I've been gone a few years. A lot has changed.

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I've been gone a few years. A lot has changed.

Post by Bone2pick » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:01 pm

I shelved my CSM army at the end of fifth edition for a variety of uninteresting reasons. But I've recently succumbed to a growing itch — an itch to breathe life into my warband again and lead my evil soldiers back into battle. Here's where I need your help: my absence basically stripped me of most of my useful game knowledge & strategies. I'm not sure what's great, what's mediocre, and what's god awful. So this thread is my attempt to get some suggestions from you fine folks on what manner and type of CSM army I should/could field.

Here's what I have.

10 CSM with PF champ & rhino
10 CSM with PF champ & rhino
10 CSM with PF champ & rhino

10 CSM Terminators with combi weapons

2 Decimator Engines with butcher cannons

1 Hellbrute

2 CSM vindicators

2 Landraiders with lascannons

2 Daemon Princes with wings

* in the works, chaos bikers with chaos sorcerer (or possibly lord) on bike
---------------

I don't need a competing list, I just want to squeeze value out of what I have. Feel free to make suggestion, leave comments, or ask questions. Thanks.
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Re: I've been gone a few years. A lot has changed.

Post by Alkuzar » Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:26 pm

At first i would advise to pick up the Traitor Legions Codex Supplement (every CSM player will basicly say this is a must have) and chose one of the legions for your CSM army, most of them do have some resctrictions as some force you to take a certain mark of Chaos for example, but each Legion has specific rules for your army, does not matter how you set them up really, as long it is according the Legion specific rules and restrictions.
Each Legion also has new specific warlord traits and chaos artifacts to use.

After you done that, you can look even deeper in the specific legions as you can field a detachment army made of certain formations that will give you even more special rules for it.

Plus the supplement comes with all kinds of formations to use in battleforged or unbound armies (some are legion specific and can only be used in that legion.) The book also has the 4 new CSM only psychic disciplines in it.

So all in all, pick up the latest codex supplement and i'm sure you will find something you like. :)
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Re: I've been gone a few years. A lot has changed.

Post by Bone2pick » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:48 pm

Thanks for the reply. I actually own the Traitor Legions book, but I'm not even a quarter of the way through it yet. It was a very recent purchase. I thought there might be value in posting on a forum like this—even if I had read through the entire book—because having been away from the game for so long, I wouldn't know how CSM units perform on the table.

For example, should I make sure my army has a psyker? If so, which is typically preferable, a Daemon Prince or a CSM Sorcerer? Will I get more value out of keeping my Warlord (HQ) cheap, or would it be smart to trick that slot out? If I only have a single Hellbrute is it worth taking, or should I hold off until I get at least two more? Ect.

At a glance, I'm thinking about going Black Legion for my warband. But that could easily change after I learn more.
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Re: I've been gone a few years. A lot has changed.

Post by Kovlovsky » Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:36 am

First, I will comment on your whole list of availlable models and things to consider. On your CSMs, getting 2 special weapons by squad is a must. I would try to get at least one squad with 2 meltaguns, another with 2 plasma guns and the last one with another two special weapons of your choice (never mix different special weapons or you're wasting firepower). If I was you, I would be trying Ebay bit sellers if you don't have the right bits at home (don't try Hoard O'bit, the user has a terrible customer support. Bits World is my favorite Ebay bit sellers and he has amazing customer support). The second thing for this topic are Vindicators. They now can be taken in squadron and if you have a squadron of three, you can combine their firepower to do a more powerful shot. It becomes one shot with a massive blast template (I believe it's the 7 inches one) with the normal S10 AP2, but it also ignores cover. It's kind of cool, but as soon as you lose one of the vindicator, you lose this ability as well so use it early in the game. Predators can also be fielded in squadron and receive the Tank Hunter and Monster Hunter special rules. So, I would advise you to get a 3rd vindicator to use this new bonus. Chaos bikers are amazing, so having your team operational would be a good thing. People often use them with 2 meltas for mobile antitank, but two plasma guns is good too because they are relentless and can charge after firing a Rapid Fire weapon. They are effective bodyguards for a biker sorcerer or Chaos Lord too.

