Thursday, October 20, 2016

Traitors Hate Core Units.

 The new Chaos Space Marines supplement updates the Codex: Chaos Space Marines in several ways and adds a lot of utility to both the normal Chaos Space Marine and also the Black Legion forces.

Giving Monster Hunter and Tank Hunter to Predator units of 3, and indeed allowing them to BE units of three is new.  Many people have said in the past that if they didn't take up three slots, they might well take three tanks.  The number one inequity in the Chaos Codex is against Eldar, in many peoples view.  Giving Chaos a unit of LasCannon predators means you can really lay down the pain on a WraithKnight, and make it count.  All large targets are on notice now, as it poses a very legitimate threat plus keeps the slots free for Obliterator Cults or other heavies you might want.

Traitors Hate also allows the triple Vindicator option as well now.  I am somewhat less enthused there.  I feel and always have felt that the range on them makes them very good as reserves but poor as mainline battle tanks, and are much more a deterrent than an actual offensive weapon.  Having said that, if you reserve them and bring them on now, and IF all three are in range and able to fire (the wording here is sloppy and does not make clear that all three must be in range of the target) it can fire an apocalyptic blast that gains the Ignores Cover special rule.  Well needless to say, that is really good against a lot of things.  Multi wound models and those that rely heavily on cover will not like that. You could take an entire Optimized Stealth Cadre off the board with just one blast.  Strategically, it's a strong move against Space Wulfen as well, who rely on getting to you and they tend to end up clumped after their initial target is dead.  In fact there aren't many targets that would like it very much.  It doesn't solve the basic inequity between Chaos and Eldar as much as the Predators do, but lets face it:  it's pretty damn fun to drop that template on someones horrified visage.

The big finds in the Traitors Hate book though aren't these admittedly significant changes.  The Formations that the book features are very good.  I'll start with the Core designated units, and first among them is the Black Crusade Detachment.  Like the Decurion and the many similar "super detachments" like it, this one has all new Command Benefits that reach into every Detachment that is a part of the super detachment.

You get to re-roll Warlord traits, you get Hatred against the armies of the Imperium, and you get Veterans of the Long War for free.  Now this last piece is useful right away because Detachments that are said to be Black Legion must take Veterans of the Long War.  In essence, you get to be Black Legion for free if you put them in the super formation.  How important is that?  I calculated my old Chaos Space Marine Night Lords list and how I had them set up (because I wanted the Hand of Darkness and the Eye of Night in my life), and this saved about 100 points!  Not all armies are built with Black Legion in mind of course, but for those who do, or who sorely wished they could if not for the added tax, this Black Crusade "super detachment" will be a big and welcome thing.

The Path to Glory Command Benefit is super cool.  You start getting Chaos Boons every single turn!  This is actually a big deal because the Chaos boons are by and large extremely useful and they represent serious upgrades in most cases. The best thing is, you don't have to kill anything to get the Chaos Boon.  Just assign it.  Even better, this dovetails with the new Chaos Warband Formations ability (the Core Formation you will want to use in a Black Crusade super detachments if you're going to play it as a Black Legion army), which essentially lets you gain one or both of the boons you roll, your choice... which is really a buffer against becoming a spawn and makes your characters become really powerful, really fast.

The Black Crusade super detachment requires you to take a Chaos Warband Formation, consisting of 1 Chaos Lord, 1-3 Chosen, Terminators or Possessed, 2-6 Chaos Marine units. 1-3 Raptor, Warp Talon or Chaos Bikers and 1-3 havocs or Helbrutes.  That is actually a fairly significant tax except that every single thing in the Chaos Warband Formation gets the Objective Secured rule!  Unlike some super formations, this particular benefit is specific to the units in the Chaos Warband, but it is a REALLY significant benefit.

Now my personal list wouldn't benefit as much from this Formation because being forced to slot in an extra Helbrute and a Terminator Squad to make it work (for me) would be tough to do; but this Formation is ideal for a lot of people since so much of this is commonly in normal Chaos Space Marine forces.

