Thursday, 20 May 2010

Is the Chaos Codex viable any-more? - Part 1

I like Chaos, Lets be honest the bad guys get all the best lines in all the movie's and being evil is sort of cool.

So why does the Chaos Codex suck so badly then?

Lets go through the book entry by entry as I have nothing better to do right now.

Unique HQ's
Abaddon - Too expensive, nothing really viable as an 'escort' for him.
Fabius Bile - Would be fine if 'Enhanced Warriors' was more reliable and could also effect Havocs, Chosen etc.
Huron - Not any better than a Sorcerer or Lord of the same points value.
Typhus - Too expensive, needs to be base toughness 5 and be an Eternal Warrior. Also 'The Destroyer Hive' which is meant to be a virus so lethal that it corrupted an entire Legion of Marines is represented by....He gets Frag and Blight Grenades...Really...That's the best you could fucking come up with Gav!!!
Kharn - Fucking awesome...If you can actually get him into combat...which you won't against any decently constructed 5th Ed. army because his transport will probably die on turn 1*.
* Admittedly you could put him in a Land Raider but they're 25 points cheaper than the Space Marine equivalent and about 75 points worse and will probably still die on turn 1.
Ahriman - 2nd most powerful Psyker in the Galaxy after Magnus, really? Not in this codex he's not.
Lucius - In my opinion he's slightly underrated, but suffers from the same problems as Kharn and Huron.

Daemon Prince - One of the 2 (3 if you include Kharn) useful HQ choices. Unfortunately the proliferation of 'Mech' has made Lash of Submission much less useful and torrenting a unit with 4 Wounds and at best a 3+ save to death is not tricky (I've done it with one Predator on more than 1 occasion). Best use is now imo Wings, Mark of Nurgle, Warptime at 175 points.
Chaos Lord - Not awesome enough unfortunately. Considering what becoming a Chaos Lord actually takes they should be the Close Combat characters in 40K (Think tooled up Wolf Lord and then some). Lord 'marks' should also be better than the standard ones.
Chaos Sorcerer - Useful as a Lash platform and slightly more useful as the addition of a Familiar gives you access to a 2nd ability. Best set-up imo is Mark of Slaanesh, Lash of Submission, Familiar, Warptime with perhaps Meltabombs to take advantage of Warptimes re-roll to hit.

Viable Units - Kharn, Daemon Prince or Chaos Sorcerer.

Chosen - Okay as a suicide Meltagun unit, shit at anything else.
Chaos Terminators - Fairly Cheap. Again only real use is as what the internet delightfully refers to as 'termicide' (3-4 man unit deep strikes with Combi-Meltas, kills a tank then dies to enemy shooting).
Possessed - Moving on................Okay, if you insist........If random ability was rolled for before deployment and they were 5 points cheaper then maybe, but it isn't and they're not so they're crap.
Chaos Dreadnought - Either give it a Multi-Melta, use it like the Marine equivalent and hope you never roll a 1 or give it an extra Dreadnought Close Combat arm and run towards the enemy as fast as you can and hope you reach something you can tear to pieces.

Viable Units - Terminators and Dreadnoughts (If your feeling lucky**)
** How I and the RAW think the 'Fire Frenzy' rule works and how most people actually play it differ, but that debate needs a post of it's own ;-)

Chaos Space Marines - They're not bad. Unfortunately they're not as good as the 'Cult' units.
Plague Marines - The No.1 Chaos Troop choice. Hard to kill and can take 2 specials at only 5 men, both of which things make them awesome.
Noise Marines - A solid enough choice. However, like most Chaos units they start to get expensive once you tool them up. Blastmasters are great (if a little overpointed) as is the Doom Siren. The downside is they aren't as survivable as Plague Marines or as good in a scrap as Khorne Berzerkers but they're a decent enough 3rd Choice or if your trying to justify dual Lash by claiming your army is themed around Slaanesh, lol.
Khorne Berzerkers - They kill 90% of the infantry units they assault and then die to return fire in the enemies turn. Also holding objectives when your ranged firepower is a bunch of Bolt Pistols is quite a challenge. They also need something to pop the enemies transport for them and effective, ranged, anti-tank is one of many big weakness of the Codex in general.
Thousand Sons - They get AP3 bolters which isn't as awesome any-more due to the proliferation of cover saves in 5th ed. They also have to take a 1W, 70 point minimum sorcerer who will be useless vs. Eldar runes or anybody with psychic defence (which these days is every fucker) and they're slow.

Viable Units - Chaos Space Marines (In an appropriate build), Plague Marines, Khorne Berzerkers (If supported), Noise Marines.

