(Heavy Support, From Hel's Heart, Daemon Allies, Other Allies, and CSM as Allies)
- 6th Edition CSM Heavy
Ah, the clumsy old fumble-armed, over-expensive model whose price has been hiked dramatically to sell the shiny new Daemon Engines. Here, have a Leman Russ who is a walker and whose front armor is 2 points lower than a real Leman Russ, but costs 45 points more. Thanks… no.
All right, the Defiler gets IWND, Daemonforge, Daemon and a 4th hull point, but frankly, in a crowded Heavy Support section there's little to no reason to buy it… especially with the delicious possibilities embodied by the new Soul Grinder in the Daemon's codex. I mean, the Defiler can't even fire its battle cannon and heavy flamer/havoc launcher on the same turn, for the Warp's sake. Or, yeah, it can buy a power flail for an obscene amount of points—why not just swap for a power fist for free like last edition, GW? Please? C'mon.
There are enough over-expensive Daemon Engines available to you, these days, that you don't have to put up with this crap. If you want a large blast template, buy a Vindi. I've already converted my Defilers into Soul Grinders (with a little help from their friends Mr. Helbrute
and Mr. Necrosphinx
), and put the Defiler cannons onto Rhinos to make them into those aforementioned Vindis
. The kitbashing wheel spins, and who can tell where Tzeentch's mutating influence will end?
These guys are slightly tougher this edition thanks to the new vehicle Pen chart, but by the same coin—that means Soul Grinders will also be all that much better, and will still
All right. Slightly less expensive, and also AV 12, but not as drunken-armed. Still only BS3, but this just makes the ectoplasma cannons look more tempting. S8 Plasma that can instant death MEQ or TEQ? 3 blast templates worth of it? Yes please! Of course, there is the danger of glancing oneself to death at that rate, but… hey. IWND and all that. Plus, on the off chance that you have a Warpsmith in your army, you can work on repairs, too (admittedly, a rare inclusion—unless you're specifically building a gunline army, so have included the Warpsmith with this in mind. Synergy, build units on each other, etc).
Are the HACs worth it? They're not stellar for anti-air, since they'll only be snapping fire, and there is that BS3 issue, but—yeah, 8 S8 shots that can, if you choose to Daemonforge, can reroll penetration results (not that you can Explode vehicles with AP4 anymore). Mmf. Ally in a Tzherald with Divination for Prescience rerolls to hit and you're going to be unleashing some serious pain with this bad boy, even able to get several hits on a flyer. You can consider throwing on a maw ectoplasma cannon, though I'd advise considering it carefully: if this guy's going to be focusing on fliers and tanks, that cannon is going to be less effective than tripling up EPC templates. Sure, it provides some very useful anti-infantry to the 8 S8 shots that can still wreck pretty much anybody's day, but just one template at a low BS is kinda likely to scatter off course. More killiness is always nice, of course.
> 175 - Forgefiend with 2 HAC
(in an army with an allied Tzherald, or in an allied contingent attached to Daemons)
Kind of a glass cannon thanks to AV12 (for all that IWND and Daemon are helpful), but if you get a few turns of shooting in with him, he should be able to make back his points, in either load-out. All in all: fun and borderline competitive.
Much cheaper than the Forgefiend and much faster. Great at ripping tanks to bits with magma clamps or tarpitting infantry with lashers, right? Well, not so much the tarpitting, since most MEQ enemies will just krak grenade you to death, and monstrous creatures will probably be Smashing for 1 attack, regardless of how many of their normal attacks you would prevent, and with so damn few attacks (at lowish WS), you're not going to be inflicting many wounds per turn.
It's a trifle better in the former role, as anti-tank, since it's a threat that will get in the enemy's face fast and force them to address it pronto, though do bear in mind that the extra magma hits only get allocated against the model that would take the hit from your first attacks, anyways, so are not too useful against one-wound enemies—almost all enemies, that is. Free extra hits against tanks and monstrous creatures are nice, though!
Still, it's the same case as the Helbrute. Why take it if it's a throw-away distraction unit? Hell, this unit practically is the Helbrute, just swapping a multi-melta for the ability to move faster (and a few other little rules/points tweaks).
On the other hand, I might be selling this guy a bit short. One of my complaints about the Helbrute was that you can't make a viable full-melee build of it. Well, why would you need to, when you have these guys, who are specialized in that role and faster, to boot? These guys could make a great complement to an “in-your-face all-out attack” list where you're rushing forward with as many threats as possible—they might die quick, but that means your other high profile threats will be getting through, and if they don't die, they'll crack a tank or two for you. All in all, I would generally recommend magma over lashers, though lashers would help against Daemonettes, Wraithknights, dreadnoughts, and some other tank-killers. Depending on your meta, it's up to you what you pick—both have their roles.
> 125 – Maulerfiend with magma cutters
Ah, the Vindi. Something of a gamble, since opponents tend to have such a great fear of that dreaded S10 AP2 large blast template that they'll throw everything into killing this as soon as they can. In that case… why not take 2 of them? They would cost about as much as one Troops choice, together, and you'd have the power to dictate a whole lot of enemy shooting/movement with how you deploy and move them. Downside: you only get one other HS slot. A small one, all things considered.
The front armor of 13 is a dark godsend, but it's important to keep in mind what direction the enemy will be firing their big guns from. That's part of the reason it's nice to deploy one Vindi on each of your flanks: easy to keep most of the enemy on the front armor facing, and the overlapping fields of fire mean that there's virtually nowhere on the board that can escape their threat range doom-bubble.
