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New Chaos Space Marines Codex Review (6th Edition) - Part 2

Updated on June 23, 2016

Overview: Part Deux

Welcome to the second part of my Codex: Chaos Space Marines review. If you have not read the first part to this article, where I review the physical book itself, the HQ, Troops, and Elite sections of the Army Roster, then please click here: New Chaos Space Marines Codex (6th Edition) Part 1.

In this article I will look at the Fast Attack and Heavy Support options of the Army Roster and discuss some chaosy goodness found throughout. My goal is to write a more detailed analysis of some key units (the Heldrake comes to mind), in other articles where I can give them the word count that they deserve. Without further ado . . .

What's the Rush?

"Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire!"

Fast Attack

  • Chaos Bikers: 20 points a pop and can get marks and icons.
  • Chaos Spawn: units of up to five, move as Beasts, S5 and T5, can get marks.
  • Raptors: jump infantry with Fear, can get marks and icons
  • Warp Talons: twin lightning claws, Daemon rule, and can Blind units on deepstrike.
  • Heldrake: our Flyer unit. Decent anti-air attacks, but can be amazing anti-infantry!

I think that the Fast Attack section of our Army Roster got a big boost with this new codex. First, let's look at Chaos Bikers. For only five points more than a regular chaos marine (with added cc weapon), we get a Toughness 5 marine, a twin-linked boltgun, a 12" movement, Hammer of Wrath attacks, and can Turboboost to get across the board (and a 5+ jink save). That's quite a bargain!

Let us now look at what happens to Chaos Bikers when we add Marks and Icons to them:

  • Mark of Khorne/Icon of Wrath: We get Rage (+2 A on charge), Counter-Assault, and Furious Charge (+1 Str on charge). So on the first turn of a combat, we have S5 and T5 marines with 4 attacks each + Hammer of Wrath.
  • Mark of Nurgle/Icon of Despair: Toughness 6 chaos marines! . . . That also cause Fear (meh). This does mean that normal marines are going to have to roll 6's to wound them with shooting or in melee. Not too shabby.
  • Mark of Slaanesh/Icon of Excess: Initiative 5 chaos marines with Feel No Pain. Combine this with the Hammer of Wrath attacks, and this unit will bring a lot of hurt before most enemies can ever strike back. With power armor and Feel No Pain, your bikers will save against standard wounds 7/9 of the time (1/3 failure * 2/3 failure = 2/9 failure rate = 7/9 success rate).

The same general idea can be had for Raptors. These jump infantry are only 17 points a piece, so are a bit cheaper. However, they can also Deep Strike, have a smaller footprint than bikers, and cause Fear standard. Both Bikers and Raptors can take the Veterans of the Long War, which gives them Hatred (Space Marines) and +1 Ld.

Warp Talons are the new guys on the block. They are basically Daemonic Raptors. They have the Daemon special rule, giving them Fear and a 5+ invulnerable save. Their real advantage, however, is that they each come with a pair of lightning claws! If you give them Veterans of the Long War, they are re-rolling hits (versus Space Marines) on the first round and re-rolling wounds, all at AP3. These Daemonic jump troops can also take Marks (see above), but cannot take icons (boo, hiss!) These guys are 30 points a pop, though, so be careful with them! To help them survive, they have an ability called Warpflame Strike, which is a Blind attack on any unit within 6" of where they deep strike. Remember the rules for Blind, though, the target has to fail an Initiative test in order to be Blinded (WS1 and BS1), so it's a gamble to rely upon it.

The Heldrake is a beast of a unit. It's all the rage across the Internet, being the only Flyer in our unit list (with the exception of flying Daemon Princes). It was rumored to be an excellent anti-flyer unit, but we're not so sure on that one. I do know for a fact that it can kill buckets of infantry.

First, the Heldrake has lots of special rules on it. It has Daemonic Possession, a 5+ invulnerable save, and can re-grow lost hull points on a 5+ every turn (It Will Not Die special rule). It can be armed with a Hades autocannon (heavy 4, Str 8, AP4) or the Baleflamer (template (torrent), Str 6, AP3). Also, it can Vector Strike at Str 7. I will tell you from new experience that the Baleflamer is a sickening weapon . . . It. Kills. Marines. In my first game with the Heldrake, it killed two Chaos Vindicator tanks and about 10 chaos marines in one turn! Keep reading this article and make sure to check out my detailed review of the Heldrake posted further down!