Now, your specific questions:
Bone2pick wrote: For example, should I make sure my army has a psyker? If so, which is typically preferable, a Daemon Prince or a CSM Sorcerer?
Psykers have much more potential than in older editions, but they are more random since you roll your powers on tables instead of just paying for this or that power. So, you sacrifice certainty for higher potential (the new powers are generally much much better). That said, you need Warp charges to get the most from your psykers (it's 1d6 + the total of mastery levels of all your psykers per psychic phase). So having one psyker can be useful as a force multiplier, but to really affect the game, having more than one is a good thing. A good and relatively cheap way to get Warp charges is taking an Ally Detachment (you can now bring allies. See the Ally Detachment and Ally Chart in the rules book for more info) of Tzeentch daemons with one Herald of Tzeentch and one or two squads of Pink Horrors (I recommend to have at least 11 in each for maximising your Warp charge generation). It's not obligatory, but it can be fun. But you can play effectively with just a single psyker or none at all. It really depends of what you want to do with your list.

As for what model is better, it depends again of what you want to do. Most of the time, I feel sorcerers are enough and they are affordable. Sometimes, however, you will need your psyker to have more mobility and survivability. In that case, a winged daemon prince will serve you better. The fact they fly also makes them harder to hit, so you can move them in contested area without them being too endangered while a sorcerer would need an escort or at least a disc of Tzeentch to survive in hostile environments. Also, giving mastery levels to a daemon prince can make him a close combat monster. Biomancy can make him an unstoppable killing machine.
Bone2pick wrote:Will I get more value out of keeping my Warlord (HQ) cheap, or would it be smart to trick that slot out? If I only have a single Hellbrute is it worth taking, or should I hold off until I get at least two more? Ect.
In general, I want my warlord to be good at something and not just taken as a tax. Also, CSMs have access to daemon weapons and many other powerful pieces of wargear that can make very powerful close combat characters. It's worth investing into your leader and a good charge can make a good difference. Sometimes, especially when you take a formation (see the rulebook for more info), you will be forced to take more HQ characters than you would want to. In that situation, you might want to keep these "tax" characters cheap. The general rule to follow is to know what you want to do with a character before investing. If you don't think that a particular character isn't necessary to your battle plan, it's preferable to keep him cheap. If he will have an important role, then investing equipment in it is worthwhile.
Bone2pick wrote:At a glance, I'm thinking about going Black Legion for my warband. But that could easily change after I learn more.
The Black Legion is quite a fun one with some great tactical bonuses. Take your time. If you aren't sure which legion you prefer, you can test your favorite on the battlefield and make your choice after having played them. Just make sure that you select the one you like the most.

If you have further questions, don't hesitate to ask them! We're here to help! Happy wargaming!
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Re: I've been gone a few years. A lot has changed.

Post by Alkuzar » Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:10 am

Kovlovsky wrote:If you have further questions, don't hesitate to ask them! We're here to help! Happy wargaming!
First of all this ^.

And as Kovlovsky has answered most of your questions, i agree with all things he said. So i won't be repeating everything he said, just the ones i think are important.

Get 2 special weapons for each CSM squad, also one more Vindicator would be a good option, because CSM also has the option for vehicle squadrons including the special rules now.
Bikers are a good choice, with or without a Chaos Lord or Sorcerer attached to them.

And my personal opinions, I would also take 2 heavy weapon choices for your terminators, depending what you want to do with them ofcourse. Also i'm not a big fan of Hellbrutes, i would rather put the points towards the third vindicator or extra bikes, seeing you als have 2 Decimators. But for some detachments in the supplement you will need it seeing you have no havocs.

But the most important thing is, take your time, find out what you like to play, being a certain Legion or certain models. Try them out, see what works best for you.