The advent of fliers hurts these guys a little—it's easier for your opponent to sweep around to a lesser armor facing, and any units up in the air are safe from your super-super-bang-bang gun. One more downside to the mere 24" range of the demolisher cannon worth noting: it makes it quite hard to stay outside of melta range, especially against mobile enemies. There's a 6" sweet spot against infantry (that you can move back to stay in, if they haven't run), but it's still a bit hard to stay in, when considering the entire enemy army. Or you can shoot at the meltagunners, of course.
Should you buy any upgrades for the Vindi? I pretty much always buy the twin-linked bolter, since the randomized "weapon destroyed" results this edition means you reduce the enemy's chance of destroying your demolisher cannon by half for a handful of points. With the advent of 7e, Daemonic Possession returns as a very attractive choice, too: ignore practically all the Pen chart, while 1” more scatter from the lowered BS is not so harmful as to knock it out as an option.
Fun. Not min-maxed for competitiveness, but fun, and designed to give your opponent a scare. Here's a fire-sink for your enemies and a distraction that I can get behind, since it has such deadly fangs—and for little more than a Maulerfiend apiece. Fie upon the Pen chart!
> 140 - Vindi with twin-linked bolter and Daemonic Possession
> 140 - Vindi with twin-linked bolter and Daemonic Possession
Ah, the good old Predator. Another AV13 front armor tank, but geared to long range dakka rather than short range large blasts—and so, honestly, a bit more effective. And a bit less likely to get it shot to death by a terrified enemy player.
First up, sponsons. Which type are you going to get? Sure, the naked Pred might be dirt cheap, but it has no staying power. You're going to want to buy some sponsons.
If your list doesn't have enough anti-tank in it, I'd advise just going for a pair of lascannon sponsons and leaving the turret alone.
> 125 - Predator with lascannon sponsons
Sure, you could spend a pretty penny upgrading the turret to a twin-linked lascannon, but then the Pred starts getting a bit too expensive for my taste, and against anything except AV13 or 14, the default autocannon is going to be about as effective.
If you have anti-tank covered (with, for instance, the meltas on every infantry unit plus a squad of Havocs I tend to take), you can consider the DakkaPred. Dirt cheap and traditional with heavy bolter sponsons is always an option, for a not disrespectable weight of fire…
> 95 - Predator with heavy bolter sponsons
But I say why not go all-out with the dakka? It's what this tank was built for, after all...
> 122 - Predator with heavy bolter sponsons, combi-plasma, twin-linked bolter, and a havoc launcher
>>> Land Raider
Overpriced and drunken-weaponed. The things the heavy bolters are going to be effective against are not what the lascannons are going to be most effective against, and vice-versa. Costs more than the Loyalist equivalent (IIRC), and loses PotMS to boot. Only the one set of weapons available, with no way to swap them out.
That said, it is the only way for Chaos to get AV 14 without resorting to outside-the-codex things, and is their only assault transport, so makes a reliable (albeit painfully expensive) delivery system for Termis, Zerkers-with-Kharn, or the like. I've also seen somebody kit out the Land Raider with a havoc launcher, combi-bolter, combi-plasma, and warpflame gargoyles to turn the LR into a mobile dakka-fortress. You might have a turn of sapping shots with most weapons as you get into position to let out your minis inside, but after that... you'll be hard to crack. Unless you're up against a Knight, a squad of Fire Dragons, Skarbrand/Belakor, a Dreadnought with a power fist, combi-melta Sternguard, Scarab swarms, massed Gauss/rust-glancing ...or some of the other great anti-vehicle stuff out there these days.
Ahem. Land Raider. You can make it work, but it is not a top-tier competitive choice by any stretch of the imagination. I'd much rather take a Forge World Spartan/Storm Eagle/whatever, but not everyone has the luxury of taking or the inclination to take Forge World.
Ah, Oblits. Very similar to last codex, but subtly changed. All in all, I think the tweaks made them more balanced and less of an auto-buy unit, though that won't keep me from bemoaning their loss of Fearless.
Oblits have gained an Assault Cannon, giving them a good new tool in their arsenal; have to use a different weapon than the previous turn; are cheaper; and have the ability to take marks. It balances out, I feel—the aforementioned loss of Fearless is a somewhat hard blow, but with such small squad sizes, you're not going to have to take many morale checks before the entire squad is gone.
Much like the Mutilators, MoN is clearly the superior mark here—preventing ID on multi-wound models is paramount, it prevents wounds from small arms fire, and it costs less than the (admittedly still very useful) MoT.
3 Oblits in a squad is rather expensive, but adds a level of redundancy (which in turn becomes reliability) that 2 Oblits just can't match. I'm not a fan of solo Oblits, very much—sure, you avoid the issue of LD tests (since if he dies, he's dead), but that tactic just plain gobbles up HS slots, surrenders kill points easily, and one Oblit really isn't going to be able to regularly eliminate an enemy threat. He's a kind of useful tool that might do something for you, rather than a steady leveling force.
My optimal unit of Oblits?
> 152 − 2 Oblits with MoN
You can always bump it up to 3, if you have the points to spare.
Aaaand we close in on the humble Havoc.
Havocs are one of the favorites this cpdex, thanks to a broad array of relatively cheap special weapons. In terms of squad size, I'm a fan of getting a few ablative wounds in there so you don't immediately start removing the heavyweight punchers of your unit (or the guy who's leadership is helping keep the unit there). How many ablative wounds I field, exactly, comes down to the last stages of my list, as I haggle for points among various units.