Two other "Core" Formnations exist besides just the Chaos Warband Formation.  You may also choose instead the Maelstrom of Gore or Lost and the Damned Formations as your Core.

For those who own a lot of cultists, or who have older IG converted armies, this is kind of fun.  A Dark Apostle and 4-9 Cultists units are the Formation.  A Tide of Traitors is one of their Formation benefits, which says that when destroyed, you get another identical unit in ongoing reserve on a 4+.  What is amazing from an objective stealing standpoint is that these new units are outflankers!  That allows you to push them forward heedless of the danger and then later in the game go after objectives.  Opponents of this Formation will want objective markers as far from the flanks as they can place them.  Even more compelling as a reason to consider it is that the Dark Apostle makes everyone zealot within 6" of him from that Formation.  So imagine them rushing forward, never breaking, clogging up units, taking up space; and when the enemy is in poor position and over committed to killing them, the units just return for more, over and over again.  Talk about not knowing where the enemy is coming from!

If Khorne is your thing, the Maelstrom of Gore is your answer.  Kharn the Betrayer and 4-8 berzerker units later and you're golden.  People actually have enough of these models in some cases to field it straight up and it's cool to see this much maligned, but much loved, Chaos character get the treatment.  The Formation gets Blood Crazed, which is Fleet, but even better is, they get +3" to their charges.  Yikes.  We've seen this have a significant impact on Skitarii and other armies, and even slaanesh units within the Codex:  Chaops Space Marines.  Getting away from the Khornites just got dicey.  The Red Rain Formation Benefit is insane.  It basically says that before anything moves (in your turn), if you're engaged you get to pile in and attack for free with no response from the enemy allowed!  This takes away some of the worry about being strung out as you deploy them in large circles to avoid blasts.  Enemies charging them to take advantage of their defensive posture (and to steal the berzerkers charge attacks) will have a rude awakening when the Khorne berzerkers shred the unit that assaulted them, then move shoot and assault again!  SURPRISE! It might be the only time an enemy ever wants to assault the berzerkers and then use the Hit and Run rule on their own turn; because doing that avoids being assaulted three times in two combat phases!  Whether the enemy does or doesn't Hit and Run against it, its a nasty ability.

The destruction Kharne himself can cause doing this alone is pretty impressive when you consider the math and it also means that downing a WraithKnight is much easier because it doesn't get to fight back before you try to kill it an extra time.  That will come as at least some consolation to players who have seen the WraithKight inconveniently smash into, hide in combat and then free themselves from helpless flattened berzerkers.

So the Chaos Space Marines now have some pretty beefy Core choices to place inside the Black Crusade Detachment.  If you have experience using these Formations I would love to hear about it in the comments below.


  1. New stuff is a bit bland.

    Outside of havoc spam which is very underrated and similar one dimensional "iron warriors" themes. We've got nothing that shifts the balance in the favour of CSM.

    Except one thing. Access to the most overpowering psyk abilities from the imperial tree.

    I've already seen SM army people throwing adult tantrums when getting hit with the same psykery "bs" that's been shoved down our throats for years. It's great.

    The bullied kid at school got karate lessons. The bullies are still bigger, stronger and more plentiful but when lil karate hits at least it will hurt now.

    The "new" CSM powers is the most deserved groinkick to Imperial armies in at least 15 years of editions

  2. I haven't completed my article o nthe new Chaos Space Marine Psyker powers, but i will. The new stuff isn't bland in my opinion. As a dedicated Night Lords player, this was the perfect gift for me. I also beleive that the Objective Secured thing on the Chaos Warband is freaking huge. that is a very big deal. i am far more enthused than you on that because i play in so many tournaments and have seen the light time and again. You need to be able to beat people out on objectives to win and Chaos Space Marines have one fo the poorer choices when it comes to trying to control objectives. Their base troops are just not what you want to be forced to spam anymore than necessary in order to gain objectives. Eldar Jetbikes and Space Marine scouts and Tau Empire Crisis Teams and the list goes on can all affordably take those places o nthe map that need taking but Chaos Marines essentially have had to bulldoze things off with force instead of being able to just move to it if they wanted to and bull dozing is tough sledding against some things. I look forward to writing an article on the other options in the book aswell. I am really quite jazzed about Traitors hate.