And the question I have for you is, are you planning to play your army battleforged or unbound?
Because if your want to play battleforged you are limited to the options in detachments and formations, because after a quick glance your current army would not work in a battleforged army, it will need to change some things up.
It won't be big changes, you just have to get 1 or 2 extra things depending on your preference concerning the Chaos Sorcerer or Lord on a bike.
But with that you can make an Army of 2 detachments with everything you have without dropping anything, that way you can also field it as any legion you want, but not as the Legion specific army.
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Re: I've been gone a few years. A lot has changed.

Post by Bone2pick » Tue Mar 21, 2017 8:13 am

Great post Kovlovsky, you've given me a lot to consider! I actually have two special weapons in each of my ten mam CSM units I just didn't list them. Sorry about that. I believe they're double plasma, double plasma, and double melta.

I like your suggestion about the third vindicator. I loved using my vindicators back in the day anyway so I'm happy to add one more. Do you remember where their squadron rules are in the Traitor book by chance?

And as to the psyker thing, you are correct, back in fifth edition they weren't that common. But from the new batreps that I've recently watched it looks like that's changed. I'll be sure to make one of the bikers a sorcerer so I can choose which psyker to bring to games—him or a DP.

Alkuzar, to your question as to whether I'll go battleforged or unbound, I don't have an answer as of yet. I'd like to field the vindicator squad from time to time. And maybe a Terminator Annihilation Force after I pick up a termy lord. After those plans I don't have a a clear roadmap.

I'm sure I'll bump this thread with some more newb questions in the future. Again, I appreciate all the help! :D
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Re: I've been gone a few years. A lot has changed.

Post by Kovlovsky » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:34 am

Bone2pick wrote:Great post Kovlovsky, you've given me a lot to consider! I actually have two special weapons in each of my ten mam CSM units I just didn't list them. Sorry about that. I believe they're double plasma, double plasma, and double melta.
Thanks! I'm glad you did because ordering only a few special weapons on Ebay generally make you pay more in shipping than the base price of the bits you've ordered. It's better to buy in large batches.
Bone2pick wrote:I like your suggestion about the third vindicator. I loved using my vindicators back in the day anyway so I'm happy to add one more. Do you remember where their squadron rules are in the Traitor book by chance?
I know for sure that the squadron rules are in the Traitor's Hate book. But they might have been added in the Traitor Legions book too. To be honest, unless you want to bring Chaos Knights, don't buy the Traitor's Hate book just for the squadron rules. All the formations that were in the Traitor's Hate book are in the Traitor Legions book as well and so are the new Chaos psychic disciplines. Try to get them on the internet or something if there aren't in the Traitor Legions book (I don't own it yet because I bought Wrath of Magnus for my Thousand Sons instead).
Bone2pick wrote:And as to the psyker thing, you are correct, back in fifth edition they weren't that common. But from the new batreps that I've recently watched it looks like that's changed. I'll be sure to make one of the bikers a sorcerer so I can choose which psyker to bring to games—him or a DP.
Yes, more options is always better. Other strong Daemon Princes builds are:

- Daemon Prince: Wings, Power Armor, Black Mace and Daemon of the god you want (People generally go for Nurgle or Tzeentch).
- Daemon Prince: Wings, Power Armor, Burning Brand of Skallathrax and Daemon of X god (I think Tzeentch is preferable here because you don't want to jink if you're going to use the artefact flamer).
Bone2pick wrote:Alkuzar, to your question as to whether I'll go battleforged or unbound, I don't have an answer as of yet. I'd like to field the vindicator squad from time to time. And maybe a Terminator Annihilation Force after I pick up a termy lord. After those plans I don't have a a clear roadmap.
Go Battleforged for sure. Unbound is poorly regarded because it was used early in the 7th edition as a way to deploy maximum cheese and also because GW gave use great detachments and formations that make Unbound unattractive for Chaos players. I would only use Unbound to make an army that is fluffy, but not compatible with the current detachments and formations availlable.

The Terminator Annihilation Force seems like a fun way to bring terminators. It works well with Black Legion rules as well.

