Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Problem with Chaos marines

The basic Chaos Marine easily has the best loadout of gear in the game, but it looks like that is about to change.

I'm not usually someone that gripes, but this seems to be stuck in my head. So I thought I share my thoughts on the topic.

The most recent rumors about Space Wolf Grey Hunters say that they come with Ubergrit (Bolter, Bolt pistol and close combat weapon)load-out and grenades in the new dex. Plus they have ATSKNF, Acute senses and Counter charge for 15 points a model.

Compared to Codex Space Marines that carry Bolters and bolt pistols with ATSKNF, Combat squads and combat tactics for basically 15 points.

Then compare this to the basic Chaos Marine who comes with the Ubergrit load-out and grenades, with Zero special rules for 15 points. The chaos marine has one higher LD and a CCW over the codex marine, but this does not make up for the 3 special rules all codex marines have. The icons don't count either as they are a buff that must be paid for and can be lost in game.

So if the rumor is true the Space Wolves are underpriced, Codex marines are about right and Chaos Marines are overpriced by a few points.

I know we are in a transition phase for 40k, but GW need to pick up the pace fixing armies. The new design philosophy seems to be killing the balance there was in the points system.

Here's what I don't understand. For ten thousand years the Chaos marines have been living on worlds infested by Hellish daemons and fighting an endless war; plus they were once a normal Space Marines. So why do they not have a special rule similar to ATSKNF or fearless?

All CSM's should be fearless or have a special rule that takes this into account, and the Icon of Chaos Glory should have a different effect.

With this all said I'm not giving up on my Chaos marines. They are still quite a good army, but I will be addressing this issue when I do the Soul Reapers Mini-dex.

So what are your thoughts?

Big Jim


  1. It's why I wouldn't really roll with regular CSM.

    I do agree that they could use either some points cut, or some bonuses. Or, hell, just fearless.

    I'd like to see them fix the Chaos marines, and maybe go back and give an honest look at the older marine codicexs, and/or figure out if they want to get around to the chaos legion codices.

    Or, of course, just e-do the CSM codex and slap all the options in there. It could do with a revamp of some more useful units in other slots; I'm looking at you, CSM Terminators.

  2. Nothing new with that, SW have out classed CSM for years.

    Did CSM actually pull ahead for a while - most of my opinions on Space Wolves come from 2003 :)

  3. Yeah, I know this has been a problem for years, but last CSM codex made it worse. As the re-rollable LD can now be shot off.

    I still thought CSM's were ok with their Ubergrit and higher LD as long as the re-roll was still active.

    I only noticed how bad the situation is upon reading and thinking about the new SW codex.

    2003 was part of the Dark days of SW Rhino rush Blood Claws spam; was it not?

    This was the only time in years of playing wolves that I felt dirty being associated with the SW and I was ashamed of my fellow SW players.

  4. Okay, as both a Wolves and CSM player I feel compelled to step in and play Devil's Advocate. I can't say you're flat out wrong, but I do think you're approaching things the wrong way.

    First, people seem to pick up the current C:CSM, read the Fluff, see the Legion specific characters, and get this idea in their head that the rules should be representative of an original Legion full of guys who've been battling for 10K+ years. Then reality strikes when they compare the rules to another book and go "WTF?!?, why does this 50 year old Ultramarine get better skills/wargear/vehicles than my guy 200 times as many years of experience?"

    The 3rd ed Chaos Codex tried making everyone happy by incorporating most everything extant. The end result was confusing, self-contradicting, exception happy, and overly complex. Anyone that wasn't a Chaos player had little hope of spotting errors or cheating. Plus the more complex the system, the more ability there was to abuse it. Some perfectly legal builds were as bad or worse that 2/9 Lash. The current Codex was an attempt to pull things back to a manageable level, but including just enough to placate the Legion players until a Legion Codex could be developed.

    I think there's only one major problem with the CSM codex... the name. It should be entitled Codex: Black Legion or Codex: Chaos Renegades. The basic CSM isn't representative of a veteran of the Horus Heresy... because he isn't meant to be. He's a more recent recruit: an initiate inducted with corrupted gene-seed, a recently fallen Renegade, or whatever. You aren't fielding the power and diversity of an original Legion. You're fielding a watered down hodge-podge raiding force operating at distance from the Eye of Terror. Your stock CSM is just as generic and watered down as your Generic Lesser Daemons.

    All of this being a long way of saying: I don't think CSMs need Fearless, especially not keeping all their current rules/wargear/toys without a change in cost. I think they're just fine right now, presuming you don't have unrealistic expectations based off Fluff. If you want to use Fluff to develop rules, then every Eldar player should roll a d6 at the start of the game... on a 2+ the Eldar side auto-wins and the player should field a cat's paw IG or Ork force instead. :-p

    Also, I think you're off-base on dismissing Icons as just "a buff" that can be lost. It'd be equally valid to say that of any upgrade. An Aspiring Champion with Power Fist and Combi-melta is technically just a buff that can be lost, but he'll make a HUGE difference when dealing with a Dreadnaught.

    As to the Grey Hunters? Okay, so the rumours say they're getting these great things... And? What other rules don't you know about that are balancing this out? Maybe they don't get Heavy Weapons and/or Transports? 2x Special Weapons doesn't mean nearly as much if you don't have the mobility to apply them. What about Combat Squads, free Veteran Sergeants and other toys? Boy, wouldn't it be nice if I could swap ATSKNF for an extra base attack or initiative? See, it works both ways...

    The same type of pre-complaining has aired with IG, Orks, and so on for every damned Codex for the last decade. Yet I've never seen it change what gets printed, the sky hasn't fallen, the shark remains unjumped, and I keep playing.

  5. With what rumors I've read on BoLS, I honestly think SM's are getting the short end of the deal here, but I'm going to bite my lip until I see the new codex.

  6. Dverning,
    While I appreciate your ability to keep an open mind, and agree that a vet sgt/asp champ is a buff that both armies can take. I think you missed the point, I am mostly talking about the Points value of the basic CSM. They are overcosted compared to the basic codex marine, if you cannot see that I don’t know what to tell you.

    There is no way that a CSM having a CCW and one higher LD makes up for 3 Special Rules, points wise.

    So even if we disregard the Fluff and the thought of giving them a Special rule, they need a points reduction.

    But, hey we can agree to disagree. ;-)

    I honestly agree, if the rumors pan out then SM's get the short end of the loyalist stick, but they are still better off than the basic CSM.

    As a SW vet going all the way back to the RT era,and a Chaos vet going back to Slaves of Darkness; I am perplexed about how I should feel about these rumors.

    On the one hand I am stoked that the Wolves are getting a buff! On the other hand I am sad that the cries of Cheese about the Wolves are going to skyrocket, and as a Chaos vet a little put off by the supposedly low price point.