  3. My son is a huge chaos player and he has been playing it hard. It might be a bit underwhelming but it is a huge step in the right direction. He tied for 3rd in a RTT this past weekend. He has over 100 Berzerkers and he is excited to be able to play them again. He has been putting some of the units in dreadclaws, this has really helped them and all that ignores cover from the dreadclaws compliments them well.

    I think the attacking in the movement phase is a bit underwhelming. It looks great on paper but hasn't really turned out that well in live runs. It means that either you got charged by something or charged something that survived a round of combat. The 'zerkers typically kill what they charge on the turn they charge it. If they are getting charged, it probably isn't something you want to be stuck in combat with. If the 'zerker champions had better CC options, it might work better, but as it now stands he hasn't really had any success with it. The extra 3" on charge is golden though.

  4. Well I would tell you that killing things on the charge is bad policy for berzerkers and killing them in the subsequent phase is very good policy. the new ability allows them to work in smaller units and get the same results. if they kill what they assault on the charge itself, they are exposed to enemy fire. So consider the unit sizes he is utilizing because they can now come down in size a bit and that points savings can be used o get something significant into the list.

  5. I've tried the new traitor hate book a few times. The core was probably the most standard one can come up with. I also added a termie formation just cause i like termies and have (had) faith in them.

    So, that's what i was running:

    Biker nurgle lord - nades, pf/lc, sigil
    Biker sorc - ml3, familliar
    2*5 marines with melta in dozer rhinos
    ac havoks
    plaz termicide
    bikers with 2 meltas

    termicide formation:
    nurgle termie lord with brand, fist and nades
    3 * plaz termicides

    2*5 nurgle spawns
    4 solo spawns (3-4 or 5 i don't remember now)

    The result was pretty much the same. Termies failed to do anything cause they either couldn't arrive in time, mishapped or simply did no damage. ld10 from free marks, obsec and hatred was decent. Havoks and bikers were ok. Marines did no damage but scored. Not sure if equipping them with melta or pretty much anything at all is worth it. Spawns and indeps won the game. Solo spawns proved to be good.

    There was another game with a different core (khornelord+khornebikers, 3 dreads, melta marines, termies and termicide) vs fun eldar. This game a squad of termies with lord arrived and basically won the game with double tap brand vs seer council w/o invis. But i'd not count on that happening too often. No reserve manipulations and no deepstike mitigations make termies very unreliable. Spawns are simply better 99% of the time.

    So, nothing has changed much, really. Spawns + indeps are good. The rest is background. I'm looking forward to trying out the flamer cultist formation and maybe zombie cultists after that.

    1. Hey thanks for the reports from the front! I am always impressed with Spawn. Dark Eldar can use Clawed fiends the same way and Farsight Enclavwes can do something similar. These kinds of fast moving units which are a drain on the enemies fire power if they want to stop them are the definition of why MSU has always been a viable mode to play in. obviously disorganized charges and thigns like that can help against such measures, but they are still inconvenient at the best of times for enemies to deal with.

      One thing i thought about was that the Terminator Formation allows them to shoot as soon as they appear. this has two positive effects. First, they fire BEFORE interceptor. Second, it allows them to use the shooting phase to spread out of there is no interceptor BUT there is artillery worth noting. This seems to scream "Take 10 of them" to me. Dropping in ten Nurgle Terminators in a unit is pretty beefy. I've done it but I nevr had the capability this offers. Now I can. this ability to spread out also makes the subsequent turn easier on you as far as getting multicharges on the enemy off. So while I have never been a fan of Terminators in most armies of any kind, I have to admit that the utility of that Formation intrigues me as when i HAVE used Terminators, i always took them in tens. Even though the enemy will kill some, they usually are forced to panic in the move phase and get away as fast as possible which can take some of the pressure off and just one bad round of fire is all they need to make the enemy pay and pay big. I do understand the limitations of Chaos Terminators but they aren't really expensive so I also sometimes think it's worth taking just because 2+ armor in general is a great thing in 40K. Now if Chaos Terminators would just get Storm Shields...

