'll find there are few things in this book that don't seem to be perfectly priced. Three cheers for Phil Kelly!

HOTpanda: I think we are going to be seeing a lot of Huron Blackheart but not as himself rather as a counts as Alpha Legion Lord.  With his guaranteed Warlord Trait giving you D3 units to infiltrate he is the perfect candidate.  Allied with Imperial Guard and you have one hell of a fluffy Alpha Legion.

Drkmorals: Panda is right on the money here, you take this guy if you want a Pirate themed army of spikey fun and hate space elves, or if you want the Infiltrate trait. If you don’t want that trait personally I think you have much better options in the book besides this guy.

Kharn The Betrayer
HOTpanda: A close combat monster that cares little for who he is killing friend or foe.  Other than that he makes Berzerkers into troops if that is your thing.  For me he just seems be be lacking that ability to turn lemons into blood.

Lantz: Automatically gives himself and his unit Hatred (Everything), hits on a 2+, S7 and 7 attacks on an organized charge, Fearless, denies psychic powers on a 2+ and can't be one-shotted by a Force Weapon, all for a very cheap points cost. The downside? He kills his buddies, but just like last edition a lot of people will find this is worth it. Also note he makes Khorne Berzerkers (which we'll get to later) a Troop Choice option.

Drkmorals: Mr. Angry himself. Kharn is a fun character, and is basically the blood god’s poster boy. Hatred everything plus hitting on 2’s means you always do damage in HTH. Making your unit immune to powers on a 2+ is also nice. He is immune to instant death from force weapons and has Armor Bane keeping with his KHARN SMASH theme he has going. He didn’t get eternal warrior though perhaps that would be too over the top for the guy?  His main weakness is still Instant Death and with the new rules taking wounds from the closest model this can be easier to abuse. So don’t let him literally lead the charge across the table.

HOTpanda: A know it all wizard that will cost you a fortune.  If having a Harry Potter in your army is your cup of tea then look no further.  He comes with a plethora of abilities with one of them being his Warlord trait, Master of Deception, which lets you outflank three of your units.  Ahriman Potter also comes with an invisible cloak which grants him a whopping 4+ invulnerable save.

Lantz: Dear christ in heaven this guy has it all. As far as psykers go, no one is Ahriman's equal. He's mastery level four. Let me take a moment to let that really sink in; mastery level four. He may stretch past the 200pt mark, but this guy makes 1k Sons (also something we'll get to in the Elites section) a Troop choice option and makes Eldrad look like...well, a really shitty psyker. Add to this that his Warlord trait allows D3 units to Infiltrate and you have one bad ass mothe...shut yo' mouth! I'm only talkin' 'bout Ahriman.

Drkmorals: When you take Ahriman you take a tool box. His staff lets him use 3 witch fire spells in a turn which can be fun all in itself. What I think people don’t get right away is as a LEVEL 4 you can choose to just take the entire Zinch tree. There are only 4 powers and when you roll for them you reroll the one’s you already have.. so you can simple just take all 4 and they aren’t bad powers. Or you have the option of trying for something out of the other tables if that will help your specific match up. You get the Thousand Sons as troops, plus you get master of deception for again more flexible options. I want to run this guy to test him out but I fear in a tourney environment running into Eldar or SW will make him a 200 point waste.

HOTpanda: This is Chaos' equivalent to Grey Knights Coteaz. The ability to spam cheap blobs of zombie troops is just too much to pass up on. Giving cultists FnP is juicy like a boil on a hot summer day.

Lantz: I remember when the rumors of Typhus started spreading. Zombies. Again, let's pause for effect. Zombies in 40k. This made my junk wiggle just a little bit at the thought. Turning a Troop choice into Fearless, FNP, SnP zombies is one thing, but Typhus also makes Plague Marines (seriously, just wait till the Elites review) a Troop choice, a Psyker mastery level two and still farts up a storm. You'll be seeing plenty of Typhus around the table top. 

Drkmorals: Typhus is interesting, he makes plague bearers, basically letting you spam them for cheap. However they don’t have the mark of nurgle and you can’t buy them a mark so you can’t super combo this with Epidimius' Tally. However you get durable cheap troops, and then you get plague marines to push forward. I want to note that you are INIT 5 strictly to use your Destroyer Hive when not using this you swing at INIT 1. Your Hive attack is a large blast ap2 weapon and you have the chance to put a massive ton of models under that template if you are outnumbered, just remember it hits your units too.

