Chaos Lord Creation Kit
This Article was written by:
The Quick & Painless: If you're pressed for time, check the "Quick & Painless" entries for the bottom line,without explantion or details.
:: The Critical Upgrades ::
:: Marks of Chaos ::
:: How to Use a Chaos HQ Effectively ::
:: Using the ECLCK ::
:: Keep it Lean. Keep it Mean. Give it a Purpose ::
:: Getting to know the Chaos Lord/Lt. ::One of the big things we should do first is take a brief moment to look at the aspects of the Chaos Lord/Lt. which basically determines their use. Theprofile is key. Right away, you'll notice that our Chaos HQ has a knack for close combat (ie: assault). He's fast and has great stats for dishing out what he needs to, in combat. You'll also notice he has a great ballistic skill-which is largely a waste. So while you may be tempted to try to use your HQ to shoot a fine weapon, you'll also notice really quickly that we don't have many shooting attacks for a Chaos HQ that are useful in the first place, for the cost. So the key to making your HQ will be to pick either the assault phase or the shooting phase, and building towards it-not both. And for the most part, it's the assault phase in which the Chaos Lord/Lt. shines.
The Quick & Painless: The Chaos Lord/Lt. is best used for assault. Don't bother buying shooting attacks or powers, unless you only specialize in shooting.
:: Why use the Chaos Lord/Lt. ::Our Chaos HQs are quite special as an HQ choice compared to most other armies. They're an independent character, so they're difficult to target right away if we keep them solo. They have a host of gear and options that allow us to literally hand-craft an instrument of destruction which will be very efficient at destroying an intended target (within reason of course). The Chaos Lord/Lt. is also special because as a required choice on the forge organizational chart, and knowing he's non-scoring already, we can use the option to our advantage, making him more devastating and using him much more like an elite or heavy support would be, compared to a leader. Chaos Lords/Lt. lead by example in that sense. We use the Chaos Lord/Lt. because of the ultimate configurability of him to be twisted to meet our needs, pretty much no matter what they are. The Chaos HQ can make some of the best use of most of our daemonic gifts and weapons, so he literally becomes difficult not to take. We will go into which of these, are critical and worth taking, and which are expendable and worth avoiding.
The Quick & Painless: Chaos HQs can be configured to fit any role we need and are very efficient at it, using critical useful upgrades. They're easy to hide and easy to deliver due to upgrades and independent character status. They're non-scoring units however...
:: The Critical Upgrades ::So you're thinking of making your HQ for combat? Good; that's what he's best at. Let's look at the upgrades which are the most critical, meaning most useful for their cost, to our HQs on both levels.
~ Daemonic Gifts ~Daemonic Resilience - Resilience is your key to survival when you'rein combat. Instead of having fancy armor saves, or tons of wounds, you can avoid more damage for cheaper by simply raising your toughness value. What this does, is make it much more difficult for units to harm you in close combat in general. So for example, normally a space marine would cause you a wound with a normal attack on a 4+. Using Daemonic Resilience, you make that roll become a 5+. This reduces quite a number of wounds that normally you'd suffer, to be "failed" wounds. Against infantry with Strength 3, like Guardsmen or Guardians, they wound you on a 6+ with Daemonic Resilience typically, pretty much making it nearly impossible to cause you harm. It's far more efficient to avoid damage, than to attempt to save against it. This is your most critical defensive upgrade and should be considered before any save kind of upgrade.
The Quick & Painless: Daemonic Resilience is more important than armor saves, invulnerable saves and extra wounds. Use it for defense while in close combat.
