Saturday, December 26, 2009

Chaos Space Marines Units and Tactics: Chaos Lords




The Chaos Lord is one of those units that should be very effective on the table top. He should be the terror that we would expect to command the legions of the traitors devoted to the Dark Gods, but alas, for the most part, he is not.
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The Problem: Chaos Lords would be great but for one small problem ... they cannot take retinues like their Space Marine equivilents (hell that is what Chosen USED to be for). This means that since they are ICs and they don't (and shouldn't) have eternal warrior, they get smoked by any squad upgrade (nob, sgt ect.) weilding a powerfist. This is very annoying and kind of forces them to a life-time on the shelf.
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How to make them work: To make the Chaos Lord work, you have to make them killy enough that they and their squad can wipe a whole squad of enemy in a single combat ... then survive getting shot in the enemy's shooting phase. Damn. Or you could make them shooty ... but with the lack of options, you are pretty much talking about a tzeench lord with a Deathscreamer, only problem is that you get D6 shots and a 1 can ruin your day.
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How do you fix this problem? Remember that the lord is better in pairs. Spamming Lords works much like spamming anything else; it is harder to kill two of them before they start killing you. The Lord needs to ride with a squad and needs to be kitted to fit in with that squad, so if you run a rhino-heavy list, then skip the terminator armor, but if you run Land Raiders, don't leave home without it!
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The Weapons of War: Your Lords excel at two things; Close Combat (WS 6 and I5) and shooting (BS 5), so you will want to use that to your advantage. For those rhino squads, I recommend giving the lord the combi-melta or combi-flamer, depending on what the squad needs. BS 5 means he will likely make use of the combi-melta better than most things that can take it in our codex. The rhino squad, if you run yours like mine, will most likely be led by a guy with a powerfist. Use the lord to get you the I5 power weapon. The Daemon Weapon can be interesting, but can also be a pain for those of us who are dice-impaired, so a pair of lightening claws can be nice or just a plain power weapon - either way it will take your squads effectiveness up a level.
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For the Land Raider squads, remember that the LR is meant to be an ASSAULT vehicle, so I would give him termie armour and either lightening claws or a daemon weapon depensing on your tolerance for risk.
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What mark? The Chaos Lord can do well enough and cheap enough without paying for a mark. The mark of Slaanesh is cheap, but might not come in handy as he is already fast. The mark of Tzeentch is expensive for adding a little invul, but for folks who worry about their lord getting insta-killed, I can see it's uses. The Mark of Nurgle will bring up his toughness, but is also expensive and still won't protect him from S 8 insta-death. Finally, the mark of Khorne gives him an extra attack. I may be a bit partial, but the mark of khorne combined with lighteneing claws is one of my favorites for lots of guaranteed killing.
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Other ways to work the lord: I have seen him work out well in casual games on a bike with the mark of nurgle and a combi-weapon and powerfist. It looked like fun and since the opponent wasn't running uber-units of any sort, it worked out, but in a comp games he could of had a nurgle DP with warptime for the same price, not to mention the cost of the bikers.
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I have also made the Khorne Lord with Daemon weapon work and while it is boner-worthy to put out an average of 8 powered attacks a turn, it also sucks when you roll a 1 one-third of the time and then get popped by a lousy tac sergeant with a fist, not to mention that the cost for that lord was near equal a daemon prince with wings.
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The Verdict: The lord may work for some, but I would take Daemon Princes or sorcerors over lords any day of the week. DPs offer you an additional tough to kill target on the board that normally takes the heat off your other units and in return you get awesome powers, 12" movement and a close combat powerhouse. Sorcs give you a guy who can hide in squads and be useful from turn one throughout the games, not to mention the ability to insta-kill enemies (which will be even more awesome now that nids no longer have EW). The Lord simply cannot perform in these areas as well as the other HQs and to me will always be a 3rd teir choice for HQ in the current codex.

5 comments:

  1. A way to make Chaos Lords work is to play them in pairs.

    I put 2 of them in my list with Terminator Armour and Daemon Weapons.

    There's no need to buy any mark for them, as Str 5 and I 5 will kill almost anything. You may also get a maximum of 20 attacks if you roll well. It's cheap and useful, don't forget to add in a combi-melta for that 2+ to hit and 2+ to kill something too.

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  2. Good advice Alvin, spamming them can add to the effectiveness of both.

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  3. i run a list with two lords with Mark of Slaanesh and demon weapons, remember you can have two characters in a squad (no-where in the rules does it say you can join more than one character too a squad) whack them in a Rhino with a squad, its expensive but they pack a punch

    the mark of Slaanesh if worth it just to give you that bonus so your fighting on par with or before other lords and with a demon weapon you get so many attacks, it is worth it for only five points

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  4. I like to run my CL with a squad of Raptors as you can give him(the CL) wings. Which means if the raptors are killed and he wants to, he can still get in a transport as the wings fold up.

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  5. Great advice guys. This is what is great about the blogging community in our hobby! We can cover each others gaps! Thank you and keep it coming as this will stand for many others to see!

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