Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Chaos Space Marines in 6th Edition: Nurgle, Tzeentch and Slaaneshi Marked CSM

Old School here with another edition of Chaos Space Marines in 6th Edition. Last time we looked at Regular CSM troop options and regular CSM marked by Khorne. Today we will follow that up by talking about regular CSM marked with Nurgle, Tzeentch and Slaanesh. Let's start with Nurgle ...

Nurgle Marked CSM

Nurgle Marked CSM will cost you 16 points a piece base, but will provide you with T5 power armor, which is pretty nice for the cost of a regular tactical Marine. Now that your Marines are tougher, what do you do with them?

Veterans and Icons

When you consider how you want your tough unit to act, you will really be looking at the Icon of Vengeance and Veterans of the Long War. I didn't mention the Icon of Despair because with half the armies in the game running And They Shall Know No Fear and many other units being fearless (Daemons and Nids in Synapse), it really doesn't do anything, but add 1 to your combat res.

So with that being said, the Icon of Vengeance isn't too bad and if you want a unit to sit in the backfield and stubbornly hold objectives while providing fire support, this isn't a bad choice. Veterans of the Long War will will give you a boost in leadership and will also be cheaper, so I would really just balance how much cost you are willing to tolerate between these two options. Most of the time, I would take Veterans to keep them cheap.


When Upgrading your T5 Nurgle CSM, you want to look at how you will run them. Will you be going on foot with 10 or more? Will you ride 10 deep in a rhino or 9 in a rhino with a character? Are you planning to do a horde?

If you plan to move forward into the enemy deployment zone or just into midfield, I would say take these guys with two special weapons and call it a day. You may also want to buy close combat weapons at this point since you will likely get into some fights. Melta can be good if you think tanks are big in your area or if you plan to do the charging (T5 Marines with high LD or Fearless are pretty mean). If you just want midfield control, plasma will work out well and give you the benefit of rapid fire AP 2.

If your plan is to hang out in the backfield, I would run an autocannon or another heavy anti-tank/ transport weapon and a plasma gun. This squad will take a lot of fire to move, unless the enemy is dedicating serious ordnance or missile attention, which could work out for the rest of your army if it is filled with killy stuff like bikes and terminators!


Nurgle Champs are tough and while not as tough as Plague Marines, they may be able to survive going last in a challenge with an opponent, so if you are willing to gamble on their toughness saving them, axes are good for a cheap S5 power weapon attack at I1, powerfists are expensive, so I am not sure if I would put the points down for it. If you aren't willing to gamble, then a power weapon is always good. Don't forget that you get access to combi weapons that can compliment your squads' load out as well.

Overall, large units led by a Nurgle Lord have the potential to be near Death Star potential. Smaller, fearless squads with autocannon can be great in the back field and aggressive units aren't bad either. I would say that I always recommend cultists to soak up troop slots so you can afford to make CSM units (if you take them) tailored to what you need them to do.

Slaanesh CSM

Slaaneshi CSM are the S&M little brothers o the Noise Marines and like their buddies, they have I5, which has a special appeal for those who want to harm the average Initiative profile before it hurts them. That being said, nobody is running these guys without the prospect of close combat in mind. This means you are looking for mid field control or the ability to take the fight into enemy territory.

For 15 points a model, they are coming in just under the cost of a Noise Marine, but realistically, you will want to have close combat weapons and maybe even an Icon or Veterans of the Long War. The question becomes "Do you want to just get Noise Marines as troops instead?" If not, it is likely because you need these guys to have special weapons or you did not take a Slaaneshi Lord. At the end of the day, what are you taking this unit for?

Icons and Veterans of the Long War

Since we have established that this squad is meant for aggression, then you need to make a choice on Icons and veterans. Icon of Vengeance will make them fearless and give them a point of combat resolution, which is nice, but so is the prospect of having Feel No Pain with the Icon of Excess.

At the end of the day, I think the Icon of Excess is better since it will make you more survivable to the kind of people that you will face. If you are in combat with a serious combat unit, you are going to eat crap anyway. This unit is meant to beat up other peoples' troops and non-CC specialists, so Feel no pain and high initiative on a Space Marine frame will likely carry you through combat and most anti-infantry shooting, minus battle or demolisher cannons.

Sprinkle in Veterans of the Long War if you want, but I don't feel it is too necessary.


If you plan on running out in an assault heavy list, the melta guns and close combat weapons are the way to go. Target weaker units or pay the price.

If you are planning to get into mid field, shoot and mix it up if need be, then bolters and plasma would be great.

Either of these units will benefit from a rhino to get them where they are going.


Slaaneshi Champs will want to take advantage of their higher I. I would recommend a power weapon and maybe a combi weapon. If you face off with eldar, hopefully your toughness will keep you safe.

Overall, Slaaneshi Marines are pretty good, but I would rather take Noise Marines in almost every case. I will say that this unit can be great in midfield roles though and if you only pick on units that you can take, then they will do well in combat too.