Daemonic Speed - Speed is a blessing in 4th edition, allowing our Lord/Lt. to have the movement mode of cavalry. This is our ticket to the speed way right into combat. With daemonic speed, we can achieve the fabled first turn assault when we combine it with the veteran skill Infiltration. The reason is, Daemonic Speed is an enhanced movement mode that allows us 6 inch movement, plus a fleet of foot move in the shooting phase (D6 inches more) and finally a grand 12 inch assault range. This gives us a minimum of 19 inches into assault and up to a maximum of 24 inches into assault. Consider how infiltration works, and you're in business for getting into combat fast. This also works very well with independent character status, because we can remain behind other units to avoid being a valid target, and still be able to quickly rush forward into combat from our protection. Daemonic Speed is also important because in games where escalation is present, our Chaos Lord/Lt. is still fielded (unlike an HQ with Daemonic Flight).
The Quick & Painless: Daemonic Speed is your best movement mode and should be chosen over Flight if you want to always have the best chances of quick assault and always being fielded on the board in escalation games. Combine it with Infiltration for first turn assaults.
Daemonic Strength - Strength is a very cheap upgrade, which is quite obvious what it does, but it can make such a huge difference in how well you use your attacks. The reason is, for less than the cost of additional attacks, we can make the attacks that we do have, land a lot easier. So for example, hitting on 3's will be typical, but we may only be wounding on 4's against Toughness 4 targets. With strength, we turn that to wounding on 3's, which makes a world of difference for each attack. Against toughness 3 targets, we simply crush them easily on 2+ more often. Daemonic Strength is a key upgrade to make normal weapons that we can purchase work even better, such as power weapons and lighting claws. In terms of making most of your attacks better, Daemonic Strength is an upgrade that will go far and should be considered critical for offense-but not necessary! This simply means, this is better to buy than Daemonic Mutation for example, in terms of offensive capability for non-stature using Chaos Lord/Lts.
The Quick & Painless: Buy Daemonic Strength for your non-stature using Chaos Lord/Lt. if you want to make the most of his attacks for cheaper than buying more attacks.
Daemonic Aura - The Aura is a key upgrade to keeping a certain Chaos Lord alive, and that is the Chaos Lord who uses Daemonic Stature. Without stature, we can largely get buy without the Aura, making it less desirable and not so critical for normal Chaos Lords/Lts. But models with Daemonic Stature will make a great use of the Aura, because of their higher toughness and frequence of being shot by anti-tank guns which will bypass any armor save they have anyways. So consider Aura critical for your Daemonic Statured Lords, but otherwise, consider it as expendable.
The Quick & Painless: Only buy Daemonic Aura if you also purchased Daemonic Stature.
Daemonic Stature - Stature is arguably the most powerful upgrade in the game for a character. It's insane what it grants a Chaos Lord. The profile buff is enormous all over the chart for so little points. The only down side to it, is that we are a monstrous creature and it over-rides our independent character status, making us a valid size 3 target at all times-this means, you'll be shot at a lot more often right away by big guns. Daemonic Stature is extremely powerful in close combat. Not only does it make you automatically ignore armor saves, it also makes you tougher and harder to kill by raising your base toughness so that only Strength 10 weapons can cause instant death to your Chaos Lord (meaning: beware Railguns and Dreadnoughts). It also makes your Lord count as 10 models for the purpose of outnumbering things in close combat. This can be a huge aid when you've just destroyed a few models and outnumber them now, causing them much larger moral modifiers and whipping out a squad of expensive elite infantry with small unit sizes (and further made massive via Daemonic Visage). If you want pure combat crunch for a low price, Stature is the way to go as a critical upgrade. But know that it will make you more vulnerable, so it's less safe and prevents you from using several kinds of weapons and upgrades as a result.
The Quick & Painless: Daemonic Stature is the best close combat upgrade you can buy. You will take more damage in the shooting phase, so it's wise to buy Daemonic Aura with it if you do.
Daemonic Venom - Venom is a very powerful and useful ability for your Chaos Lord who has purchased Daemonic Stature. The reason is because models with stature have very limited options and we may not purchase the same gear twice. That means, if you want a cheap extra attack, you must use very expensive weapons or none at all. Venom is how we can cheaply get that bonus attack for having two combat weapons, without having to buy expensive daemonic weapons for example or gifts from the gods. So this is a critical upgrade for Lords with Daemonic Stature who donot purchase another close combat weapon.
