Tag Archives: slaanesh

Slaanesh: Observations from the Weekend

Played at a small tournament – well, ran a small tournament, and played to fill in the odd number spot – with my Slaanesh CSM/Daemons army, and I’m pretty satisfied with the results. I ended up going 2-1, with wins against Khorne CSM and Nurgle CSM, and a loss against my friend (and cohost) Dennis and his Eldar. This is not surprising; he can never beat my Tau with Eldar, and I’ve yet to beat his Eldar with my Chaos armies. After three games with the new force, I feel like I’m in the right direction for the most part. Here’s what I took:

HQ: Chaos Lord w/Mark of Slaanesh, Sigil of Corruption, Power Sword, Chaos Bike, Gift of Mutation, Veterans of the Long War – 155
Troops: 9 Noise Marines w/8 Sonic Blasters, 1 Blastmaster; Noise Champion – 234
Troops: 9 Noise Marines w/8 Sonic Blasters, 1 Blastmaster; Noise Champion – 234
Troops: 19 Cultists w/17 Autoguns, 2 Flamers, Mark of Slaanesh; Cultist Champion – 137
Fast Attack:
 4 Chaos Bikers w/Mark of Slaanesh, Icon of Excess, 2 Meltaguns,Veterans of the Long War; Biker Champion w/Combi-Melta, Meltabombs – 195
Heavy Support: 4 Chaos Havocs w/4 Autocannons, Mark of Slaanesh, Veterans of the Long War; Aspiring Champion – 130
Fortification: Aegis Defense Line w/Quad Gun – 100
HQ: Herald of Slaanesh w/Transfixing Gaze, Soporific Musk, Pavane of Slaanesh – 90
Troops: 16 Daemonettes of Slaanesh – 224

Here are my take-aways from the weekend.

  • Bikes work as a Lord delivery system, but… Being on a bike ensures that the Lord will get somewhere quickly, and it keeps him alive due to the increased toughness. The rest of the bikes provide melta for cracking open vehicles and act as ablative wounds. They don’t bring a whole lot else, though, besides someone carrying an Icon of Excess. They just don’t have enough attacks to make a sizable dent in an enemy unit when assaulting. Still, the speed and toughness are really nice. I’m going to keep trying these guys for a bit longer and get used to them before I decide their fate. Putting the Lord on a Steed of Slaanesh is tempting to give the whole unit Outflank, but then I lose the extra toughness.
  • Shooty Noise Marine units are great. Fearless. Power armor. Cranks out tons of shots. Ignore cover. High Initiative if they get assaulted. What’s not to like? Also, the Blastmaster is fantastic now, because of two reasons: ignoring cover and being able to keep it stationary while the rest of the squad moves. It’s totally worth the points now, especially when you consider how easy it is for vehicles to get cover now. If I can see you, I can kill you, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Also awesome for killing other power armor units.
  • Shooty Cultists are good. Okay, their guns aren’t great, but with so many shots you can manage a lot of mischief. I actually managed to have them shoot a Bloodthirster to death (results not typical). They’re risky to assault, especially with the flamers, and with the Mark of Slaanesh they’ve got a good chance to attack in kind once you close. In combination with a decent piece of cover, like an Aegis Defense Line, you can keep them nice and safe. Out in the open, though, they’ll take wounds and likely run off the board, so use them wisely if you don’t want to babysit them with a Lord.
  • Havocs are great. Especially with autocannons. A lot of strong shots for a low cost. Sure, they won’t scratch AV14, but that’s what the bikers are for. Setting the champ at the defense line’s Quad Gun almost doubles your firepower and gives you access to a Skyfire Interceptor weapon. I had faith that they would serve me well, and they delivered.
  • Daemonettes worked! The Daemonettes did exactly what I’d chosen them for – a fast assault unit that I could drop into my opponent’s back lines to cause havoc and assault scoring units camping in the rear. They’re fragile, but with the sheer volume of attacks they can put out makes up for their deficiencies. I never did use Hit and Run, so the Herald’s Musk might be on the chopping block, but Gaze and Pavane are staying. The only game where they didn’t directly contribute was against the Eldar (ironic, that), but they still pulled Dennis’s entire army’s attention for that one turn, leaving the rest to act without being bothered for a turn. Even against a tarpit unit like Plague Zombies, they managed to just out-wound their opponents. They don’t stand up to shooting, but I knew they wouldn’t. If nothing else, though, they forced my opponent to make bad decisions: keep pressing forward and ignore the blender I just dropped in your lines, or turn around and deal with it and let me stall out your momentum. I wouldn’t run them much smaller than I have them in this list; they need the bodies to get where you want them.