Some people prefer getting a full 10 Havocs, but I see that as points wasted, most of the time. On occasion, I run the bare minimum of 5 models, myself, though I try not to. Still, it fits with my generally MSU state of mind: why buy 2 large Havocs units when those points could be spent on 3 small ones with more heavy weapons? You'll be doing more damage and your opponent will have to shoot at more different targets to shut them down.
I would advise against getting any gear on the champion, as he's probably fated to die quickly, anyways, and you don't want the Havocs to be in combat (where most champion upgrades are relevant) anyways. The largest exception to this is if you're taking a squad of Havocs with special weapons in a Rhino as a trail-blazer (think a cheaper, slightly less effective version of special-weapon equipped Chosen and you'll be on the money).
> - 7x Havocs with 2 melta, 2 plasma, and a champ with a combi-plasma in a Rhino
This squad can unload a good amount of firepower. They can pop a pair of weapons out the hatch to take on MEQ or TEQ (plasma) or tanks (melta), and can dismount for a very punishing short range barrage. Not incredibly competitive—not due to lack of killing capability, but just because there are better ways to spend your points and HS slots.
So you intend to field your Havocs the good old-fashioned way: laughing like cruel and capricious gods as they rain down fire from destructive heavy weapons from afar. Goooood, good, I'm right there with you.
I'm a fan of mono-weapon Havocs, so that they can focus their weapons on one enemy and bring to bear enough of the same type of firepower against the type of unit their weapon is effective against in order to basically guarantee a smashing. That said, there's nothing to be ashamed of mixed-weapon squads; they're certainly easier to collect the models for, and can take similar weapons for a slightly more flexible output that can still target enemy units with impunity. Additionally, splitting up weapons in different squads can be a good way to sprinkle threat capability through multiple units: if your Havocs with lascannons are all in one squad, the enemy player can just focus his tanks on ruining that unit, whereas he's going to have quite a bit more difficulty taking out your lascannons if 2 of them are in 2 different squads of Havocs apiece, next to autocannons or some such.
> 148 - 6x Havocs with 2 lascannons and 2 autocannons
> 148 - 6x Havocs with 2 lascannons and 2 autocannons
If we are going to go mono-weapon, though? We have a few choices: autocannons are dead cheap for a squad of 4, and very nasty this edition for glancing enemy tanks to death:
> 115 − 5x Havocs with 4 autocannons
I'm not a fan of flakk missiles, honestly. S7 AP4 Skyfire just doesn't cut it against the 7e vehicle Pen table. Missile launchers are quite flexible, though, able to put wounds on Wraithknights, crack light vehicles, or splash damage against hordes:
> 148 – 6x Havocs with 4 missile launchers
Another option to run is that ultimate anti-tank and -MC squad: 4 lascannons. Again, they benefit from a Tzherald's Prescience greatly, as that mitigates how many purely unlucky misses you get—acting, in short, as a force multiplier. 3 or 4 hits with lascannons are going to to do rather more damage than an unlucky roll of 1 or 2 hits. These guys are going to attract a lot of enemy firepower, though, so prepare to buff them defensively however you can: stick them in a ruin and throw Shrouding on them, buy them extra ablative wounds, add a Sorc in termi armor to tank wounds for them... whatever you are able to do. They will probably be your opponent's #1 target.
> 194 - 8x Havocs with 4 lascannons
FROM HEL'S HEART
...I stab at thee.
- Helbrute Formations Review
>>> Mayhem Pack
Deep Striking madmen incarcerated in the pain-shells that drove them insane? Me gusta! IWND isn't half bad, either.
It's tempting to view the Mayhem Pack as a trio of cheap Termicide units: they're certainly a potent distraction with sharp teeth. If treating these as Termicide, I'd be tempted to just stick with multi-melta+power fist on all three: the multi-melta is more likely than a melta to be in melta range even after scatter, so you get a good shot at tank-popping when they come in, and the turns after you are at the whim of your Crazed rolls.
Having to roll on Crazed every turn is awkward, so you want to make sure you have a melee weapon and a good ranged weapon, so can take advantage of whatever you roll. The question is if they have to roll on Crazed the turn they come in from reserve: if they roll a Blood Rage result, they still can't assault on the turn they come in, so... you'd have a 1/3 chance of having useless Helbrutes. My rules-equivocation here is that you roll for Crazed at the start of the movement phase—the start of the turn, basically, the same time when you roll for Reserves. And if you're supposed to do those two things simultaneously, you get to decide what order you'd do them... so you would roll the Crazed result before the Reserves roll, except if they're not on the board, you can't roll on the table.
OR you can suck it up like the little wimp you are and roll on the random table the turn they come in, just accepting that you could be doing nothing with them the turn you come in (I tell myself).
Fearless cultists? Awesome, I can stick a Sorcerer or Warpsmith into them without fear of them breaking against an outmatched foe.
You have to take 2 squads of cultists, here, so I'd go for one of 20-30 to bubble-wrap the Helbrute, and one squad somewhere else on the table—whether that's just 10 hunkering down to grab an objective or another 20-30 escorting a melee character to the enemy is up to you. The downside is that these cultists don't count towards your Battle-Forged Troops requirements, and don't have Objective Secured--meaning their tarpitting potential/denial/point-claiming potential is limited.