Lucius The Eternal
HOTpanda: Emerging from the warp with screams of ecstasy Lucius The Eternal mocks Kharn the Betrayer. For Lucius is a true warrior who has truly dedicated his life into turning lemons into blood. With a higher initiative than the majority of warriors in the game, an AP3 flamer, armour that bites through terminator armour for every save it makes and an attack profile that changes in challenges to that of his foes weapon skill what else could one want from an HQ choice. How about reducing one the attacks of a model in base contact by one, or that his attacks have the shred rule? Oh and lets not forget his ability to make Noise Marines Troops?

Lantz: First, he makes Noise Marines a Troop choice (wait for the Elites review! Geez!) Lucius does a lot, but as a massive Slaanesh fan, I'm pretty disappointed. It starts with the fact that he's the only one out of the four God-specific Special Characters that doesn't get a fixed Warlord trait and the only one (except Khorn for obvious reasons) that isn't a psyker. Finally, this massive fluff around this guy never dying and becoming his slayer has no presence in the rules. None. Zip. Nada. Lucius the Eternal doesn't even get Eternal Warrior. Really, Phil Kelly? Really? Come on, dude! Lucius has a lot of fun toys, and he will get used because he's appropriately priced, but the other options in the article kind of out-shine this guy's tricks.

Drkmorals: This guy is confusing to me, I almost feel like he is a shooting unit which I suppose is in theme with the noise marines anyway. Then you look and he has a flamer? His armor is more dangerous than his sword, so you are going to do more damage to elite units by making armor saves than by hitting them with your sword. (why does his armor have the ignores cover rule when it happens in combat?) With only a 5++ and not being eternal warrior you will die if a hammer smashes you. He will tear through normal units like the fodder doing massive wounds then making saves and doing more wounds, but he also has to always issue a challenge so again like a teenager I feel he lacks direction. Your higher init will save you from getting punked by random chumps however. He is solid for his points just remember he doesn't want to be in combat with any dedicated combat unit.

Fabius Bile
HOTpanda: With so many other HQ choices I don't see the likes of Fabius Bile making it on to the table all that often.  He lacks the ability to manipulate the force org chart by coverting units into troops and does not have a fixed Warlord Trait.  His ability to manipulate the gene-seed of the warriors around him has been significantly reduced.  All this adds up to a scientific mistake on the operating table.

Lantz: Finally we reach fabulous disappointment that is Fabius. I agree with HOTpanda above me on this one; you'll seldom see this guy as he pales in comparison to other choices. Every unique thing this guy has seems to be a gimmick. He has an three-shot Poisoned (2+) weapon, but it's only 18" and AP6. He has an instant death melee weapon, but it's AP-. He gives a unit of basic Chaos Marines Fearless and +1 Strength, but doesn't unlock anything into a Troop choice. Fabius is good, but not great.

Drkmorals: The evil doctor isn’t as horrible as my counter parts paint him I think. The key is to remember that Chaos marines don’t have ATSKNF and aren’t fearless. They are generally leadership 9 so if you are using these as your primary troops what Mr. Bile gives you is a way to make two of them fearless out the gate. You can attach him to one squad and upgrade the other which isn’t a horrible option. Also he does have the perk of causing Instant death with all of his wounds and 5 base attacks. 

Lantz: There's more in store for you lovers of the chaotic, tomorrow! And the day after that! And the day after that! And get the idea.. Stay tuned!


  1. It concerns me when two out of 3 reviewers completely miss the point of a special characters special rules. One does not take Fabius Bile for Fabius Bile. With him, my squad of 20 CSMs with the mark of Khorne and icon of wrath are fearless, Reroll their charge, have 74 s6 attacks with 5 s8 power maul attacks from the champion and a combi-melta with 2 meltaguns on the charge. and they are still cheaper than the same size Berzerker squad that doesn't get special weapons and is scoring without a Khorne lord.
    And Fabius has 6 instant death attacks on the charge, making another squad he joins fearless (like a big squad of cheap cultists or another squad of CSMs). if you take Fabius and enhance a small squad or just consider his own profile and nothing else then of course you are doing it wrong

  2. On Ahriman: He can't take the whole Tzeentch Discipline, because a Model is only allowed to take up to half of their powers from their God's table, per Pg.70. The only exception I can find is Typhus, who's only allowed to Roll Nurgle.

    1. I didnt see that changes things a bit, however three more rolls to try to get a power you want for a match up isn't shabby.