I will say it’s odd to run an army devoid of vehicles, but at higher point levels (1750-2000), I might figure out a way to pad out that involves metal boxes of one form or another, or maybe pick up a Heldrake and fit it into the list. Also, possibly more Daemons; they’re just fun to play around with.

Prime-apalooza

I actually managed to grab a week of vacation time over the Thanksgiving holiday, and miraculously we had 60+ degree weather for most of it. Given that it’s not going to be long before we’re deep in winter, I figured that it’s time to get priming while the weather’s agreeable for it. First on the block was my Realm of Battle board. My wife got a new bike that same week, so fortunately we had a big empty cardboard box that made the perfect priming setup for large flat pieces of plastic.

Besides the board, I also had the additions to my Chaos Marine army: the Bike Lord, the Chaos Bikers, the Autocannon Havocs, and some more Noise Marines. By the way, these Noise Marines were made with the new Finecast bits, and I can’t begin to describe how much easier these were to work with than the old metal bits. I had a love/hate relationship with the metal Noise Marine kits, but these were all love. My only minor complaint is trying to get the arms lined up with each other and the body, but that’s a fault with the design, not the material. If I ever needed to expand my Noise Marines further, I would buy another set of these bits in a heartbeat.

I also primed my Cultists to get them ready. I did hit a point of frustration here, though, and it’s with how Dark Vengeance is packaged. Each squad is 1 Champ, 8 Cultists (either CCW/Autopistol or Autogun), and one special weapon Cultist. However, combine two of those, and you don’t have a legal squad of 20 unless you count Champ #2 as another CCW/Autopistol Cultist… and one of the champs doesn’t even have an Autopistol. I’ve got a tournament coming up this weekend where I’m using the Cultists (if I play; I’m the ringer to pad out even numbers), and I needed a legal unit of 20, so I ended up picking up one of the GW Cultist boxes after I’d done my priming… so I’ll have one bare plastic Cultist (the shame; the shame!). Also, the Shotgun is crap, so I did an arm swap between the Champ and one of the close-combat Cultists.

And to wrap up all the 40K-ness, I also assembled and primed my Aegis Defense Line. A friend is lending me her Dremel, and I used it to deface the Aquilas off of the various barrier bits and the Quad Gun base. On the quad gun, I smoothed it down nicely to put a new Chaos marking on it, but on the ADL bits I just left the Aquila spot looking distressed and defaced to give it that “hastily defiled” look. Oh, and spikes were added, because it’s Chaos. Can’t have Chaos without spiky bits, right?

But that’s not all, folks! I’ve also been branching out, and recently picked up the Viktorias for Malifaux. I’m still waiting on some Ronin and a Convict Gunslinger, but I got the twins and Taelor primed. I want somewhat more vibrant colors, so I went with a gray primer instead.

And finally, some models I’m just doing for an eventual display piece: 4 Darklands/Bane Legions Melusines, ordered from Maelstrom Games before that vendor imploded under the weight of their own debt. The manufacturer’s sending me the fifth to make up for the one I never received. I have some special basing materials set aside for their display board, which will start out as a sheet of cork glued on a plinth, with square holes cut out for their bases. I’m wary of that totem staff, though; it’s resin and very wobbly and fragile.

Between all this and my Black Templars, I’ll have plenty of models to work on over the next few months!

 

 

Slaanesh: A Little From Column A, A Little From Column B

Like many people, I’ve been trying to decipher the riddle of Chaos Marine troops, and I keep vacillating between Cultists, Chaos Marines, and Noise Marines. Looking again at the core of my list right now, I’ve got:

HQ: Chaos Lord w/Mark of Slaanesh, Aura of Dark Glory, Power Sword, Chaos Bike, Veterans of the Long War – 135
Troops: 9 Noise Marines w/8 Sonic Blasters, 1 Blastmaster; Noise Champion – 234
Troops: 9 Noise Marines w/8 Sonic Blasters, 1 Blastmaster; Noise Champion – 234
Fast Attack: 4 Chaos Bikers w/Mark of Slaanesh, Icon of Excess, 2 Meltaguns,Veterans of the Long War; Biker Champion – 180
Heavy Support: 4 Chaos Havocs w/4 Autocannons, Veterans of the Long War; Aspiring Champion – 120
Fortification: Aegis Defense Line w/Quad Gun – 100