This formation really does its best to negate the worst aspect of two mediocre unit-types and so lets them shine on a competitive level: a tougher Helbrute with great cover and more attacks, and cultists whose largest, glaring flaw—their low LD—is basically ignored. Gaining Zealot if the Helbrute dies is also pretty damn cool. However, the lack of Objective Secured makes this formation somewhat borderline—still, this is the formation that requires the least number of Helbrute models, so there is that minor silver lining...
>>> Helfist Murderpack
And here we have the unfortunately named Helfist Murderpack, a prime victim of GW's “slap together violent nouns and that's your name” policy. At least it's not Wolf Wolfsson of the Space Wolves with wolf claws riding a giant wolf, or Bloody McBloodsauce of the Blood Angels with his blood talons riding a bloodhawk, or something. Y'know, one of those is a real in-game special character. I wish I were joking here.
You must admit, though, this pack will murder the Hel out of you with its fist.
Ahem. Basically a “AV12 vehicle deathstar.” If you want to spend 500+ points on a single squad, and have 5 spare dreadnoughts, go ahead. I think this unit would be fun to give Invisibility and/or Prescience and just let loose. Or some other type of protection: like
suggests, you can stick them behind an ADL or in a ruin with Shrouding for a 2+ cover save.
A danger, as ever, with vehicle squadrons, though: what is effective against one vehicle doesn't stop when it blows up one of your Helbrutes. A squad of Fire Dragons will just cackle and rub its fingers together, against this unit, probably able to kill several Brutes per volley even with the 7e damage chart. A Knight's D-strength melee attacks (if he gets to attack) or D-strength explosion (if you kill him in close combat)? Gonna pop hulls like nuffin. Etc. Something to keep in mind.
These Helbrutes get that all-hoped for Crazed control, what with the champion leashing them and being able to pick which result he wants. And the champion is the first non-special character vehicle character out there, which is kinda cool. He also gets his minor survivability buffs—5++ and LOS. Not bad.
If you're running a Helfist Murderpack, I'd say take advantage of the fact you can pick the Crazed table result: you normally want to give your Helbrutes a melee and a ranged weapon in case Crazed screws you over, but now you have a block of semi-relible Helbrutes: let's make them all
melee or ranged! I'm inclined towards ranged, myself: 5 Helbrutes with reaper autocannons and missile launchers can put out some serious firepower per turn, absolutely ruining an enemy squad per turn for not too many points above the baseline. Maybe 3 RAC/ML, and 2 RAC/power fist, actually, just in case something does actually get close enough for close combat. Or 4/1. Oh, 4 shooters and the champion with a thunder hammer or power scourge, for challenges when enemies get in close! Maybe 1 or 2 Helbrutes could keep multimeltas rather than RACs to threaten AV14, or something—that way you could fit your MM/PF Dark Vengeance Brutes you would be using for a Mayhem Pack into the Murderpack without having to magnetize alternate weapons. Still, to do so is to dilute the effectiveness of the shootypack, albeit while giving it flexibility.
You can go for alternate weapon loadouts, if you like: some mix of multi-meltas/lascannons and missile launchers, perhaps, to absolutely wreck monstrous creatures and tanks while still staying not-too-pricey.
The only thing that bothers me about being able to pick Fire Frenzy on the chart is the whole target prioritization aspect of Fire Frenzy--if you pick that result, the entire unit has to shoot at the enemy unit that glanced the Helbrute, since none of your Brutes have Split Fire. And what if two enemy units glance two different Helbrutes (say, shooting from different sides of the unit)? If you shoot at one, you can't shoot at the other, and vice versa--so are you instead forced to shoot at the nearest enemy unit, since you can't shoot at one of those Brute's targets no matter what?
Awkward limitations to the best shooty Crazed roll, though you can, of course, just pick the "disregard Shaken and Stunned; gain Rage" roll, if you want to be able to pick your target.
...that said, 4 Helbrutes with dual power fists and one with a power fist and a power scourge also sounds dead fun. Especially if you can get them up the board faster, somehow. Hmm—you still have to get up the field, though I imagine that unit would soak up enough firepower that the rest of your army would be unscathed, or be itself intact enough to hit like a sack of bricks. Especially with Invisibility on.
Ahhh, at long last, I get to the daemons. These guys have become a regular feature allied into my CSM lists—it's almost like the only Battle Brothers that CSM have on the allies table were designed to fill a lot of the roles that CSM have trouble filling, or something!
A brief note on the philosophy behind an allied contingent: the main focus here, in my mind, shouldn't be what cool new models you can bring to the fray, but rather how well the new models work with what you already have in your list. Though really—who am I to tell somebody not to buy units because they love the model or think that a unit us a total badass? Oh yeah, I'm a dude writing a semi-competitive tactica, that's who. Right.
What I mean to say, before I derail myself again (oooh, look at the pretty flowers—d'oh!) is that you should focus on what synergy the allied contingent brings to the battlefield; what roles they fill or compensate for that your army is otherwise weak in; how they buff or complement what you are trying to accomplish with your list. For instance, running a list of purely Noise Marines with sonic blasters and blastmasters backed up by squads of deep striking Daemonettes sounds cool and fluffy, and run it if you want, but let's be honest—those Daemonettes are going to be out there without any support from your static battle line. That's not to say you can't make a fluffy allied D/CSM Slaaneshi list work, but you need to finesse it a bit so that the units you bring work together. I'll build a list around this idea in a later post—fast Slaaneshi units backing up CSM—later, but as you'll see, rather than Noise Marines, I bring Huron for his warlord trait, and also throw in biker squads to make the army a full-on in-your-face T2 assault wave—alongside a maxed out Slaaneshi Daemons allied contingent that's actually more points than the primary detachment!
