Normally, in the past, I have been an almost exclusively Imperium player, but recently I have been trying out some different Chaos Space Marine lists, based on the new Traitor Legion options, and I was able to try out the following 2000 point army during the holidays:
—-Night Lords CAD—-
*Daemon Prince of Tzeentch with Wings, Stormbolt Plate armor (Relic) [WARLORD]
*2 x 5 Raptors with 2 Meltaguns, Power Axe on Champion
—-Iron Warriors CAD—-
*Daemon Prince of Tzeentch with Wings, Fleshmetal Hide armor (Relic)
*6 x Obliterator (1 model per squad)
*2 x Haemotrope Reactors
—-Thousand Sons Allied Detachment—-
*Sorcerer with PML(3), TDA, Spell Familiar, Mark of Tzeentch, MB, Astral Grimoire (Relic)
*1 x 10 Terminators with Mark of Tzeentch, 10 Combi-Meltas, 10 Chainfists
*1 x 10 Tzaangors
I was playing against a Word Bearer’s army with lots of Cultists plus a Dark Apostle (Lost and the Damned formation), triple Forgefiends and Warpsmith (Helforged Warpack formation), two Heldrakes (Heldrake Terror Pack formation), and three Helbrutes that could deep strike (Mayhem Pack formation, I think its called), and two PML(3) Sorcerers (Lords of the Legion for the Grand Host detachment). Since everything was part of the Grand Host detachment, except for the Helbrutes, they all benefited from the Crusader and giving a free boon each turn to a character in addition to their specific formation rules and the Word Bearer “Chapter Tactics” (i.e. Dark Apostles have a 6″ Zealot bubble and harnessing Warp Charges for Conjurations in the Malefic discipline on 3+s).
In terms of my army, the plan was to keep all the one man Obliterator squads in the back, around the Haemotrope Reactors, and “power up” their Plasma Cannons into S7 AP2 Large Blast pie plates for fire support to the army. Meanwhile, the Tzeentch Terminators and TDA Sorcerer formed a mini-deathstar and advanced quickly on my opponent, using the Astral Grimoire relic to make them Jump Troops in the Movement Phase and Psychic Blessings to “power up” to 2+/3++ saves as they advanced. Simultaneously, the two Tzeentch Daemon Princes Swooped forward 24″ on turn 1 and used their re-rollable 2+ armor saves (and re-rollable 2+ cover save, in the case of the Night Lords DP) to survive incoming enemy firepower until they could transition to Gliding mode (Turn 2) and charge into the enemy ranks (Turn 3). Finally, the Raptors started in reserve and dropped in to meltacide enemy units and charge if they survived while the Tzaangors were just a cheap ObSec unit that might tarpit another enemy force.
In terms of actual battlefield results, the Obliterators did not do so well, as several of them suffered Get’s Hot! on turn 1 (Haemotrope Reactor powers up their Plasma weapons, but also causes Get’s Hot on a 1 or 2, not just 1), meaning I lost a lot of firepower there. On turn 2, they were out of range for most of their weapons, so I had to use Lascannons, which was not ideal against tons of Cultists, though it did make for some humor at the time 😉 Overall, I think I kept the Obliterators too tied to the Haemotrope Reactors, meaning they did not have as much impact on the game as I expected, and in the future would advance them as they fired, or even DS them closer to enemy lines.
The Raptors did surprisingly well, with good scatters for their Deep Strikes, and one Raptor squad was the Hero of the game, killing the Warpsmith Warlord on the turn they dropped in and then killing another Sorceror in Overwatch as he charged them and a Forgefiend on turn 3 with their Meltas. In the future, I might invest in one or two more Raptor squads and continue dropping them aggressively around the enemy forces like I did this game.
The two Daemon Princes also did well, shrugging off almost all enemy combat power easily, except for Vector Strikes by my opponent’s Heldrakes, which ignore both armor and cover saves of course. They both survived long enough to get into combat, where they tore up units as expected. I think, if I were to change anything about them, I would have given them each PML(1) and then have them roll on Telepathy for Psychic Shriek, since right now they lack any kind of shooting and have to drop into Hover Mode to make any kind of impact on the game.
Finally, the Tzaangors didn’t do much, as they were pretty much ignored, but the Tzeentch Terminators performed pretty well, absorbing a decent bit of firepower (I think I lost one of them as a casualty) and being able to close quickly with their Chainfists and 2+/3++ saves, thanks to the Astral Grimoire. In the future, I might drop several Chainfists and use the points for some other units in the army (like PML(1) for the DPs that I mentioned above).
Overall, I think this army did a decent job of combining three different elements of the CSM Legions, with lots of ObSec units (in this case, it was actually all Kill Points, so this didn’t matter, but in most games I would have 9 ObSec units) and a solid amount of durability, mobility, and firepower all around.