Fast Attack (This shouldn't take long)
Chaos Bikers - Suicide Melta units
Chaos Raptors - Need to be able to take 3 specials or have option for Combi-Melta on the Champion (as do Chaos Bikers tbh)
Chaos Spawn - Slow and Purposeful...In the 'Fast Attack' section...really? Fearless + No armour save = Dead in combat.

Viable Units - None.

Heavy Support
Chaos Havocs - Don't make them too expensive and they'll be fine (that means Missile Launchers or Autocannons, not Lascannons) also useful in a 'Rhino Rush' style list with Meltaguns or Flamers. Can also effectively be made a scoring unit by giving them an Icon and buying a unit of Lesser Daemons (Lesser Daemons arrive from reserve, place them in cover with the Havoc Squad, Go to ground with them the moment anything shoots at them). Hopefully next edition they'll follow the current Codices trends and their weapons will drop in points.
Obliterators - The 'Swiss Army Knife' of Heavy Support units, Lacks a ranged anti-infantry weapon but other than that they can do anything. Only downside is when they're up against Armour 14 as they're not really mobile enough to get into short Melta range without suicidal deep strikes.
Chaos Predator - Identical to the Marine equivalent fits exactly the same role. With a Havoc Launcher added it actually works better than the Marine Version for the anti-infantry role and is still worth considering even with the 15 point 'Chaos Tax' added to the price.
Chaos Vindicator - Great in principle if it wasn't for the fact that most viable Chaos builds involve getting in close and personal to the enemy. So you get 1 shot with it and then your as much danger to yourself as to the enemy. Daemonic Possession is a no brainer upgrade (Possession is only 5 points more expensive than Extra Armour and on something that fires a Large Blast the loss of BS is more than made up for by ignoring 1-2 on the vehicle damage table).
Chaos Defiler - Good in a Chaos MC list, needs to be Armour 13 really. Give them 2 additional Dreadnought Close Combat arms or 1 and keep the Twin-Linked Heavy Flamer. Don't forget you have Smoke Launchers and can Fleet. Take 3 or take none.
Chaos Land Raider - The loss of the 'Power of the Machine Spirit' equivalent really hurt these. 25 points cheaper than the Marine equivalent and about 50*** points less good. It's a vehicle with ranged weapons that (in a Chaos army) will be charging into enemy Melta range at high speed to deliver choppy death. Hopefully we'll get an inventive Chaos variant next codex.
*** I may have said 75 points worse earlier but I was probably exaggerating to make a point.

Viable Units - All have their place in an appropriate build.

Summoned Daemons
Greater Daemon - Even adding the price of the Champion you explode from it's a reasonable priced CC killing machine. Dies to torrent of fire just like a Daemon Prince once it's out of combat, however. Works best in a MC style list.
Lesser Daemons - Cheap scoring unit.

Viable Units - Both have their place.

Though you can throw together a Battleforce army if you like there aren't many 'competitive' Chaos army builds. Once you skim the good stuff out of the book you can see why most competitive players ended up using some variant of this.

'The' Tournament List.
Every man and his dog used to use this in tournaments. Given the increases in survivability given to vehicles in 5th Ed. Obliterators have lost some of their 'punch' at range. Now any decent 5th Ed. army should be able to destroy the Marines Transports and torrent the Princes to death first turn.

Daemon Prince, Wings, Mark of Slaanesh, Lash (155)
Daemon Prince, Wings, Mark of Slaanesh, Lash (155)

Plague Marines x5, Meltaguns x2, Rhino (170)
Plague Marines x5, Meltaguns x2, Rhino (170)
Plague Marines x5, Meltaguns x2, Rhino (170)

Obliterators x3 (225)
Obliterators x3 (225)
Obliterators x3 (225)

Total - 1495

The sad truth is that Most Chaos Legions can be better represented by other codices.

World Eaters - Blood Angels or Space Wolves
Night Lords - Blood Angels
Iron Warriors - Space Marines

The list goes on but you get the idea.

There are a few different viable Chaos army lists that exist that various blogs and websites have put forward some of which I've tested out which I'll discuss in the next post (this one is a bit bloody long now).


  1. i maintain that an all nurgle build is still viable too

  2. I mentioned Nurgle Daemon Princes as a viable option in the HQ section.
    Do you mean only using Nurgle units or would you allow yourself Obliterators and the like?

  3. After a rant about Fire Frenzy that I'm posting shortly I'll start work on the 'Viable Chaos Lists' section. If you can come up with a decent pure Nurgle list you'll probably be better off posting it in that Post rather than this one (but it's up to you).

  4. This has crushed my hopes and dreams for owning a Chaos army. It seems like Games Workshop thinks the Chaos Gods are like drugs; you get worse than you were, cost more to cover the cost of drugs, then die.

  5. @ Kyle - I'm afraid that 'Counts-As' is the best way of representing the forces of Chaos at the moment.


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