    2. Maybe that's just me or my enviroment but deepstrike w/o mitigations just seems to not work as good as it's needed most of the time. And i did try it out more than once. Tried it with chaos termies, solo mutilators and obliterators, ork stormboyz...probably the only heavydeepstrike list that has worked for me is a blood angel list with charge-from-deepstrike termies, locator pods and comms relay bunker. But this list is a whole different story.

      So, my main problem with termies is not their offense which is ok for the points but actually their reliability. There is no way to arrive w/o rolling toscatter unless you charge the key 1-st turn. And in this case you need a whole bunch of psychers to allow 1-st turn assault and a deathstar to not get demolished later on and also something to sit in deployment zone...and by that point termies are just not worth it. Better get raptors that are somewhat cheaper and can do more damage with their meltas and melee and not be a waste if they do happen to scatter just cause they're faster.

    3. Well if the concern is being able to reliably get them in, perhaps it is the strategy that needs to be looked at? What I mean by that is that I have (typically) viewed reserves coming in a little later to be in my general best interests. There are reasons. First is that the objectives don't need to be taken until the end of the game in normal games of 40K. Even in ITC missions, if you play the Primary Mission and focus on the Linebreaker secondaries, you can win in ITC with the same philosophy. I don't subscribe to the thought that I need to have the objectives in turns 1-3. I just need to be there in time to knock the sox off of the enemies where and when I want to, later in the game. Every game and opponent and terrain setup will be different so employing those precepts is obviously on a case by case basis. Yet in general I have to say, if its turn three when the Terminators show up, there is likely to be a lot less left of the enemy to challenge them and in any event. One hopes wisdom led you to kill those things that would most directly effect them in the meantime.

      If my only goal is to take an objective and cut the enemy off from any hope of retaking it later in the game, I can think of a lot worse nuclear deterrents than ten Terminators. Maybe they cost a fair amount... but if it works, will you care?

      Just food for thought.

      Also I agree: the Dimensional Key is somewhat ridiculous in how difficult it is to really make use of it. Good idea, terrible execution and growing worse as the Edition goes on and more armies gain this alpha strike thing like Wulfen have, Skyhammer has, The Tau Empire now has and even the Blood Angels now have.

    4. We play maelstorm most of the time, so the rule of thumb is to either be on board or arrive as soon and as close to the chosen destination as possible. Regular termies just don't do it well enough for the points. And the larger the game is, the more crowded it's going to be => more chances to mishap.

      In this regard i've noticed that chaos termies are somewhat ok in smaller 0.5-1k games rather than larger ones that we usually play (~1850).

      I'm yet to try raptor wing but they seem to be having all the same problems. At least talons don't scatter when dropped on cursed earth, so can be potentially useful for daemons.

    5. Pure Maelstrom missions do change all the rules for strategy. As you must be "frosty": and capable of taking objectives anywhere they may be and you score them immediately instead of as the ITC does it at the start of your next turn, it changes everything. thank you for the clarification there.

      I think that any time you can take units that can be anywhere they need to be, you are better off in Maelstrom. Drop units and Beast units like Necrons, Dark Eldar, Tyranids and so on that can rove and snag objectives as they come up in maelstrom all seem like good ideas, but I can see how ten of them would be somewhat overkill for pure Maelstrom missions and in those, i probably would not want to take a unit of ten either.

      This underscores the importance of qualifying advice by how people play though. Maelstrom is my FAVORITE way to play, but it is in the minority as far as how often we play it. I am a tournament goer and so Maelstrom is extremely rare as a pure format. The inclusion of a Maelstrom LIKE element to ITC missions does make me aware of the issues of Maelstrom even in tournaments but nonetherless, the rules of list building are a little different when you are going Maelstrom.


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