Tzeentch CSM

What can I really say about Tzeentch CSM? Without really wanting a fluff based force, why would you take them? I can't see why I would pay 2 points per model for a 6+ invul and even with the tricks people are trying to pull with the landing pad, I just don't see Tzeentch CSM as the squad to take.

If somebody really want to discuss this unit further, I will address it through the comments section. I know that some folks want to take the Icon of Flame or somebody out there may want to satisfy fluff, but I would rather address that concern specifically in comments than in this article.

Well, that is it for now. Chaos Space Marine offer a lot of choices and how many you take and how you take them will influence the overall tone of your army. I personally prefer Cultists to serve as my scoring units with extra scoring support from a Cult Marine unit, but I think Khorne Marines, Nurgle Marines and to a lesser extent Slaaneshi Marines have a place in the CSM army list and they may work fine for you. It depends on what you want to do.

Chaos Marines in general can be geared out and kitted to fit nearly any situation and that in itself is pretty nice to have in a troop choice. I recommend that you get out there and try out the combinations that appeal to you and then tweak it to your taste - if you want to run this unit at all.

Feedback is always welcome, as is actual experience with these units as that will help readers benefit from ALL of our collective experience with this unit choice.


  1. Awesome summary!

    I always dreamt of a Nurgle Army, although I don't know whether it is feasible or not....

    Great writeup

    1. Zaphod, I run a Nurgle army and they are very fun to convert and play. But, rather than standard CSM I run them with a Nurgle Lord to get the PMs as troops. That higher toughness and FNP is really nice. If you are going to run CSM and like to convert, go Pappa Nurgle!

  2. The MoS for me is for the Chosen...

    10 Chosen / x2 Power mauls / x2 Power swords / Meltagun / MoS / IoE / VoLW / Chosen Champion with power sword / Rhino (375 pts)

    Those are 30 CC Attacks base(6 +1S AP4, 9 S AP3) and can shoot a melta with pistol or their boltguns...

    In the other hand a unit of 10 Noise Marines / x10 CCW / IoE / VoLW / Noise Champion with Power Sword and Doom Siren / Rhino (295 pts). It's only 80 pts (for the special weapons).

    The Noise Marine are 21 CC Atacks base (3 S AP3) without melta shoots but with fearless...

    I think that the chosen can do a better jop!

    1. Yeah, but at that point why not take Terminators with MoS instead of Chosen? Comparable points cost and a 2+/5++. IMHO I don't really see much point to assault Chosen, except for ease of transport. However, since you want to charge after disembarking anyway you probably want them emerging from a Land Raider, so again, why not just Terminators?

      Chosen are really superior as shooters rather than fighters, since five can take special weapons.

      Noise Marines have their place in a list since they are Troops. The only way Chosen are Troops is if you're taking Abaddon. Not a bad choice, but a pricey one and not for any but the larger point limit games.

    2. Trent, I echo your concerns and also would like to remind everyone that this article is strictly about CSM as troop choices. So I am really only talking about literally the Chaos Space Marine troops choice.

  3. You take the Icon of Vengeance for your mid-field units so they won't get run-down in melee. You take Veterans of the Long War for your backfield units so they can still Go To Ground. Repeat this mantra until it is burned into your skull.

    You take Slaanesh Marines over Noise Marines because Noise Marines can't take melta weapons, which is something that is nice to have on a mid-field unit, which you will be because you are built for melee with moderate mid-range shooting. Icon of Excess is too expensive for 10 guys, and you want 10-man squads because if you take any more, you're losing out on weapon slots, which is... bad. Play Nurgle marines if you want a tough scoring unit.

    Tzeentch marines are a real shame. With bolters, a plasmagun and an autocannon, the Icon of Flame would have been a really cool add-on. Too bad you have to buy the stupid mark of Tzeentch to get it. "Wee! 2 points for a save that's irrlevant because cover saves exist! Either that or I got charged by a melee unit, which wil kill me regardless!" I -might- consider the Mark of Tzeentch had it been 1 point per model.

    1. Tim, while I agree with most of your sentiments, the idea with these articles is identical to my old 5th edition series, which isn't to preach the most competitive build, but rather give any player some ideas to run with - I do mean ANY player.

      If I wanted to talk top tables, I would just grab a couple of my buddies from that circle and talk about it with them, because it really isn't talk for everyone since it really won't apply to them.

      Honestly, for me, I take cultists as troops and maybe a unit or two of cult Marine choices, if I have an appropriate marked lord. I get special weapons and balls-out killing power from the rest of my slots with Terminators, bikes, Heldrakes, Havocs and Oblits.

      When I run CSM, I prefer Nurgle or unmarked, but I want to try any and everything and talk a little about it, so here it is, consumable for everyone from the new guy to the average player.

    2. Bah, gedoudda here you, with your moderate approaches and your playing for fun and your crazy rap music and your colored shirts. Bo back to San Francisco!

    3. *Go. Although I hope that was obvious.

  4. I don't care what you think, I didn't go onto this website just to see my favourite god get insulted by a retard who cant even put a list of a 1000pts Tzeentch army for people who like Tzeentch and then you can smack talk about them you jerk

    Reply back at if you have the gut!