What do Daemons have to offer? A good many AA choices, for one thing: Soul Grinders, Prescience, flying Daemon Princes with lashes of despair. Tzeentchi HQs have access to Divination, the most powerful and lauded of all psychic charts, which can benefit virtually any CSM list (Prescience being just as much a boon in close combat as at ranged). Nurgle Daemon Princes get 2+ jink saves. Grimoire of True Names can potentially buff the invuln save of a daemon, C:CSM or C:D. Daemon Princes from this codex don't have to roll on a god spell table for one of their powers, so have a significantly higher chance of rolling up a spell like Iron Arm or Invisibility.
They can bring Troops choices that are essentially Fearless against enemy shooting, and who have rules that boost their defenses against such shooting to boot, making them an excellent choice for replacing that unit of Cultists you have cowering on your backfield for only a moderate upgrade in points cost: Plaguebearers and Horrors. Daemonettes and Plaguebearers both are excellent at killing a broad array of enemy units, one of them highly mobile and the other quite durable for what you're paying (respectively). You can add nasty, cheap, fast units like Seekers or just plain cheap, fast ones like Flesh Hounds—one gives a bucketload of rending attacks and the other buffs the wound-count of your army like little else.
The Soul Grinder is a perennial favorite (and don't you go saying that perennial means returning every year and the Daemons book hasn't been out that long—allow me at least my meager poetic license!), given its sheer indestructibility, relative inexpensiveness, and solid damage output. They can bring more Daemon Princes to the fray, or even MCs (and FMCs) with that precious T6, unlike CSM. Suck it, S10! Exalted Rewards like the Grimoire of True Names or the Portalglyph synergize with CSM excellently. A minor point on Daemons allies: recent FAQs have only just allowed Heralds free access to allied detachments, so you can have all sorts of fun there.
An upside of Daemons allies is not having to deal with the unreliability of the Warp Storm table. On the offhand, this also means that taking Fateweaver is almost certainly not going to be worth it, since so many of his points are bound up in delivering that Lord of Unreality warlord trait for you. If you want to use his Staff of Tomorrow on a CSM-specific item or ability, such as rerolls for a Daemon Weapon's bonus attacks (if you roll a 1), consider having Daemons as your primary detachment and allying in the character with the Daemon Weapon. I just can't justify Fatey without taking advantage of his quirks, since he's practically all quirk and no substance. 1A at WS2... *shudders*. The downside of this is that any CSM ally list that includes Grimoire then can't take Fateweaver to make it that much more reliable in proccing successfully (“PROC”--Produced on Random Occurrence. There, you've learned your new thing of the day). Lamentable indeed.
On a slightly brighter note, it is worth noting that the HQ FOC shifting that occurs with Daemon Princes when you purchase a Greater Daemon is not relegated to primary detachments only, so one allied detachment can contain both a Greater Daemon and a Daemon Prince with aplomb.
Do, however, bear in mind that thanks to how the "Daemon of [Chaos God]" special rule works, you can't put a Daemon IC into a CSM squad or a CSM IC into a Daemon squad, so you can't cross-pollinate your units, throwing Tzheralds into Havoc squads or something--unfortunate, but you can make it work. And no, "Daemon of [God]" and "Mark of [God] on unit with the Daemon rule" aren't the same thing: you can't throw a Herald of Slaanesh into a squad of, say, Possessed with MoS. The only unit in the CSM codex with the "Daemon of [God]" rule is the Daemon Prince, so that the two are basically the same across their codexes, but you of course cannot join a MC as a unit.
Let's break the options available down into some general categories, then erect some sample allied contingents.
A minor note: if you see something along the lines of “(0: Grimoire)” it means swap out that randomly generated item or spell for the primaris power or equivalent on that roll (for the “0” on the D6, as it were).
The allied contingent that invariable has been finding its way into my shooting lists.
> 100 - Herald of Tzeentch with ML2 and an Exalted Reward (swap for 0: Grimoire or or 0: Portalglyph)
> 99 - 11 Horrors
> 180 – Soul Grinder of Nurgle with Phlegm
Hide the Horrors unit behind an ADL on a quad gun or the like, and cast Prescience and other divination spells to your hearts content. You can go to ground and still Grimoire, and behind the ADL you have a 2+ cover save—rerollable thanks to the Daemon of Tzeentch special rule. Meanwhile, the Soul Grinder is camped in a ruin for that beautiful 2+ cover himself, while still being AV 13. What's not to like? Whether I take Portalglyph or Grimoire depends on what units with the Daemon special rule I'm bringing in the rest of my list: Oblits? Forgefiend (whose HACs benefit so greatly from the Tzherald's Prescience)? Heldrakes? Yeah, you'll have plenty of scope for using Grimoire, so go ahead and bring it along. You want to be spawning new units? Take the Portalglyph for units of Horrors that can shoot just as well as 10 Horrors, or can roll on Daemonology for odd summoning stuff.
The point of this allied detachment isn't to be a huge points sink, though you could very well increase the number of Horrors to 16-20 and give the Herald ML3 and the Locus of Conjuration for some serious dakka, but I find that unit's not too reliable, all told, with witchfire powers having so many extra opportunities for failure.