Obviously, I’ve got a couple of troops choices, and they’re dedicated shooty units. I’ve got a Fast assault unit and a Heavy shooty unit, but I think I need a bit more assault capability there. I’d been leaning towards an assault-focused Marine squad (either Noise Marines or Slaanesh-marked Chaos Marines), but I’m just not entirely sold on one. They’re not bad by any means – they’re fast to strike, tough as any marine, have grenades, and have Feel No Pain – but they’re still just marines in combat. Chaos Marines aren’t fearless, Noise Marines are more expensive and less flexible in equipment (but can bring a Doom Siren), and both are stuck foot-slogging across the table and can fail charges as easily as any other non-Fleet unit. Also, running them in larger units – a requirement for those armies that want to assault when Combat Squads aren’t an option – gets prohibitively expensive very quickly. So, what am I left with? Let’s look at Cultists.

Cultists have two things going for them. First, they’re very, very inexpensive. 10 Cultists, including a champion, only cost 50 points before any upgrades. Second, they can be taken in large numbers – up to 35 models per unit. After that, though, they start falling apart quickly. They’re frail, weak, not terribly skilled, and have a poor Leadership score. Using them as an assault unit means trying to bounce them from cover to cover, hoping that they don’t get taken apart by gunfire along the way. They will get taken apart, too; a low toughness and nearly useless armor save combine to ensure they’ll die in droves, giving them more opportunities to break. If they do manage to arrive, they still have the issues of making the assault that the Marines do. They don’t even have any chance to damage vehicles, so they’re really no threat to much of anything other than small isolated units. That’s not to say they’re useless, though. I like the idea of them being a counter-assault unit, something that can use their numbers defensively to sit in cover on an objective and make life difficult for anything that wants to charge in. That’s why I like the autogun/Mark of Slaanesh combo – it pumps out lots of shots, even moreso in overwatch, and can answer an assault at the same time as a standard MEQ unit.

I still don’t have my assault unit, though, and while there’s some good Elite choices, I still want something that can be scoring, and I want it to be thematic. To that end, I started looking at the Daemons codex and Daemonettes. I happen to have 10 painted up, and another 30 primed and ready to go, so it’s an easy add-in to my army model-wise. I would have to add in an HQ since it’s an allied detachment, but I’ve got a couple of models to use as Heralds as well. While the Daemonettes aren’t necessarily tougher than Cultists – they’re both toughness 3 – they’re definitely less fragile. They’ve got the 5+ invulnerable save, which means they won’t auto-die to every weapon in the game, and even if they do take casualties, they’re Fearless, which ensures that they won’t break and run. As far as getting into assault, they’re Fleet, which gives them a huge advantage over every other assault-focused troop choice I can run; I can all but guarantee they’ll make the charge. They strike before most other units, have grenades to ensure that they act at initiative, have 4 attacks each on the charge, and have rending, ensuring that they’re a threat to everything. The Herald is no slouch, either, as she’ll have an extra attack and Transfixing Gaze (because why wouldn’t you spend the 5 points on it) to ensure she has the upper hand in challenges. Add in Eternal Warrior to ensure she can’t get one-shotted, and you’ve got a unit that can hunt characters, squads, and vehicles equally well.

So, how many? I’m thinking 17 Daemonettes and the Herald. It’s a good-sized blob squad, which you’ll want for assault; these units aren’t tough enough to run as MSU assault squads. 18 is three times 6, which makes it nicely fluffy, and gives you enough points left over to throw some upgrades around your army. If fluff isn’t important, you can go with 15 or 20, but I wouldn’t go much less than that. Since the squad is Fearless, you don’t have to worry about gaming the 25% casualty point, and with their invulnerable save being the same as most pieces of cover, you can just run them out in the open (although I would try to use LoS-blocking terrain to keep them out of too many firing lanes). If you absolutely wanted to double-up on squads, you could try two Heralds (since you can fit 2 in the HQ slot) and two 8-man Daemonette squads, but I think they’d be too fragile to make it to combat safely. If you’d rather have the ability to move enemy units around, the Masque is an attractive choice, with her 3++ save and triple Pavane, but the lack of Transfixing Gaze makes her a little weaker in challenges, so for now I’m going to stick with the Herald and maybe sub in the Masque later to try things out.