Also since the Havocs have been brought up, if you ever make a squad of them, don't buy the GW resin models ever. They are single pose models with no options for armaments. You would need 4 overpriced boxes for getting the weapons you want. I would suggest to either buy the SM Devastators and convert them using spare CSM bits or buying CSMs (it's probably your cheapest option if you want them to use missile launchers or lascannons) and the Forge World heavy weapons for Horus Heresy. All the weapons that are fired at the hip (autocannons, heavy bolters by example) are compatible with the normal bolter arms. If you want to bring the weapons held on the shoulders, you will have to get the FW Horus Heresy Heavy Support Squad bodies, but they look great, so I think it's worth it.
Bone2pick wrote:I'm sure I'll bump this thread with some more newb questions in the future. Again, I appreciate all the help! :D
Anytime! We're here to help!
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Re: I've been gone a few years. A lot has changed.

Post by Koonitz » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:44 am

Bone2pick wrote:I like your suggestion about the third vindicator. I loved using my vindicators back in the day anyway so I'm happy to add one more. Do you remember where their squadron rules are in the Traitor book by chance?
As a loyalist Marine player who has had the option to field the dreaded 3 Vindicator unit for some time now, I've pondered it for a while and paid special attention to batreps where it is fielded, and I've come to a simple conclusion: There's a reason it's not often fielded, which is "It's a trap."

Like any, and every, unit where you can easily sink a lot of points into it, a balance should be maintained In most standard sized games, fielding 3 Vindicators in a single unit serves only to make it a big target. I have not once seen the unit fire the big shot more than once in a game, and then usually only because that player got the first turn. By putting the 3 vehicles in a single squadron, you are forced to fire all three at the same target, limiting their versatility. The single blast (which is apocalyptic blast, 10", not massive, 7") can only be fired if ALL three vehicles can fire. A single shaken/stunned will silence it for a turn. A single weapon destroyed/explodes result will silence it for the game. An immobilized result can cripple it (or silence it for the game, if you choose to abandon the immobilized vehicle).

What this means is that any penetrating hit is crippling to the unit. As the Vindicators have standard predator armour ratings, that penetrating hit is surprisingly easy to get. For instance, I've used a single Thunderfire cannon to silence singular Vindicators before. It would be easier to do so against a unit of 3, as you are less likely to miss. Do not forget, as well, that damaging hits pass over through the unit. If someone can lay into that squadron with enough firepower (say with a large anti-tank unit, or a handful of deep-striking melta weapons), you can easily lose multiple tanks in a volley.

I'd be careful with that unit.

In larger games (2000+), you have the points to play with. Go nuts.

If you're worried about spreading your vindicators out, eating up your heavy support slots, then I encourage you to look into the formation of tanks. A formation of 3 units of 1 Vindicator each and 1 Warpsmith is a legal formation and would free up all of your heavy support slots in a CAD.
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Re: I've been gone a few years. A lot has changed.

Post by Alkuzar » Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:09 pm

Bone2pick wrote:I like your suggestion about the third vindicator. I loved using my vindicators back in the day anyway so I'm happy to add one more. Do you remember where their squadron rules are in the Traitor book by chance?
Page 36 at the bottom.
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Re: I've been gone a few years. A lot has changed.

Post by Bone2pick » Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:45 pm

Kovlovsky wrote:Yes, more options is always better. Other strong Daemon Princes builds are:

- Daemon Prince: Wings, Power Armor, Black Mace and Daemon of the god you want (People generally go for Nurgle or Tzeentch).
That's the exact build I plan to go if I have the points.

@Koonitz, thanks for the warning. I don't want to trade a bump firepower at the cost of making the vindicators an easy threat to mitigate. I'll pick up a third vindicator anyway because I can still see myself fielding three of them. I'll likely just make them separate units. And like you said, in a big game I may take them as a squadron just for the chance of landing a big plate or two.

@Alkuzar, thanks!
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Re: I've been gone a few years. A lot has changed.

