Thursday, 11 October 2012

Codex Chaos Space Marines Part 1: Options options options

Codex Reviews and Impressions

Well it seems I have managed to get my grubby pig hands on a copy of the 6th Edition Chaos Codex, and I must say, I'm rather impressed! It is definitely leaps and bounds better than that last edition codex/abortion and fixes many (not all) of the problems inherent with that codex
*cough cough* Icons = marks and therefor losing Icons meant units losing marks... STUPID! *cough cough*.

This picture should be in the dictionary under BADASS. or Sir.

Let's get on to the initial thoughts shall we?

Disclaimer: I am not a tournament player anymore. I've been out of that scene for about 5 years and therefor couldn't give two shakes about the meta-scene and comp scores and the like. I only play now for fun, because I love the background, and because I greatly enjoy crushing peoples hopes and dreams with teeny little metal and resin models. Their tears fuel me and I enjoy winning.
Seriously though, I prefer non-serious games with other competitive people and make wacky lists because I think they are fun. I don't write from a hard-core gamer perspective and if that's what you are looking for, try 3++   or something similar.

Fluff section:
 As usual GW has managed to write a fair amount of new fluff for this edition. Of course the majority is just cut/paste/old pieces rewritten and re-worked to seem new. I'm fine with this as it brings the codex more in line with the current status of, not only the novels, but also the black library printed materials. The new stuff is pretty interesting in my opinion as it fills out a bunch of the timeline notations from the 6th ed. rule books fluff sections and expands the background even more... never a bad thing! Of particular note, I thought, was the section pertaining to the Abyssal Crusade. Top notch.

My only real gripe with this section is that once again, despite 2 editions having passed, GW still won't give us a satisfactory ending to the 13th black crusade. Cadia is STILL on the verge of falling. Blah blah blah. If these are indeed the END TIMES OF MANKIND, then frikkin MAKE IT HAPPEN GW. Stasis may be good for Guillimans corpse, but not an entire universes story.
*Side note: The 3rd battle for Armageddon should finish up too. Seriously. The Imperium won. Move along.*

Rules section:
Now we have the bones of the codex.
  • The bugbear of the book, the thing that seems to have every internet 40k personality all up in arms, is the Chaos Boons tables. Essentially it's a d66 chart (a d6 for the tens and a d6 for the ones) that a player rolls on for their champions when that model meets certain criteria (kills an enemy model in melee, has the gift of mutation, is effected by a psychic power, etc.). The chart has results ranging anywhere from nothing happening, to turning your model into a gibbering pile of meat and spikes (spawndom), to super awesome new powers, or even turning your model into a DEMON PRINCE (dark apotheosis)! Now, naturally, it's a crap shoot as to what you get... but really that's half the fun! if you don't like randomness then you're playing the wrong army, really and truly. If everything is supposed to go according to plan with no deviation, play Necrons or Space Marines.
  • Champion of Chaos Forces your champions (unit leaders, independant characters, personalities, etc.) to issue and accept challenges in melee combat. In return, if they manage to slay their opponent, they get to roll on the Chaos Boon Chart. This is a great and fluffy rule that I whole-heartedly endorse. It's Great. It means your models are always trying to prove themselves to their gods... and they suffer for it!
  • The Veteran(s) of the Long War ability is amazing. Hatred (Space Marines), which includes all types of marines that are not chaos, including Grey Knights. In addition models with this ability gain +1 LD. AND best of all, most models can purchase this ability for only 1 point a piece. That's a pretty great bargain considering roughly 60% of all armies you are likely to face are Marine based forces (statistically.... in reality it's more like 80%), and the ability still has use if you aren't fighting Marines as you still get that +1 LD. A great buy for your models.
  • The new Warlord Traits introduced in this book flow perfectly in line with the ones in the main rulebook. Not much needs be said about them other than that they have a very Chaos feel to them and no 1 and 3 (Black Crusader and Master of Deception) are awesome.

Wargear section:
Toys, toys, toys! Chaos gain a bevvy of awesome new and old favorites in this edition. From Demon weapons (Black Mace and burning brand of Skalthrax for the win!), to demonic steeds, to demonic gifts, to your bog-standard knife, they have it all. If you like a lot of options and the ability to customize that one perfect model (and are comfortable with him throwing it all away to become a demon prince or slobbering puddle of weaponized-pooh), then this is the codex for you! Chaos has always been about options, and this codex is no disappointment.

