Chaotic Tactica - Chaos Lords

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The biggest, baddest guy in the entire army. Treat the Chaos lord like you would treat the queen piece in chess: the most powerful thing you have in a fight, the thing your opponent want to remove at all cost, but you only get one. (well, unless you spring for two. But then you'll have no friends)

Lets look at what he come with as standard first, then we'll look to how we can beef him up.

Bolter, chainsword and bolt pistol: Ahh. The ever faithful boltgun. It probably won't do a thing all game unless you are fighting imperial guardsmen or other races with paper thin armour. But it is worth mentioning that unless you take terminator armour you always have that bolter available for a cheeky shot at range if you have lightning claws. The bolt pistol and chainsword combo gives you that much needed +1 attack and anything you purchase is just an upgrade, bar the power fist. Not much to say really, just remember that you have that bolt pistol tucked away in it's holster for a reason and you'll be fine.

Frag and Krak grenades: Nice to see that these beauties come as standard now - time and time again in the old version of the codex Ive seen daemon princes go down after charging into cover just because the owning play didn't buy a 1pt upgrade. You may laugh at the thought of such a small item being so important - but it is! Those frag grenades are even better now - we get to strike at initiative value when charging into assault. Just goes to show: "you can run but you can't hide!" Oh, and the Krak grenades are nice. I guess.



Only problem is - what big shiney toys do you give him? The thing to bear in mind is that shooting isn't his strong point. Granted the deathscreamer can do some damage, but idealy you want your big boss in a melee screwing with the enemies battle plans.

So, lets dig around in the toy box and see whats what.

Power weapon: How simple of a weapon do you want? If you are wanting to save on the cost of your HQ but still be able to find a use for the points you paid, grab a power weapon and stick him in an assaulting unit and treat him as an upgraded Aspiring champion. After all, a minimum of 4 attacks with his high initiative and weapon skill is nothing to laugh at - he could potentially kill 4 power armourd space marines before they attack. Although that doesn't sound quite as impressive as the 17 or so attacks from the bloodfeeder, it will seriously put the imperials on the backfoot before they even strike.

Power fist: Im personally not too keen on the power fist - it wastes your lords higher initiative and leaves him vulnerable to any attacks that might kill him before he gets chance to strike. Whilst striking at strength 8 is certainly handy for taking out a tank, there are other, more efficient ways of dealing with such a threat. The main bonus to this would be instant killing enemy characters if you don't want to take the mark of slaanesh and a daemon weapon. However, if you are going up against a beefy character (read - one you can't take out with a bunch of power weapon attacks) then the chances are he is going to kill you before you swing. Best bet if you like power fists would be to leave it for the regular space marines squads or terminators.

Lightning claws: Simple rule when dealing with lightning claws - always take two. That extra attack is more than helpful so save the plasma weapon for the squad that the lord is with. If you are trying to avoid taking a daemon weapon (for example - you're a nurgle devotee) then these puppies are the way to go as far as combat is concerned - no need to worry about no longer having daemonic strength from the good old days as that T4 space marine will be facing re-rolls, and the power weapon status will finish him off. Again, this is the way to go if you aren't looking at daemon weapons. And yes, you are going to be looking at getting close combat goodness. Why? For the simple fact that he is the best model in the army - he's always going to be in the thick of it and as such will need to be in tip top fighting condition. You can't do that lugging around a shooting weapon, with anything but a power sword and plasma pistol it means that you are sacrificing a precious attack for a ranged ability that you will only really get to use once per game.

What sounds more impressive - getting of a melta gun shot, or being able to stand toe-to-toe with the big boys of the 40k galaxy? Although that said, why stand your ground when you can domminate?