Bringing Out the Big Guns

"Shoot to thrill, play to kill, got my gun at the ready 'gonna fire at will!"

Heavy Support

  • Havocs: The first unit that can take Flak missiles to shoot down Flyers!
  • Obliterator: They can be given Marks now, but must switch weapons every turn.
  • Defiler: 4 hull points, 5+ invulnerable, regrow hull points, and up to 7 attacks on a charge!
  • Forgefiend: 2 Hades autocannons or up to 3 ectoplasma cannons (Str 8 plasma cannon!)
  • Maulerfiend: 12" movement, ignores difficult terrain, and is really good at melee with vehicles and buildings.
  • Chaos Land Raider: 10 model transport, same as before; no variants.
  • Chaos Vindicator: that demolisher cannon is still nasty!
  • Chaos Predator: standard, basic tank.

Every section of the Army Roster is crowded with good choices and Heavy Support is no exception. Where to begin?

I love that Obliterators can now be given Marks. Give them Marks of Nurgle and they will be Toughness 5, which makes them immune to Insta-kill from Lascannons and Dark Lances. Or give them Marks of Tzeentch and they will have a 4+ invulnerable. The downside is that they lost Fearless and that they have to switch their shooting weapons every turn. You can't spam plasma guns or plasma cannons every turn. However, they can use Assault Cannons, which are nice.

There is an argument around the Internet about whether Defilers are worth it any longer. They are now 195 points without upgrades. Let's look at this: for 220 points, you can have a Defiler with 4 hull points, a 5+ invulnerable save, regrow hull points on 5+; armed with a battle cannon, 3 power fists, and a power scourge - which gives it 6 attacks (7 on charge) and will subtract D3 from opponent's Weapon Skill. It's only AV 12, though . . . so one lucky lascannon could take it out. You be the judge.

The Forgefiend is one of the new guys on the block. It has all the same defensive abilities as the Defiler (for 20 points cheaper), but it only has 3 hull points. It can pump out 8 strength 8 shots, though! Even at only BS 3, you are likely to get 4 hits. Against AV 12 armor, this is likely 2 glancing or penetrating hits per turn. That's not too bad, really! It's Daemonforged ability (shared by all the Daemon Engines) allows to even re-roll To Wound or Armor Penetration rolls once a game. You can also trade out the Hades autocannons with Ectoplasma Cannons, which are 24" ranged, Str 8 plasma cannons . . . and you can buy a third for 25 points. That's a lot of Gets Hot! rolls to avoid every turn, but hey, you can always regrow those hull points, right?

The Maulerfiend is the other newcomer. It's basically the Forgefiend, but it trades out all those shooting weapons for a pair of power fists and either 2 magma cutters or lasher tendrils. The magma cutters give you additional auto-hits in melee (if you hit at least once with your other weapons) with the Armorbane rule (2d6 armor pen), while the lasher tendrils subtract attacks from anyone in base (-2 attacks if you have 2 sets, to a minimum of 1 attack). The real boost it gets is that the Maulerfiend moves 12", ignores difficult/dangerous terrain, and gets +1 armor penetration versus buildings (fortifications). It will get to combat quick and is probably best at killing things like Land Raiders or Imperial Bastions.

All the other vehicles are roughly the same as they were in the previous codex, with the same options. One interesting note is that the Dirge Caster now prevents enemy units within 6" from firing Overwatch. Also Daemonic Possession on a transport runs you the risk of having a guy eaten every turn, but at the benefit of repairing a hull point. Warpflame Gargoyles is a vehicle upgrade that gives Soul Blaze (continuing Str 4 hits) on all your weapons.

New Units in Codes: Chaos Space Marines

Which new unit are you most excited to field?

See results

Final Thoughts

"In the end . . . the pain we take is equal to . . the pain . . we make."

There we have it: the 6th edition Codex: Chaos Space Marines. We now have an updated book that gives us, not only a host of brand new units and options, but makes us rethink our existing tactics and options. Our independent characters are very powerful and our infantry units range from cheap cannon fodder, to some very elite units with tons of options. With the combination of Marks and Icons, we might be tempted to upgrade every possible unit. This is fine! However, it's also nice to run multiple units of basic chaos marines and rely on their very decent stat line to carry the battle.