  • Demon Weapons: There are 6 different demon weapons in this outing. Each has very specialized utility for an army list and fulfill a different task in addition to giving their user an additional 2-6 attacks in melee (roll a d6. on a one the user takes a hit and becomes initiative 1 for the round). Of particular note are the Black Mace and the Dimensional Key. The Mace is a unit sweeper and can bust through an entire squad with ease. The Dimensional Key has a VERY different function. One the user has committed a kill, all terrain in a certain range around them counts as difficult/dangerous terrain for enemy models and all friendly deep strikers no longer scatter. That's a pretty huge deal.. game changing even.
  • Demonic Steeds: Each one changes the profile of their rider and adds a series of bonuses ranging from giving the character a jet-bike, turning it into cavalry, or making it extra fatty (bulky) and granting them toughness, wound and other statistical bonuses.
  • Icons and Marks: Icons are back, but this time around your units efficacy is NOT bound to it's survival. Now they give units other bonuses such as giving them the Fear special rule or (the best of the bunch: Slaneeshs') Feel no Pain. The Marks themselves offer alternate abilities more in line with their governing gods, such as Khorne granting Counter-Charge and  Rage, or Tzeentch granting +1 to invulnerable saves (or granting one if the unit did not have one already).
  • Chaos Rewards: Chaos rewards are a mixed bag to be honest. Some, like the Spell familiar (grants re-rolls on failed psychic tests) and Aura of Dark Glory (invulnerable save) are decent... others, such as the Combat familiar (+2 s4 ap- melee attacks) are absolute dross and should be left to Warhammer fantasy where they belong.
  • Vehicle Equipment: There are a couple standout items in this list that will be making waves, I should think. Chief amongst them being the Dirge Caster (Slaneesh upgrade). It emits a 6" aura around it that disallows overwatch fire from enemy units within said aura. That is pretty mighty. The Khornate Destroyer Blades function like the Orks Deth-Rolla. There are of course a few others but they don't stand out too much (Demonic Possession is silly and fluffy and hilarious. IT EATS PEOPLE!!! HAHAHAH). One point of internet contention is the description of the Lasher Tendrils. It reads that each one grants a -1 attack to any model in combat with the unit that has them.. the issue being that the Demon Engine that has them standard comes equipped with two. Now semantics dictate that as the two lashes are one entry then they only count once. Well RAW reads that the unit is equipped with 2 and the example given reads as two engines each with 2 lashes  cause -4 attacks. Therefor I stand on the concept of 2 lashes as one entry means TWO FRILLIN LASHES. *Dear Internet forum people. stop being rules-lawyering c**ts and enjoy the friggin game ok?
Psychic Powers:
Well now, this is a treat. 3 new chaos disciplines to peruse and try out, one each for the 3 psychically endowed gods (Khorne laughs at your petty WEEZARDS!!). Naturally some of the powers aren't all that great. Tzeentchs' Boon of Mutation stands out here. A s4 ap- hit that if you pass, you could still roll the "nothing" result or turn your champion into the weaponized doom-poop warrior you've never wanted (spawn). No thank you. you can keep that one. Others are superb though. The Nurgle power Weapon Virus stands out to me as it grants "Get's Hot" to ALL of an enemy units ranged weapons. Or the Slaneeshi Primaris (PRIMARIS!!!) power Sensory Overload. the list of abilities that attack gets is terrifying (range 24"  S4  AP4  Assault4, Blind, Concussive, Pinning... HOLY HELL!)

And with that,  I'll leave you all and continue this article in part two: the list, as there is an astounding number of units in this codex with the Elites and Heavy sections almost bursting with choices (9 and 8 options respectively!).
So, Until next time,
May the Gods favor your dice.
Bean out~


  1. Where does it say an icon's effect is not tied to its survival?

  2. I was referencing the old codex where a units mark was dependant on the survival of the icon. When the icon died off, then the unit lost the benefits of the mark.
    In the current codex the icon provides alternate abilities... Which if course rely on it being alive... But unlike before, if the icon does now you just loose its benefits, not the benefits of the units mark.

  3. Ah, I see what mean! Marks don't disappear when a model dies, but Icons do. I still think its silly that Icons abilities are dependant on a model, can't someone else pick up the magic stick?

  4. oops, prematurely posted! Good review anyhow, look forwards to the next bit :-)

  5. Yeah, 10'000 years and still no-ones figured out how to pick up the stick of power when one guy gets offed... Maybe that's why GW won't let Chaos take per Cadia...
    Thanks! I'm just ironing out the kinks now and I'll have it up soonish.


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