Post by Bone2pick » Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:37 pm

Okay, once again I'm in need of your input. I just picked up a terminator lord in order to run a Terminator Annihilation Force (and just to have one) and I'm unsure how to best equip him. Here's the plan. I already have ten termies—not counting the lord—and I want to break them into three units. Two three man termicide units to deepstrike, and one four man termy unit plus the lord to carry in a land raider as a deathstar.

I don't want my lord to be shooty because I will typically want to charge choice targets straight out of the LR. The question is, how should I arm him? Double lighting claws? A particular power weapon or artifact?

Your suggestions will be appreciated.
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Re: I've been gone a few years. A lot has changed.

Post by Kovlovsky » Thu Mar 23, 2017 10:45 pm

Did you went for the Black Legion finally or something else? It can change what marks of Chaos are allowed or not and what relics you can take. But to speak in generic CSM terms, one favorite build is this:

Chaos Lord: Terminator Armor, Power Fist, Lightning Claw, Sigil of Corruption, VotLW (162 pts).

The guy will have 2+/4++ saves and will be able to chose between striking at S8 AP2 unwieldy or strike at AP3 and initiative 5 with Shred. He will be very flexible as for which kind of targets he can attack and quite survivable. You can replace the Power Fist by a Chainfist if you want to cut tanks open as well.

Now the choice of mark of Chaos will change depending on what affiliation you army has, what mark you want on his terminator bodyguards and what you seek him to be able to do best. Mark of Tzeentch is for survivability against high strength low AP attacks (like plasma or lascannons by example), Nurgle is for being resistant against small arms and low strength attacks and be more resistant to instakilling attacks, Khorne is for burying people in attacks and the Icon of Wrath (Furious Charge + rerolling charge distance) and Slaanesh is for striking first and the Icon of Excess (FnP).

If you go for the Mark of Khorne, another option opens up:

Chaos Lord: Terminator Armor, Axe of Blinding Fury, Sigil of Corruption, Mark of Khorne, VotLW (180 pts).

With his axe, he will have a crazy amount of attacks at S6 and AP2 at initiative and be reasonnably durable. He will be reduced at WS5 and BS4 because of his weapon, but it's not a big issue with all the attacks you get at quite high strength. If you fight against Space Marines VotLW will compensate it nicely.

If you pick a particular legion or go for Crimson Slaughter, you will get access to additional artefacts and other things that will affect these builds and also allow to create other. So, this choice will have considerable effects.

If you have further questions, don't hesitate to ask them.
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Re: I've been gone a few years. A lot has changed.

Post by Bone2pick » Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:52 am

I plan for my Terminator Annihilation Force to be a Black Legion detachment. It looks like that will allow me to be flexible and it makes my terminators troop choices. It will bump all my termys to Vets of LW of course at no additional cost. And the TAF detachment states "this formation's lord must be equipped with terminator armor at no additional cost."

I take that to mean a free armor upgrade? If so that saves me quite a few points. :)

I like the versatility of power fist & lightning claw. Good suggestion. It lets me threaten almost everything in close combat. And that's what I think this lord charging out of my land raider should do. I'll give him the Sigil of Corruption also.

I'm not sure about marks as of yet. I'm not sure I can spare them in 1500 point games, but I'll definitely spring for them in 1850 and bigger.

Thanks for the advice Kov!
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Re: I've been gone a few years. A lot has changed.

Post by coldsteel » Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:21 am

Bone2pick wrote:And the TAF detachment states "this formation's lord must be equipped with terminator armor at no additional cost."

I take that to mean a free armor upgrade? If so that saves me quite a few points. :)
Exactly so.
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Re: I've been gone a few years. A lot has changed.

Post by Kovlovsky » Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:44 am

I think you should at least use marks of Chaos on your warlord and his unit even at 1500 points. You want him to be as strong as possible. If you go for Power Fist (or Chain Fist) and Lightning Claw, I would probably go for either the Mark of Khorne for him and his squad, and an Icon of Wrath; or Mark of Nurgle to be safer from instakilling. Tzeentch would be nice if you deep strike or feel you will see a lot of AP2 weapons.

I was glad to be of any help! :)
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