The Quick & Painless: If you have a Lord with Daemonic Stature and no other weapons, you should use Venom for the cheap extra attack.
~ Wargear ~Spiky Bits - The bits are an incredible upgrade for your Chaos Lord/Lt. of any kind that expects to see combat. It's another cheap way to make your attacks hit more often, without having to master craft. It's useful because it works without specifically making it for one weapon. That means, any attack you throw out, can be re-rolled, including attacks that were caused without a weapon or attacks that even were made using a daemonic weapon. This gives it a big edge compared to master crafting. Bits are also useful, because for the cost, we essentially can ensure that the "one failed attack" which we can always expect in assault, hits instead. Making all our attacks hit when we only have a few, makes them worth while and more useful. This is a critical upgrade when you have points to spare, but expendable otherwise.
The Quick & Painless: Purchase Spiky Bitz instead of Daemonic Mutation and instead of Master-Crafting. It works with Daemonic Weapons, making it more desirable for less points.
Frag Grenades - If you have a character who is normally assaulting the enemy, they may use cover to attempt to get an edge on you. Frag grenades may seem obvious, but they're essential for making sure your expensive character gets to make his attacks when assaulting units in cover. It's only useable by models without daemonic stature, so it should be considered a critical upgrade for all Lords/Lt. without Daemonic Stature.
The Quick & Painless: If you are not using Stature, buy frag grenades every time.
~ Weapons ~Bolt Pistol / Close Combat Weapon - When building your character for combat, it's important to remember that these two cheap weapons can combine with any other one-handed weapon to allow you a bonus attack for having two one-handed weapons equipped. That's nearly a free extra attack and therefore should be considered critical when building your character with a one-handed weapon.
The Quick & Painless: If you purchased a one-handed weapon of some kind, you should nearly always combine it with a bolt pistol or close combat weapon for the bonus attack.
Power Weapon - Power Weapons are a fine line for most characters. Our power weapons in chaos however, can be made better via Daemonic Strength. When fighting enemies with armor saves, it's important to ignore those saves with our powerful attacks. So the power weapon is pretty critical if you are fighting any infantry with 4+ or better armor saves and you can combine it with Daemonic Strength to ensure the carnage. If you are fighting enemies that are Toughness 3 and have 5+ or worse armor saves, you can get by just fine without ignoring their armor saves (they'll fail anyways!). Consider a power weapon as your base upgrade for non-statured Lords/Lts. in terms of the base critical upgrade for weapons.
The Quick & Painless: Buy a power weapon at the very least for non-stature using Chaos HQs. Don't bother if you're fighting T3 infantry with 5+ or worse armor saves though.
Dark Blade - The Dark Blade is an insanely powerful daemonic weapon that boosts your strength tremendously and allows you to ignore armor saves. The down side, is that the strength doesn't count towards your profile strength but only towards wounding, therefore, it doesn't allow you to easily cause instant death to Toughness 4 characters (ie: reaching the strength 8 break point); so don't attempt to combine it with daemonic strength to reach those break points. The strength bonus is much more than what a normal power weapon with daemonic strength would afford you, so this is your critical upgrade of choice, if you were already going to purchase a power weapon and daemonic strength-it's way better for the same price. The other down side, is that this is a daemonic weapon and therefore will count towards your daemonic gift points limit. This weapon upgrade would be considered critical for non-statured characters for the most part.
The Quick & Painless: The Dark Blade is critical for the non-stature using Lord/Lt. if you were already purchasing a power weapon and already purchasing daemonic strength. Do not purchase daemonic strength with the Dark Blade on non-statured characters.
Kai Gun - The Kai Gun is the only weapon of choice for the shooting based Lord/Lt. It is a very powerful weapon with decent range and great stats all around which will make a great use of your high ballistic skill value. If you use the Kai Gun, you should not be taking any combat upgrades, nor defensive upgrades. The Kai Gun is best used by an HQ with Daemonic Flight and nearly nothing else. Use your independent character status as your defensive to avoid being a target, and simply snipe anything in range to your whim. Remember, this is a daemonic weapon and will count towards your daemonic gift limits.