So, what does my list look like now? With the new additions, and some points thrown around for upgrades, I’m looking at something like this:

HQ: Chaos Lord w/Mark of Slaanesh, Sigil of Corruption, Power Sword, Chaos Bike, Veterans of the Long War – 145
Troops: 9 Noise Marines w/8 Sonic Blasters, 1 Blastmaster; Noise Champion – 234
Troops: 9 Noise Marines w/8 Sonic Blasters, 1 Blastmaster; Noise Champion – 234
Troops: 24 Cultists w/22 Autoguns, 2 Flamers, Mark of Slaanesh; Cultist Champion – 167
Fast Attack:
 4 Chaos Bikers w/Mark of Slaanesh, Icon of Excess, 2 Meltaguns,Veterans of the Long War; Biker Champion w/Combi-Melta, Meltabombs – 195
Heavy Support: 4 Chaos Havocs w/4 Autocannons, Mark of Slaanesh, Veterans of the Long War; Aspiring Champion – 130
Fortification: Aegis Defense Line w/Quad Gun – 100
HQ: Herald of Slaanesh w/Transfixing Gaze – 55
Troops: 17 Daemonettes of Slaanesh – 238

The plan for the army is simple: the Noise Marines soften up infantry, while Havocs, manning the Quad-Gun, handle vehicles. The Bikes pull double-duty, hunting down vehicles and tougher infantry. The Cultists stay behind the line and hold a point. While all this goes on, the Daemons drop in and chase after any target of opportunity and harass the enemy’s back lines. How well this will play out, we’ll see. I’ll experiment with this, and other variants. Perhaps two smaller Cultist squads, or Marines instead of Daemonettes. For now, though, this looks to be an interesting list to try out.

Bikes and Apostles and Havocs, Oh My!

The bikes I started three weeks ago are finally together; I opted for meltaguns over plasma because I needed some anti-armor punch. Even the bike champ is toting around a combi-melta liberated from my loyalist bits to provide that extra shot when necessary. The lord is front and center, with the spiky head, power sword, and Noise Champion torso. I’m contemplating doing a thin layer of greenstuff on the sword and sculpting in faces like the Chaos Lord in the DV box has, but I doubt my abilities with greenstuff enough that I might just leave it as-is.

Speaking of the DV box, the Chosen with a power maul is getting transformed…

…into a Dark Apostle, with the addition of some spikes from the vehicle sprue. The official model has a spiked halo, so I decided to play on that theme a little bit and do something similar. Here, I’ll have to play with greenstuff to give him the long strips of parchment from his shoulders. I like that even his helm has a skull faced motif, making him thematically similar to a loyalist chaplain.

Meanwhile, I decided to tackle the autocannon Havocs in my new Chaos list without having to buy 4 boxes of Havocs. A number of conversion ideas online basically revolved around taking a heavy bolter and changing the barrel on it. Fortunately, I had plenty of heavy bolter bits that I’d never used, and I was lucky to have two extra twin-linked reaper autocannon bits that I acquired when I first bought my Chaos army, so it was time to do some cutting and combining. Here’s what I ended up with:

Basically, you trim the barrel and the iron sight off of the heavy bolter and file down the front so it’s smooth and even. Then, you take the end of the reaper autocannon, usually to just past the next-to-last vent hole in the barrel, trim that off, and file the ends until they’re smooth. Glue the two together, and you have a serviceable autocannon that, even though it’s built on a heavy bolter casing, won’t be mistaken for a heavy bolter anytime soon. If you’ve ever seen the Chosen artwork from the Black Crusade RPG showing a Chaos Marine toting an autocannon as long as he is tall, this looks very similar (and is just about as long as a Chaos Marine mini is tall, in fact.) All assembled, the Havoc looks like so:

Here he is with two squadmates:

And a fourth just waiting to pull himself together:

All that remains is to build the Havoc champion (assuming I don’t just use a standard bolter-bearing CSM), and then I can move onto my cultists. I’ll actually have enough models to build a unit of 17 autogunners, 2 flamers, and a champ. If I want to expand beyond that, it’ll mean picking up more DV bits; I’m definitely not paying $10 for 5 mixed cultists from GW when I can get Dark Vengeance leftovers at something like 10 (from the squad I need) for $15.

