Monday, October 22, 2012

Lots Of Chaos Games, More Observations

So this weekend was the annual bender a couple of my friends have where we drink all weekend and play a bunch of table top games like we were 20 year olds again and not the older husbands and fathers that we are. This weekend I only played Friday night and Saturday but I did get a bunch of games in with my Thousand Sons.

Now to be fair this was many of the guys first couple of 6th editions games. Plus 4 of us were playing chaos out of the 8 40k players so we were all trying that out for basically the first time. Plus did I mention the drinking all weekend? So there is nothing to brag about for winning or losing these games.

It was also 1500 points all weekend, which is not my preferred level. I find 1500 points boring for most armies. For your standard marine army you are spending probably 600-700 pts on your two Tactical squads and an HQ, so nearly 1/2 of your army is predetermined. So I like bigger point level games as I think they add more flavor and variety into the mix, and can help mitigate a single bad turn of events to determine a game.

So here is what I ran, more to see how certain things worked than if I thought it was "best" for the army at 1500 points.

4 Terminators, MoT, 4 Combi Meltas, Power Axes x3, 1 ChainFist, Gift
9 1ksons, Gift, Rhino
9 1ksons, Gift, Rhino
13 Cultists, Autoguns
Auto/Las Predator
Auto/Las Predator
3 MoT Oblits
Aegis + Quad

I wanted to get as much Gift of Mutation in to see if the boon table was worth... well anything! I also went in very unsure of the worth of the rhinos. I wanted to get Ahriman in to see how he was even though he is probably way too expensive for 1500 pt games. The termies and oblits I know I'm using (because I own them and they look nice) but just need to figure out the best practices for them.

Here are my observations on how things went:

The Boon Table- is pretty much neat but seems pointless to 'work' to try to get anything. In addition to the Gifts I bought (30 points) I would also always take the Boon of Mutation spell if rolled. I rolled lots of worthless crap for my Boons. I killed off my own Aspiring Sorcerers twice (once from perils, once from failed armor from the Str 4 hit). In fact the coolest thing to happen was turning my aspiring sorcerer into a spawn who sprung forth from the rhino and charged into a IG squad to win combat there. But overall I am unimpressed. It is neat and chaos-y for if you win a combat, but really it is nothing to count on or 'build' a list to hope to get great upgrades.

Psychic Powers- Aside from the Boon spell I got Doombolt quite a bit and it was useful in several games. Armor is still out there and it was helpful to have that option. I did not really ever take the Primaris power since I was never playing hordes and I just would keep the Doombolt or Boon results (and the Breath of Chaos is warp charge 2 so I can't use it for the Aspiring Sorcerers).

For Ahriman he did get Breath a few times and I did use it once to mess up some Havocs which was neat, but I'd say very situational. I took Biomancy for Ahriman's other 3 spells. Biomancy is nice because it has two great blessings in Iron Arm and Endurance. It also has three witchfire powers so Ahriman can get mutiple shots off if he gets those (and ever ends up in range). Really the only two spells that are not so hot are Enfeeble and Warpspeed, so I would trade those for Smite when I could.

There are a couple of problems with this I found. Iron Arm is great in that it brings up his Str and T and gives him Eternal Warrior. This is lovely, but he ends up not quite being the killing machine like you would with someone like Meph. Even a normal Sorc with a Force Sword or Axe would be great, but with his AP4 staff he was just not killing much. Survivable yes, killy no.

Endurance was certainly always great to have, but Ahriman was almost always with my oblits and termies, both of who are relentless already. Still FNP on those units is a treat.

Smite, Lifeleech, and Hemorragh are all 12" range. So you need to close that distance with Ahriman with these powers. The nice thing is 2 of those spells are AP2, and paired with my termies or the Oblits 2+ save units were their first target priority.

So essentially I found Ahriman working well when I got good spells with a CC capable unit since he is not, and able to give him Infiltrate to take a unit up the field to close in on the enemy. This does risk giving up Warlord of course and it is painful to pull that 230 point model of the table!

Chaos Leadership- But the biggest gain that I think I overlooked that Ahriman gives that a Sorcerer does not is Fearless. I had oblits route in one game turn one and that hurt bad. While cult troops are fearless things like cultists, termies, and oblits are just normal LD and since we don't get ATKNF failing LD is actual detrimental (go figure).

So things like VotLW are looking a bit more appealing for some units, thought it is still not as nice as Fearless.

Cultists- I ran the 13 man squad and in most games it did its job, sat in the backfield, and shot the Quad gun. Only against fast outflankers did they get engaged and obviously wiped out. I'm debating if the unit needs to be bigger of if that is just a point sink.

