For those that don't like cultists or cult troops. How are you fielding your CSM units, what sort of mileage are you getting and what do you hope they achieve in games?
I'm just playing around with ideas for future games here. I hate the idea of pure MSU troops with the minimum 5+5 fielded to make room for better units, although I recognise that's probably the best choice in most situations. OTOH I think there's potential in bigger unit sizes, since a lot of players swear by units of 5 plague marines which only come to twenty points cheaper than a unit of 10 CSM, at which point both units have access to two special weapons (or special and heavy for CSM). Obviously T5 and FNP are good, but you can get more wounds from standard marines and more bolters firing.
Some ideas for units
with melta gun and combi melta in rhino
with combi melta 140
A similar sort of role to melta bikes. MSU melta bikes are obviously a good deal cheaper, but while the bikes will often need to jink and snap shot the following turn a rhino can use its smoke launchers on T1 then the following turn shoot three melta shots at a vehicle at full BS. You could go on and on about the relative merits of each unit but essentially this unit gives you similar armour killing benefits to the popular melta bikes while filling one of the required troop slots. Not bad effective range with the rhino moving 6" then disembarking the marines another 6", which will hopefully bring the melta guns into 6" of a vehicle. Alternatively you can shoot all three melta without disembarking. Optional havoc launcher on the rhino for sitting back early and using the meltas as a counter measure to attacking enemy units
with plasma gun in rhino
with havoc launcher 137
Cheap ranged unit. The rhino and squad don't have to shoot at the same target and there's a good chance that plasma gun can shoot on turn one. Optional combi plasma for the unit leader and/or rhino for a potential six plasma shots in the right situation. If you really like the plasma pistol I suppose there are worse places to put it than giving it to the unit leader.
Pairs well with a vindicator since the rhino can hide the vindicator's side armour, both units can move 6" and fire their main guns and both have the same effective range with their best guns. Could be a good unit to attach a cheap telepathy sorcerer for casting psychic shriek, since a single plasma gun is only using one fire point.
with two plasma guns in rhino
with havoc launcher 217
Not cheap but a deluxe version of the unit above. With so many bodies inside the rhino I'd be more reluctant to hold these guys back, though it would be a tough unit to get rid of since wrecking the rhino gives the now disembarked unit LOS blocking terrain to whatever just shot up the rhino. For a more aggressive unit it might be worth considering swapping the havoc launcher for a combi plasma and giving the squad leader a combi plasma too for a potential 8 S7 AP2 shots on the turn they disembark, along with a load of bolter fire from the other guys. 225 points for that unit but it's worth bearing in mind they can be effective against light infantry, elite infantry/bikes, armour and monstrous creatures.
with flamer, combi flamer in rhino
with havoc launcher 137
Can be defensive or offensive. The flamers could be driven straight towards the biggest mass of enemy infantry or held back for countering enemy deepstrikers or fast, aggresive units while the havoc launcher shoots. The benefit to flamers is you will never be wasting the bolters the other guys have, since a good target for flamers is a good target for bolters too. With meltas you'll often be shooting the melta guns while the rest of the squad stand there shouting encouragement, checking their phones or throwing a speculative krak grenade (does anybody remember to do that?)
with two flamers and additional CCWs in rhino
A fun unit you almost certainly wouldn't want to hold back. In a time of fairly cheap, jinking bikes/jetbikes being common the ability to force lots of saves seems better than ever. The additional CCWs seems like okay value for a unit that's going to be thrown into the teeth of the enemy army, and means the unit can fire bolters when they disembark but after that have the benefits of extra CC attacks if the opponent decides to charge them or they survive to see the next turn. A combi flamer doesn't seem like a great choice for a rhino but a combi melta/plasma or havoc launcher could be worth a punt. In the best case scenario the chaos marines disembark and whittle a unit down to an independent character, who then dies to a melta shot from the rhino. A long shot but I'm sure stranger things have happened! Additionally if you want to give a power weapon to a unit leader this might be the squad to give it to
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I've only listed rhino based units so far because I think the rhino is such great value for chaos marines, but I plan to come back to this thread later to discuss foot units. It would be good to hear accounts of chaos players who field their troops without a transport. I'd love to hear from anybody who is, has or plans to field standard chaos marines in the future. The unit gets a bad rep but is extremely flexible and if you have to field two troops you may as well get the most out of them!