Some people don't like 2+ rerollable saves, perhaps being too close to the cheesy taste of Screamerstar, so you can also take this alternate version of practically the same allied detachment, which costs some more points but is rather more brutal and costly due to one major change. See if you can spot it:
> 280 - Lord of Change with 2x Greater Rewards and a Lesser Reward (0: Staff of Change)
> 45 - 3x Nurgling bases
> 180 – Soul Grinder of Nurgle with Phlegm
What's this? An absolute monster of a FMC is what it is, coupled with dirt-cheap Nurglings and one tough son-of-a-Walker.
Minor downside: no Grimoire or Portalglyph, since +2S, explosions, and an extra Greater Reward of survivability all sound awfully nice on the Lord of Change. Do bear in mind that you'll probably have to hang back with him behind cover, since he can't swoop and then assault any time soon after that. He does fill a great deterrent role, though, swooping out to whack-a-mole down whatever comes near your line at S8 with a great combat statline.
If you don't want to bring the Lord of Change, feel free to bring Be'lakor instead. Yup, that's right, Be'lakor can be taken by a Daemon or
a CSM detachment! Wherever you need to fill an HQ slot, Be'lakor is there for you...
Sometimes you just want to overwhelm your opponent with bodies. CSM provide a bit of steel, plus perhaps a special character in a blob of cultists, while Daemons provide the meat. Ten thousand fists in the air, etc. In this case, Plaguebearers and Daemonettes are your friend, though Plaguebearers only achieve maximum efficiency in blobs when supported by Fertility Nurgherald. Flesh Hounds are a way to flood the board with cheap, fast wounds. Grimoire is an excellent choice for toughening up a squishy unit of, say, Daemonettes into 3++ nastynasties. Let's whip something up:
> Keeper of Secrets with a Greater Reward and an Exalted Reward (0: Grimoire)
> 180 - 20 Daemonettes
> 180 - 20 Daemonettes
> 180 – 15 Seekers
> 280 - Daemon Prince of Slaanesh with wings, armor, ML1 (Telepathy), 2x Greater Rewards (0: Lash of Despair swapped for the worse of the two [armor or the lance weapon, especially])
With two big gribbly threats there, plus some very mobile infantry and cavalry (all the more so if the infantry are infiltrated by Huron), you're putting a lot of pressure on the enemy quite quick. This allied contingent devours quite a few points, but leaves you with both Grimoire (I'd throw it on the Seekers to make them a threat the enemy has to sink a lot of firepower into or suffer for), an excellent AA unit (the Prince lashing the rear armor of a flyer will do a whole lot of damage, plus vector striking against flyers with fragile side armor) that can also churn out a surprising amount of anti-infantry shooting before charging (Psychic Shriek plus the Lash of Despair)... you're having some fun.
I neglected to put upgrades on the Daemonettes and Seekers because, as excellent as master-crafted AP2 weapons at high initiative value are, especially ones that give bonus strength, I see that 75 points on three champions and think to myself... that's more than 8 more Daemonettes I could be adding to my list. And you'll need those daemonettes, given how enemy shooting is going to do a number on the rest.
125 - Herald of Slaanesh w/ Exalted Reward (0: Grimoire), ML2
130 – Herald of Khorne w/ Greater Reward (0: Greater Etherblade), Juggernaut, and Lesser Locus of Abjuration
180 - 20 Daemonettes
240 - 15 Flesh Hounds
Two big blocks of daemons with a tough character each adding psychic or anti-psychic capabilities. The Flesh Hounds will Scout for a bunch of in-your-face nastiness, while the Daemonettes will be hoping for a shot at Invisibility on their Telepathy table, or Cursed Earth on Malefic Daemonology.
Sometimes you just want to smash stuff.
280 - Great Unclean One w/ ML3, Greater Reward, Exalted Reward
100 - 10x Plaguebearers w/ Instrument
141 – 3 Plague Drones w/ Icon
335 - Daemon Prince w/ Daemon of Nurgle, wings, armor, ML3, 2x Greater Reward
The Daemon Prince can jump up the board with a 2+ jink save, and the GUO and PBs will be Dsing in. The instrument gives the GUO two chances to come in, while the Plague Drones provide a locus to drop the GUO and PBs in right on target. You could upgrade the Plague Drones more, if you like, but that would just be icing on the cake of an already expensive allied contingent.
These examples are by no means exhaustive, but I feel like I've rambled on long enough, and have to save some content for the Codex: Daemons Tactica I mean to get writing soon. I might well discuss the way Skarbrand synergizes well with a T2 Daemonette assault wave when he deep strikes in to provide his aura, along with how the Skull Cannon arguably benefits Daemonettes more than Bloodletters thanks to the I difference, and one can easily modify that horde slaaneshi wave list to represent these facts for a Khorne+Slaanesh jealous allies contingent. Or the potential for outflanking a Kherald on a Juggernaut in Flesh Hounds. Or so on, but for now I think I've covered some basic permutations that a Chaos Daemons allied contingent can look like alongside your CSM.
I admit, I have limited experience playing other armies. I've been collecting Astra Militarum for a bit now, but haven't played them much, and have only played against most of these other armies. Still, 7e allows you to ally yourself with everyone, albeit at different levels all the way down.
So, for this section, I'm going to do things a bit differently: I'm going to take submissions. I'll post some brief thoughts on each army available, and from there on out, I'll be editing in quotes or adding links from people who have experience with that army. What am I looking for? Allied detachment suggestions, and brief tips, suggestions... do remember that this is a Chaos Space Marine tactica, though, so try to limit yourself to “how this army can work alongside CSM.”