Slaanesh: Building on the Backbone

I think I have the backbone of my revised Slaanesh CSM army figured out. Right now, it’s looking like this:

HQ: Chaos Lord w/Mark of Slaanesh, Aura of Dark Glory, Power Sword, Chaos Bike, Veterans of the Long War – 135
Troops: 9 Noise Marines w/8 Sonic Blasters, 1 Blastmaster; Noise Champion – 234
Troops: 9 Noise Marines w/8 Sonic Blasters, 1 Blastmaster; Noise Champion – 234
Fast Attack: 4 Chaos Bikers w/Mark of Slaanesh, Icon of Excess, 2 Meltaguns,Veterans of the Long War; Biker Champion – 180
Heavy Support: 4 Chaos Havocs w/4 Autocannons, Veterans of the Long War; Aspiring Champion – 120
Fortification: Aegis Defense Line w/Quad Gun – 100

This comes in at just over 1000 points, and gives me some core capabilities:

  • The Lord and Bikers provide a fast, tough assault unit with anti-armor capabilities
  • The troops give me two Fearless units that can put out a deadly barrage of fire that ignores cover
  • The Havocs and ADL provide a steady supply of autocannon fire that can be equally deadly to light vehicles, light infantry, and fliers (and the extra Leadership from Veterans helps keep them from breaking)

The next step is figuring out where to go from here and filling in the next 497 points to get to 1500. Do I expand my assault capabilities? Do I add more troops? More heavy support? It’s not like there’s any lack of options in the Chaos Marine codex, even if I just limit it to vehicles and Slaanesh-marked units (and unaligned ones). I’m playing around with a few ideas that I can possibly mix and match. Some possibilities include:

Troops: 24 Cultists w/2 Flamers, 22 Autoguns, Mark of Slaanesh; Cultist Champion – 167
I’ve tried playing around with Cultists as an aggressive assault unit, and unless they’re in huge numbers and/or have a lot of cover available (which slows them down), they tend to die before they can really contribute. Instead, I’m thinking of using them as a shooting objective-holding unit that’s hard to assault safely. Sitting them on an objective in cover or behind the ADL, I can keep them alive longer, and while they may not be great shots and have weak guns, they put out a massive number of shots. Between the flamers and the rapid-firing guns, assaulting them’s not a safe bet either.

Troops: 9 Noise Marines w/9 Close Combat Weapons, 0 Boltguns, Icon of Exces, Veterans of the Long War; Noise Champion w/Doom Siren, Power Weapon; Rhino w/Dirge Caster – 290
Instead of using them as a shooting unit, this unit tries to use Noise Marines as a dedicated assault unit. High initiative, good armor, and FNP helps to ensure that they get their strikes in, and the champ is no slouch with his MEQ-killing template and power sword. Hopefully, competent placement of the Rhino will keep them safe from overwatch shots as well. A bit pricy, though.

Troops: 9 Chaos Marines w/9 Close Combat Weapons, 0 Boltguns, Mark of Slaanesh, Icon of Excess, Veterans of the Long War; Aspiring Champion w/Power Sword; Rhino w/Dirge Caster – 255
Same idea as the previous unit, and noticeably cheaper, but without the Doom Siren goodness to melt enemy faces. Very similar to the above, but an option if you want to shave off a few points. Also not Fearless, so they could get swept in combat if they break.

Fast Attack: 5 Chaos Spawn w/Mark of Slaanesh – 165
A unit for quickly rushing the enemy and hitting them with (hopefully) a ton of attacks. The Mark makes sure they go simultaneously with most MEQ armies; while they may not survive the fight (although with Toughness 5 and 3 Wounds each, they might), they’re likely to make a big, messy dent.

HQ: Chaos Lord w/Mark of Slaanesh, Aura of Dark Glory, Power Sword, Steed of Slaanesh, Veterans of the Long War – 135
Not a replacement for the Biker Lord, but a companion for the Chaos Spawn if I go in that direction. Together, the unit’s just slightly more expensive than the Noise Marine assault squad.

Heavy Support: 4 Chaos Havocs w/4 Autocannons, Veterans of the Long War; Aspiring Champion – 120
Yes, it’s a repeat, and it’ll double my kit-bashing requirements, but it’s a solid unit; running 2 is not a bad thing.

Fast Attack: 4 Raptors w/Mark of Slaanesh, Icon of Excess, 2xMeltaguns, Veterans of the Long War; 1 Raptor Champion w/2x Lightning Claws – 195
A classic Raptor unit, and one that fulfills much the same role as my Bikers do. Not quite as tough as the bikes, and slightly more expensive, but still nasty.

Heavy Support: Chaos Predator w/Autocannon, Lascannon Sponsons – 115
A reliable little workhorse, although those sponsons are Snapshotting if it moves. Slightly cheaper than Havocs, but more fragile in general and with less firepower.

This just scratches the surface of what choices I have, but these were the ones that seemed most reliable in doing their jobs. Now it’s time for decisions, decisions, decisions.