The Quick & Painless: Only buy a Kai Gun for non-statured characters who focus on shooting. Do not buy any offensive or defensive upgrades other than Flight to maintain movement.
~ All Other Upgrades ~The rest of the daemonic gifts, weapons, wargear and skills are all pretty much unnecessary and expensive. Most of them are even redundant, such as increasing an armor save that we already have. It's best to avoid those upgrades when making cheap and efficient characters. Those upgrades are more reserved for those who want to splurge on an expensive character-however, I will state again that it is not required and doesn't mean that they'll be better for having better gear. The use of your HQ and keeping him lean will guarantee more pain-free success.
:: Marks of Chaos ::The marks of chaos can be used to your advantage in order to get certain upgrades and benefits for a cheaper price, or in order to avoid point value conflicts. Marks do not count towards any limits, therefore the ability they grant, if it has a daemonic gift equivalent can be applied to your character without taking up points from your daemonic gift limits. An example would be how daemonic resilience is a daemonic gift, but can be purchased exactly the same in the form of the mark of Nurgle, granting the same effect, but without counting towards your limits (this is a crafty way to squeeze every bit out that you can in Chaos Lts. especially). Marks have a down side though, in that they make your character more expensive and also affect other marks in the list. It also opens the door to "other" upgrades which can quickly cause you to over spend your points or buy more upgrades which are not critical. It's important to be weary and careful when marking your character and ensuring it fits with the rest of your army.
The Quick & Painless: You can use marks of chaos to get daemonic upgrades without buying them as daemonic gifts. This is useful for Chaos Lts. to squeeze out extra upgrades within their points limit.
Now, let's explore the marks and some of their critical upgrades, if any, and how we can employ them.
~ Khorne ~The Mark of Khorne provides us a cheap extra attack. It's cheaper than Daemonic Mutation and it's a real profile attack. This can be a quick way to get an extra attack, combined with multiple close combat weapons and achieve 5 or 6 attacks as a base, for very little points. The down side to this, is that the mark of khorne also forces your character to always assault the nearest legal target. This can be bad if you end a move near a vehicle or something you don't wish to assault. The mark can also grant you cheap movement modes through blood frenzy, but this is very discouraged as it is uncontrollable and its wiser to cancel it out via buying an enhanced movement mode.
Critical Upgrades of Khorne:
Feel No Pain - Feel No Pain is a defensive upgrade which can be very useful for Chaos Lords who expect to be shot by guns. It's also useful in close combat, but nearly as useful as the shooting phase. It's actually best employed on a Lord with Daemonic Stature, where he will be shot by weapons with low AP values and high strength. Unless the weapon is Strength 10 against your Daemonic Stature Lord, you will be able to make your Feel No Pain save. This means, it's like a cheap 4+ save to ward off any harm so long as it wasn't double your toughness (and it even works against plasma). In close combat, it's not as useful because you will be hard to wound anyways and it doesn't work against attacks that ignore your save which will be the ones that easily hurt you (like powerfists). So in close combat, it's less attractive. Definitely consider this a critical upgrade for your Khorne Lord with Stature, instead of Daemonic Aura.
The Quick & Painless: Buy Feel No Pain instead of Daemonic Aura if you have a Lord with the Mark of Khorne and also Daemonic Stature.
~ Nurgle ~The Mark of Nurgle is a very popular mark for achieving Daemonic Resilience for the same cost, but without taking up daemonic gift points space to do it. This can be a quickly way for your Chaos Lt. to get an extra few points of daemonic gifts while still maintaining Daemonic Resilience for example. As for other upgrades, there are no critical upgrades for Nurgle in general.
The Quick & Painless: Use the Mark of Nurgle to get Daemonic Resilience without taking up daemonic gift points.