I will be +repping significant & useful contributions, of course. Provided I am able to +rep that person (would anybody like to stand in as a surrogate to +rep people I would be obliged to, but am incapable of?).
Most of the time, I imagine, there's no real reason to take any particular army as an ally other than “access to its best units”--your job, then, is to consider how those units mesh with the rest of your list (often having to mesh at a distance, given the “One Eye Open” rule). I'll honestly mostly just be offering fluffy excuses you might be able to use to field these armies together (especially for some of the odder, more peculiar pairings) or pointing out what units look especially shiny.
So, to the armies:
>>> Necrons (Allies of Convenience)
I wouldn't mind adding some Wraiths and a MSS Destroyer Lord w/ Warscythe to my Biker list, I'll be honest. Or if Flyers are your thing, Heldrakes could join forces with Night Scythes and a Doom Scythe. If you want to try to guarantee that you'll get the first turn, doesn't Imotekh seize the initiative on a 4+? Of course, his storm will be hitting your CSM in addition to the enemy army...
>>> Orks (Allies of Convenience)
Haven't seen much of the new book, but some Traktor Beams might be nice as anti-flyer, if you ask me. Not the person to talk to here, really. Boyz horde washing up the field to soak up enemy fire? Meganobs in trukks pressing in for immediate combat alongside your bikers?
>>> Dark Eldar (Desperate Allies)
More mobile and more fragile than Chaos—go full on glass cannon, if you like. Excellent way to add the poison you need to kill Wraithknights to your list, and get the mobility Chaos could never have for objective-hopping in Maelstrom of War missions.
Could also run a “Fabius Bile and the Haemonculi” list, of course. Jolly good fun but totally uncompetitive.
>>> Tau (Desperate Allies)
Tau. I love my Kroot and Tau minis. I mean, the ones I chopped up and mashed together with Plaguebearers and Horrors, and added a GS “robed Tau” mini my brother sculpted as the Changeling, that is. Poor naïve waifs. Oh yeah, Chaos will entertain notions of “seeing the Greater Good.” Let's just go revel in slaughter together for a while first...
How would Tau help a CSM army? Um, bolster a gunline with all their shooty crap? Maybe DS in plasma Crisis suits along with your melee assaulter units to melt something troublesome. Perhaps jump up the field with a Riptide with a 3++ to serve as a fire magnet that allows your melee folks to actually get into combat. Perhaps bring a lot of Kroot as “mercenaries” and a suitably kroot-converted HQ of some sort.
>>> Eldar (Come the Apocalypse)
What? I struggle to think of reasons Eldar would gang up with CSM. “I want to field a Wraithknight” does not a good fluff excuse make. Though... if you want to field a Wraithknight with your CSM, the rules don't prohibit it anymore. Or Warp Spiders, or a Farseer, or Wave Serpents, or Fire Dragons... knock yourself out. Go grab some of the most competitive units in the game. While you're at it, go ahead and tear the pages out of your CSM codex to wrap your new Eldar models in to keep them safe during transportation—that's the most use you'll be getting out of them once you transition over to Eldar as your main army, you sick bastard.
>>> Tyranids (Come the Apocalypse)
SCREEEEEEEEE! Fun to play alongside Fabius Bile, perhaps. Just what has he done to wrest control of them from the Hive Mind? What to field? Hmmm, Flyrant+Crone would make some nice aerial reinforcements. Fast units like Raveners or Gargoyles would complement a melee assault list well. I... really don't see much synergy here for playing alongside CSM.
>>> Armies of the Imperium (Come the Apocalypse)
O, proud son of Chaos, you dare dabble with the lackeys of the Corpse Emperor? With the minions of the Carrion Throne! Show not your face in my house!
...ok, yeah, the only way to play “traitor guard” without going to Forge World, or to represent the Knights that fell with half of the Mechanicum during the Heresy, are to take some “AotI” choices. I suppose you could even, say, play 13th Company “CSM” alongside Space Wolves, or newly fallen renegade Space Marines warily fighting beside their tempters. Or even CSM fighting alongside a warband of Fallen (aka Dark Angels), whom they don't trust. Ok, yeah, you can think up excuses to run these armies besides each other, all right. That don't make it right, though.
aren't that hard to make excuses for allying in: just grab a Knight and slap on spikes. I've seen some awesome Chaos Knights around, and you just know
that an awesomely converted Khornate Knight would be bloodthirsty enough that other units would want to keep 6” away...
> Astra Militarum
have quite a bit of scope, whether you're going:
- “spam Primaris Psykers and Wyrdvane Psykers so I can cast Malefic Daemonology, tearing my poor fragile casters' bodies apart to summon in our unholy daemonic masters. Very
fluffy alongside a Word Bearers list, which can also go for...
- “anti-Ministorum Priests doing everything a Dark Apostle tries to do for less than a quarter of the cost to big Guard blobs.” Then there's...
- “We are the elite Militarum Tempestus shock troops who operate in cells for our masters.” Rapid, mobile, adaptive Militarum Tempestus working with the lovely Alpha Legion? Yes please! Forward Sentries on Vets squads does much the same thing as the old 3.5 Alpha Legion cultists, too.