On the other hand I played against a list with a 30 man blob with a super killy Khrone Jugger Lord. That unit was a pain. The lord keeps them killy enough and fearless so they can advance into objectives and there is some real challenges in removing that unit. I'm not sure I can achieve quite the same killy power as that Khrone build can however.

But when I go back to that unit being wiped out in CC by the fast outflankers and a Terminator Lord could have at least kept that objective contested for a turn or two... so food for thought there.

Termies- They were ok. I usually was infiltrating them with Ahriman and they sucked up shots and moved toward deeper objectives to be a pain for the opponent. I think they died every game eventually but it did take firepower to do it. I deep struck them once to get into two backfield defilers and that worked ok (killed a defiler) then they died to mass oblit shooting. I kept the Combi Meltas I'd used in the last dex rather than swap to Combi Plasma. In probably half the games I was glad to have them, and half the games I wished I had combi Plas, so a bit of a wash there I suppose. I like the unit, but it goes back to that question of do I need more to keep them alive longer, or just go min squad to babysit Ahriman for a bit or keep them cheap and Deepstrike to their doom. The verdict is out still.

Oblits- Minus the one game they routed turn one they are still great and flexible. I had no problem rotating through guns, and the assault cannon is a nice option to have. Certainly the Nurgle mark is better than MoT though MoT is still pretty nice. I ran Ahriman with these guys for one game (when the Termies Deep Struck) and I think that might be worth experimenting some more to see if that combo makes sense.

Predator- these guys were really great most of the weekend. 115 points for the Auto/Las is a steal, and you can put them behind the Aegis for the 4+ save. The only downside is they can't contest which is the one thing that the oblits can boast about still. However I'm strongly considering turning these into TriLas for the extra 25 points, which would make them even a bit of a threat to fliers.

Aegis + Quad- Still great. They kept cultists alive, they downed a Vendetta (in two turns of shooting) but could not down the helldrake before cultists got burned alive. They gave my Preds a great save. It is hard to see a reason to not take one of these in nearly any Chaos list.

Rhinos- I'll mention Rhinos because I took two and every other Chaos army had dropped theirs. The one game I lost was the old Capture and Control basically because I lost first blood due to a rhino popping at the top of 1. On the flip side the only reason I was able to 'tie' on objectives was because the second rhino got across the table to drop off my other squad of 1ksons.

For most chaos armies the rhino is probably not worth it for the reason of first blood in close games, with the 2 objective game being the absolute best example. I think I have played that game a dozen times and nearly everytime it is determined by those bonus VPs, but largely first blood. In other missions it is less of an issue because you are usually dealing with multiple 3 VP objectives. Sometimes it will come up into play in close games, but other times will make no difference at all.

My real problem is if I don't have rhinos the 1ksons are still relatively slow. They can't run which means grabbing objecitves is and issue if I'm out of place mid game. I have also paid a lot for these cult troops I do not want them getting picked off on turn 1 or 2 if I can avoid it. The rhino can extend that shelf life of these guys. 70 points vs 3 1ksons that I could exchange the rhinos to get is probably a fair trade for the risk of first blood and it deciding the game.

So my verdict is rhinos for 1ksons for now, probably not worth it for many other chaos armies.

A few other things from the Chaos armies I played against:

Plague Marines- still great. They can hold objectives and tie up units. Just don't look for super impressive killing power (unless maybe you go the Daemon/Tally route).

Noise Marines- I still think these are great too. A ton of volume of fire and the Blastmaster is a great weapon. Yes they can get expensive and salvo isn't good... but for a sit back and shoot behind an Aegis they are pretty awesome.

Khrone Lord, Daemon Axe, on Jugger- Total. Killing. Machine. I knew he would be, but I'm simply envious of the sheer wrecking power this guy has. If I did Chaos Undivided this guy would be the top of my list.

Daemon Engines- I played against a Forgefiend a few times and a Two Defiler army once. I have been thinking a wall of Chaos AV12 could really be a great army. After all 5++ and it will not die does boost the survivability of these units. However in my games they did die pretty easily, and the firepower while good is expensive. Maybe some of that was luck, or maybe those bonuses are not as helpful as I thought. Maybe on the Helldrake it is better because of how hard they are to hit anyway. Maybe you just need more AV 12 than 1 or 2 to get the most out of those units.

Helldrake- Baleflamer is awesome, and the unit is more survivable than people give it credit for I think. Most armies are going to really benefit from having one these in the list (if not two). I just can't see cutting out units I already own (and are painted) at this time!

So that's what I picked up over all these games. I'll go back to the army list and take a look at what improvements I'd like to make and hopefully never have to use these guys for a 1500 army again!

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