~ Slaneesh ~The Mark of Slaneesh grants you a nice initiative bonus, but ultimately doesn't grant you much more with the mark alone. Our initiative is already very high, so taking this mark for that is not worth while. This mark should only be taken if it's required by your army or if you are attempting to get access to other gear only available to Slaneesh. There are no critical upgrades for Slaneesh characters, so consider this a not as useful mark as others perhaps.
The Quick & Painless: You don't need more initiative and you don't need any gear here, so this mark should be avoided if possible.
~ Tzeentch ~The Mark of Tzeentch is an interesting mark, but unfortunately isn't all that useful for the Chaos HQ due to how it works for us. What we get is simply the sorcerer ability, which we already could have bought, and we can pass our tests flawlessly with it. Unfortunately this is hardly useful for a critical upgrade as it simply wracks up points for abilities we really don't need. Again, there are no critical upgrades for the Mark of Tzeentch, however, there is the Bolt of Change power for characters who want to focus on shooting.
The Quick & Painless: Unless you need to mark your character Tzeentch, you get no real benefit here and should probably avoid it.
:: How to Use a Chaos HQ Effectively ::One of the biggest problems with Chaos HQs, is that sometimes a player will upgrade them very expensively and then use them to do things that other units in our army do better for cheaper. One of the best ways you can make your HQ work more for you, is to give him a goal
Golden rule of Lords/Lts:"Prey on the weak."
You should probably be using your HQ to murder enemy infantry. Killing more of the cheap stuff and weak infantry will make him more efficient and allow other units to do other things that are more important. Your HQ will rip through normal infantry and be able to bounce on to the next in general, making him like a pinball.
Overall, you should be making a goal, or an intended target for your Chaos HQ and make sure you stick to it. Don't just assault whatever because it's there to assault. Make smart choices to assault things you know you can beat; not things that are a gamble. Use your character to prey on the weakest and eliminate them fast and move on to the next. You do not want to be assaulting enemy characters-instead, assault their normal troops.
An example is that I use a speed Lt., described below as Cheap & Fast, to hunt and assault Stealth Suits when I'm facing Tau. They're a problematic unit that are easy to kill in assault, but hard to shoot down. My character costs much less than they do and easily beats them in combat.
Another example: Using a fast infiltrating character with speed can be used to quickly shut down a shooting squad, such as a devastator team. They have few attacks due to their heavy weapons being two-handed and will be hitting you on average, and wounding you rarely due to your toughness. You will then rip them apart, as they cost nearly double what your character cost.
Beware the pitfall though - of assaulting something random in the middle of no where, and when you mop up combat, you're left in the open to be fired upon if you're too close. Always look for the places in cover, or groups to assault that are within 12 inches of another group for example. Try to always have something weak to assault as you bounce from squad to squad.
:: Using the ECLCK ::Now that we have the information out of the way, let's look at how we can use that information to make our characters. I will provide examples and details about each, including final costs.
~ Examples of Assault based Chaos HQs ~Example I:Cheap & Fast
Close Combat Weapon
Cost: 87 points.
This is probably your most basic of the fast efficient killers. For very cheap, we have something that is a nightmare in close combat against most infantry. The purpose is to simply keep the Lt. behind other units, to avoid being a target, slowly gaining ground with them. Once you are within 19 to 24 inch range of an enemy target that you wish to assault, you can quickly use speed to burst ahead. If used within the Alpha Legion, cheap infiltration could be purchased in order to achieve cheap first turn assaults. This can also be upgraded to a Lord if need be, but it's not necessary.
Example II:Cheap, Fast & More Deadly
Close Combat Weapon
Cost: 112 points.
For the higher cost range, we have a character that is far more devastating in close combat. His hits really hit hard and he has more wounds to stay longer to use those attacks. If you're not pressed for points, this is a great way to go and can also be combined with cheap infiltration when possible for first turn assaults. Otherwise, this is the kind of killer you set to hunt down Marines and Necrons with, able to butcher them on easy numbers on the dice, and bounce around from squad to squad quickly.