Daemon weapons: Ahhh! Now we get to the whole point of taking a Lord. Hell, the whole point of taking a chaos army as far as I am concerned. You get to play around with hell forged blades with the trapped spirits of daemons and destroy the angels of death with impunity. And these oh so magnificent items are just the way to go around doing it. Theres only three real reasons not to take a daemon weapon:

  • Coward!- You're just simply scared of fluffing your attack roll and winding up with a 1. Yes, you can practically guarantee that at some point, in some dire circumstance you will innevitably roll it and wind up on the wrong side of an Avatars sword. But thats part of the risk of taking daemon weapon! Hell, it's part of the risk in being a Lord in the first place - risk spawndom and death in hopes of chaos Glory!
  • Cheapskate- Quite obvious really, if you are the type that likes to scrimp every point out of the army list, sneak in an extra heavy weapon here and there then you may not want to take a daemon weapon. But I don't know about you - but a bloodfeeder is able to kill more enemies in one round of combat than two lascannons shooting throughout the entire game.
Wings / Jump pack: Ahhhh.... of all of the things to be blessed by the gods, wings have to be the best out there. These are an absolute must (or a steed/bike) for any chaos Lord that doesn't bring a shiney suit of terminator armour. The way you use them is to zig-and-zag your way to the enemy, hopping in and out of LOS and then jumping over a building to slam into the enemy as his guns can't draw a shot onto you. Give him some beefy gear (preferably a daemon weapon) and watch your enemy try and take him down at every opportunity, thus drawing fire from the rest of your army as they close in. If they are foolish enough to ignore your winged Lord, you have a perfect chance to punish him and show your opponent the error of his ways.

Terminator armour: The obvious advantage of having a massive suit of terminator armour is getting that juicy 2+ save. And that could mean all the difference in assault - if he starts getting a pounding every little extra bit helps in saving his bacon. Whats more you get a power weapon too, and access to dead cheap lightning claws. So, it's all looking rosey, aint it? You've got yourself a good save, same cool toys and even the option of deep striking (if your feeling suicidal). So whats the downside? Surely this is a no brainer, right?

Wrong.

Remember what I said about the Lord being the equivilent of the Queen in chess? if you have ever played a game of chess before just think about what would happen if she was only aloud to move 3 squares? She'd be pretty damn quick to single out and kill. Same goes for you terminator armoured Lord. If you take a suit of Terminator armour then you can't take Wings or a steed, which, as we have already looked at, is an incredibly valuable asset to a Lord wanting to inflict mayhem on his enemy. Of course, you could always take a Land raider and ride into battle that way. But that does get expensive - 340 points before giving the lord weapons.



Wings Vs. Terminator armour: This is a crucial point to consider when kitting out your lord - The wings help him become a lone hunter, striking with speed where you want him and when you need him, while a terminator Lord and his body guard will become a sledgehammer that you can take to the enemy and be confident that anything they dig their teeth into is going to be destroyed.

It really is a matter of personal taste and how you like to opperate with your characters. My preferance is the wings, simply because if you do take a unit of Terminators in a Land raider but decide not to join them, then the chances are they are going to be dragging down any target they wish, Lord or not. It also spreads out your threats across the board, dividing your opponents efforts to blunt your own assault. However, if you like the "all eggs in one basket" approach then you'll find that your opponent will have to move the heavens just to shift the unit.



Right, lets look at the items gifted by the gods!!

MARK OF KHORNE

Welcome to the mark for those that wish to just massacre anything in your way. The second cheapest of the marks, but still pretty decent over all. An extra attack is always be welcome getting your lord up to 5 basic attacks (assuming you have been listening to me and not taken that blasted powerfist), which is definately nothing to sniff at. 5 attacks, with lightning claws? Sorted.

Bloodfeeder: Best weapon in the game. Period. A weapon that grants the weilder a potential of 16 attacks whilst standing still has got to be a weapon to make anyone envious. If all things go well you should have a minimum of 6 attacks whilst standing still, something only really challenged by special characters. Whats more, if we start playing around with the averages of the 2 dice being rolled then in all probability an 7 or 8 is the likely outcome (after taking away the 1+6 to get the 7 - that aint a good roll for this!)

Can you really say no to an average of 12 attacks with a power weapon?! Whats more, theres the possibility of taking 2 of these with wings.....