- “Bring in the big guns!” Artillery, Russes, engiseers—just the things to complement an Iron Warriors force. And of course the Culls and the Flesh would cower in the presence of their masters, or their masters would take a cruel delight in whipping them into faster motion. I mean, have you read
C.L. Werner's The Siege of Castellax
> Space Marines
would put a sour taste in my mouth to field as a CSM player in a CSM list, and all, but I suppose that's my problem, not yours. I admit, the thought of fielding TH/SS Termis in a Land Raider Redeemer does start making me drool. Same with Drop Pods, Storm Ravens, Thunderfire Cannons, Sternguard, a hard-as-nails IW Chapter Master on a bike w/ the Shield Eternal and a Thunder Hammer...
All right, somebody stop me.
> Space Wolves
are viable not only if you want your CSM to represent 13th Company pups, but also if you want to play with the fallen Wolf Brothers chapter, the ill-fated only successor chapter that the SW ever had, which tragically
fell... muahaha. Or, hell, if you just want some cool alternative rules for your CSM (particularly Khornate CSM). New SW book should be coming out soon, so who knows how the units you'd want to take will change: will the price of Long Fangs still be dirt cheap? Will Grey Hunters still be far and aways better than CSM and Tac Marines for almost the exact same number of points? Will Thunderwolf Cavalry modeled as Skullcrusher models with CSM arms/weapons still be badass? ...probably. Probably all of those.
> Dark Angels
I think would only work, realistically, as a Fallen warband. But then you can't bring Cypher and his bonafide Fallen/Chosen formation or anything, so... I'll leave that up to you.
> Blood Angels
could be tempting to field as Khornate blood-butchers, I think. Death Company as counts-as-Berzerkers would be awesome—finally a statline to reflect how terrifying 'Zerkers ought
to be, in my eyes. Blenderfist Furiosos would also make great Helbrutes, I think. A Sanguinary Priest as a Dark Apostle is also a great fluffy reinterpretation of a thing of which the CSM have a crappy version.
has plenty of scope for radicals who have strayed too far from the path of rightousness, of course, but there's not much meat to the Inquisition codex. Servo Skulls could dial in your Forgefiend/Obliterator/Vindicator blasts, if you like.
> Grey Knights
... no. Just no. I know you want to, like, have your super-Slaaneshi “perfect warriors,” or run your Sons of Malice anti-Chaos Chaos, but... *grumblegrumble* fine. Do what you want. See if I care. Though the omnipresent access GK have to Benefic Daemonology kind of undermines a lot of “alt-fluff” options you have...
CSM AS ALLIES
Your loyalty to the Dark Gods wanes, though your soul is already forfeit, and so you decide to... branch out a little. Or perhaps you fall deeper into Their sway and collect a purer form of worship unto Them.
Either way, whether you're playing with Daemons or some other army, the fact remains: you're no longer bringing CSM as your primary detachment. But you don't want to leave your CSM languishing, so, sensibly, you decide to take an allied detachment. You wouldn't leave us entirely, would you? ...would you? WOULD YOU?
Daemons are the obvious force to ally CSM to, for much the same reason as the opposite way around: they're battle brothers. Arguably even moreso, honestly, given that CSM are the only allied detachment that Daemons won't hit every single time they pique a god's wrath on the Warp Storm table, since their the only list that doesn't count as an “enemy.”
Assuming a Daemons primary detachment, consider what sort of synergies you can work on. Are you bringing Fateweaver for his various rerolls and reliability? Well then, that strikes me as a fine time to bring a character with a weapon like the Black Mace or the Axe of Blind Fury—or even, perhaps, the Hand of Darkness. You know you're going to be able to reroll a 1 for your bonus attacks (or to hit, for that last one), so the risk of these high-risk, high-reward items is largely mitigated. Are you running Tzeentchi daemons at all? Well, you want to take advantage of the Divination you can be throwing, so why not add a Forgefiend? Heldrakes are always nice too...
>>> Allied Contingent for a Fateweaver List
265 – Daemon Prince of Nurgle w/ armor, wings, the Black Mace
50 – 10x Cultists
170 – Heldrake w/ Baleflamer
175 – Forgefiend w/ 2x HACs
...or perhaps you're running a Skarbrand list and want some high-Initiative yet tougher-to-kill-than-T3/5++ folks on the board:
Crimson Slaughter Allied Contingent for a Skarbrand List
190 – Lord with MoS, Blade of the Relentless, Daemonheart, bike, SoC, meltabombs
220 – 10x CSM w/ MoS, ccws instead of bolters, 2x melta, and a Rhino w/ dirge caster
244 - 7x Bikes w/ MoS, IoE, 2x plasma, champ w/ power lance
With any luck, with Seekers and/or Flesh Hounds pouring up the board, the dirge caster might even make it far enough across the board to support some T2 assaults.
Or maybe you've used up your HQ slots in getting a Greater Daemon and some Heralds, and still want to bring Be'lakor?
Allied Contingent for Including Be'lakor
350 – Be'lakor
50 – 10x Cultists
170 – Heldrake w/ baleflamer
What I'm trying to get across here, is while you can just add some CSM nasties willy-nilly, if you consider what your list is trying to do and complement that, you're likely to do better. Don't drop 450 points on a Lord with a biker retinue if the rest of your list is a wall of Soul Grinders and Horrors with Fateweaver that will be hanging back shooting and summoning—that Lord is likely to get splattered as it charges up the field alone. There's nothing wrong with bringing units that fill gaps that your initial codex isn't able to fill to increase your list's flexibility, and indeed this is your chance to play with just the shiniest toys in the CSM codex, but don't bring a unit that doesn't mesh with your list at all. This advice goes for any codexes out there, not just when allying yourself alongside Daemons.