Example III:Cheap & Fast with the Mark of Khorne
Mark of Khorne
Close Combat Weapon
Cost: 97 points.
This beast of a character is just like our base cheapest character. The difference is, we have more attacks from the mark and he fits into a themed army that needs the mark of khorne to adjust troops. One of the prime kickers of this setup, is that many khorne players will field a nearly 200 point Chaos Lord on his own typically. The key to success here, is to field two small HQs like this one, who work together, to achieve actually more combat success, more attacks and more resilience and safety through protection of independent character status.
Example IV:Cheap & Fast with the Mark of Nurgle
Mark of Nurgle
Close Combat Weapon
Cost: 87 points.
This character is the same as our cheap & fast example, but using the mark of Nurgle in order to obtain the daemonic resilience without purchasing it. This is great for your army if you have a Nurgle theme, or if you were in the market to use all of your daemonic gifts points possible on your Lt. during crunch time (though its ill advised to crunch).
Example V:Cheap, Fast & Statured
Cost: 120 points.
For a very lost cost, we get an insanely fast and resilient monstrous creature who will be devastating in close combat. All critical upgrades for a monstrous creature are here, because we want to make it work. Resilience keeps us ticking in combat, to avoid making saves. Aura keeps us alive against the stray lascannon or missile that comes out way on our path to combat. Speed gets us to combat. Venom gives us that extra attack. We have plenty of all the good stuff and none of the fat.
Example VI:Cheap, Fast, Statured & Marked with Khorne
Mark of Khorne
-Feel No Pain
Cost: 125 points.
For very little points, our mark here allows quite a powerful combination to have a fast character, with more attacks (5 base attacks, 6 when charging!) who can make much better saves in the shooting phase against those nasty lascannons and lances, etc, through feel no pain.
Example VII:Cheap, Fast, Statured & Marked with Nurgle
Mark of Nurgle
Cost: 130 points.
The Nurgle marked statured lord is the same as before, however we can omit daemonic resilience in favor of the mark. This saves daemonic gift points if you have other plans for upgrades, but it's more simply a way to get the mark in there if you have a themed army to consider.
Note: You can add a few other critical upgrades here, which were not listed, but were talked about before such as spiky bits to your discretion. The point is to simply take only what you need, and no excess. If you have spare points, feel free to take more, but I always caution you to avoid over-upgrading for the purpose of your character.
~ Examples of Shooting based Chaos HQs ~Example I:Cheap & Ranged
Cost: 90 points.
This basic character is all you need to do effective shooting. Flight is non-critical for most characters, but for shooting characters, it's prime over speed because it allows you to move the most without hurting your shooting chances. Otherwise, you only need a gun to make the most of your ballistic skill and the Kai Gun can do that with it's awesome stats. You can combine this with marks if required, but it's not suggested due to the waste of the mark generally (as combat and defensive upgrades do not benefit shooting HQs).
Example II:Cheap, Ranged & Marked with Tzeentch
Mark of Tzeentch
#Bold of Change
Cost: 105 points.
This is the one time the mark comes in handy, because it allows the bolt of change. This is a more potent shooting attack for taking out light vehicles and more nasty heavy infantry like enemy monstrous creatures. The character needs nothing more than flight and the power, as the rest is provided by the mark. Unfortunately it's quite expensive, even made cheaply.
:: Keep it Lean. Keep it Mean. Give it a Purpose ::Again, this kit was designed to help you quickly lay out easily what you need for cheap and efficient characters that are extremely potent at what they do without any of the fat trimmings mixed in the sauce. The characters listed above are all examples, and you are totally free to build on top of them or use whatever suits you best. They were merely examples of taking what you need, and nothing of what you do not need.
The basic idea is to remember to keep your characters cheap if you want efficiency and results. Keep them mean, by giving them critical upgrades which go a long way. And make sure your character has a purpose. Hunt weak infantry and go for the easy fights-stick to that goal and he will succeed.