And before you say anything - yes, there IS that little disadvantage of doubling your chances of standing around picking your nose. But just to put you at ease - pick up a set of dice, and begin rolling. Count how many times you end up rolling 1's, and count how many times you get stupid numbers of attacks. If your eyes begin to pop then you know that this weapon is worth both the points and the risks. Just be sure to make sure that he gets into combat - you can guarantee that every weapon your opponent has will be focused on him. More so than any other Lord out there.

Juggernaught of khorne: Err.... bad. Very bad. You're looking at gaining bonuses to your strength and attacks, in exchange of being as slow as a turtle. Whats more, you can't mount up into a rhino or even a Land raider. You'll be stuck moving at the same speed as every other ground pounder on the table, and thats not a good thing when you consider that this model will have a target the size of a warboss on it. Theres no reason to take one. Ever. He'll get shot up and spat out.



MARK OF SLAANESH

Unlike the mark of Khorne, which is like taking an axe to a locked door, the lord that has been given the mark of slaanesh is the master theif with a titanium picklock. This is the mark if you want to dominate enemy characters. The way that this mark does it is by combining a higher initiative than most characters in the game (you'll have to look at the space elves and tyranids for higher) with a weapon that inflicts instant death.

Blissgiver: This weapon can be said to be the jack of all trades, master of some. In addition to the usual extra attacks generated, (which certainly aren't anything to sniff at, despite the big bad Khorne weapon shadowing it above) it gains the ability to cause instant death. Think about that for a moment - you have the option to switch between killing masses of troops and slicing an enemy character in half. You can assault an enemy command squad, oblitorate the enemy character in the first turn, and then if all things have gone well switch to destroying what remains of his bodyguard. Stick him with a bodyguard of his own, doesn't have to be terminators, and just sit and watch.

Of course, theres still that blasted daemon inside the weapon to worry about and this time we don't have the law of averages to cover us. Never mind, eh? Im sure theres a connection between slaanesh's holy number and the sides of the random number generator cube.

Steed of Slaanesh: Nice to know that they kept this little beauty in! If you are wanting your slaaneshi lord to go solo then take this. Extra attack and the ability to charge faster than a model equipped with jump pack. Only problem is - can you stand riding a naked chicken?



MARK OF TZEENCH

This is my personal favourite overall. Whilst I love the sheer weight of attacks generated by the Khorne build, and the multi-tasking of Slaanesh (and good multi-tasking too) is can't help but love the Tzeench stuff. Whislt you don't get access to spells, you do get a bonus to your bog standard invulnerable save making you that much more tougher to kill in combat, so when that power weapon weilding nut comes a running you can shrug off his attacks that bit much better. And if your opponent is gunnig for your character then thats what he'll be dragging behind him.

Deathscreamer: Shooty and choppy!! You can soften up the enemy before charging, or even play defensively if the situation requires it. Easily the most flexible weapon available for these two reasons. Although I wouldn't choose this weapon myself (too fixated on getting that invulnerable save up) it certainly contests the other two for it's adaptability.

Disc of Tzeench: Basically a set of wings with gaining an extra attack for 10 points. Bargain! Raises your attacks up to 4, allowing for a minimum of 6 attacks or a max of 12. If you are going to be taking a set of wings as a Tzeench lord, make sure you can find those extra points to buy one of these.



MARK OF NURGLE

A mixed bag as far as I am concerned. On the upside a Toughness of 5 is something wicked. The vast majority of enemies out there will be wounding on 5+ and in conjunction with terminator armour and you pretty much shrug attacks off and wade through the unit in your own time.

And where the hell is FNP!?

Plaguebringer: This weapon is essentially a lightning claw with a klkn load of attacks. Why? Thanks to being S4 you get to re-roll your wounds against targets that are T4 or lower. I really would't go out of my way to choose this weapon as it is simply not as powerful as the bloodfeeder and the mark of nurgle can be better represented with typhrus.

Palanquin of nurgle this could potentially challenge for terminator armour in making a nurgle lord tougher. And extra wound could come in handy. I don't know... I haven't really taken that deep of a look into the number side of it.



Well, there you have it. My thoughts and experiences with the chaos lord load out.




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