There doesn't seem to be a single "instant win" unit that every player will take. Everything feels like it has a balance. All those Daemon Engines are hard to kill, but they are only AV 12. The Daemon Prince is deadly in combat, but it can die from even concentrated small arms fire.

I also like that we've been given lots of options to counter threats in the 6th edition "Meta-game". Are flyers giving you problems? Bring Havocs with Flak missiles and a Heldrake with a Hades autocannon. Being outnumbered by horde units? Templates and blast markers abound! If killing Space Marines is your thing, give everything Veterans of the Long War (to get Hatred), and take every AP3 weapon you can find - we have lots of them.

Why not take the poll located to the right and tell the world which new unit you are most excited to field. There are so many new options!

If you haven't played Chaos Space Marines in a long while, it's time to pull them out from the back of your closet and build an army list. It will take some experimenting to sort through all the options, but I guarantee you will have fun doing so. In my first game with the new codex (chaos marines versus chaos marines!), I witnessed some very cool moments:

  • dual Daemon Princes vector striking a unit of chaos marines into near oblivion in a single turn.
  • Noise Marines destroying other marines trying to hide behind a Aegis Defense Line (AP3 blastmaster, ignores cover).
  • A Daemon Prince chewing through a mob of Chaos Cultists, only to see the cultists pass a leadership with double-ones and stay in the fight!
  • A single plasma gun firing during Overwatch and killing two Chaos Bikers before they could complete the charge!
  • A Heldrake surviving a round of shooting due to a single 5+ invulnerable save . . . then proceeding to kill 30+ marines and 2 Chaos Devastator tanks over 3 more rounds of gaming.
  • Abaddon the Destroyer dueling two Daemon Princes, killing one before finally succumbing to the attacks of the other (but leaving it with only a single wound left!).

It was an awesome game and I know many more are to come. As always, please take a look at my other Warhammer 40k articles (linked to below), and feel free to leave any comments or suggestions below this article. I always answer and I've had many readers in the past provide new insight to rules and combinations.

Comments? Suggestions? Post below!


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    • murphy80 profile image

      Murphy 3 years ago from Florida

      A walker that moves or is stationary can always fire two weapons in the shooting phase. So yes, as far as I know :)

    • profile image

      FeelNoShane 3 years ago

      If I remain stationary with the defiler can I still shoot its weapons as normal (ie not snapfire)?

    • murphy80 profile image

      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      A sad event on both occasions :) I heard running standard chaos marines with Mark of Khorne and the Furious Charge banner and you're good to go :)

    • profile image

      Mcnasty 4 years ago

      sadly, nothing is left of the poor gw intern that tried to hit the berserkers with a nerd bat.

    • murphy80 profile image

      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      Thank you for the read! I hope to have some articles about the new Chaos Daemons, too, which make great allies to you Chaos Marines (being battle brothers, and all). Keep gaming!

    • profile image

      Swamps 4 years ago

      Brilliant stuff. This has made my decision final, CSM it is! Going to buy Dark Vengeance and dive feet first back into the hobby. Can't wait to get painting! Thank you for the wonderful articles!

    • murphy80 profile image

      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      I've been running a pack of raptors recently and I really like what they do when the 5 of them actually make it into combat!

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      BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD 4 years ago

      good article 1 thing though i have a pack of warp talons/rapters wich are better

    • murphy80 profile image

      Murphy 5 years ago from Florida

      You wont regret it! They are a tough army with flexible options. I don't win every game with them, but I feel competitive every time; and I have fun with my units!

    • profile image

      Jeff 5 years ago

      I've been looking into Chaos for some time now, and this cements it: Chaos Space Marines will be the next army I work on.

    • murphy80 profile image

      Murphy 5 years ago from Florida

      Thank you, Evan. I've had good luck with the new Chaos codex. I've not won every game, by any means, but I've felt competitive even in the battles I've lost.

    • profile image

      Evan 5 years ago

      Nice review I'm looking into buying a new army

    • murphy80 profile image

      Murphy 5 years ago from Florida

      Thanks, Sam. I couldn't do it without readers, so hats off to you, too!

    • profile image

      Sam :) 5 years ago

      Wow bravo great great review i wish there were more people in the world like you thanks that was great :)