Nightmarish melding of man and machine, Obliterators mark a perverted perfection sought after by the Cult Mechanicus. Every organic cell of an obliterators body sparks with mechanical life; these beings eat ammunition and drink promethium, for it is said that whatever an obliterator consumes he can replicate. Changed forever by the obliterator virus, these beings can be found throughout the ranks of the traitor legions. Their numbers are woefully, or thankfully depending on the perspective, rare from all save the Iron Warriors legions. Though the lords of siege condemn the corruption of chaos, the arcano-cyborg amalgamations appear to be one of a handful of exceptions, and for good reason.
There are many heavy support choices available to chaos marine players, though some options reign supreme in the eyes of many warlords, both the aspiring and true veterans of the long war. Obliterators are one such unit, perhaps second only to the heavy weapon havoc squad. But where havocs are confined to dedicating themselves to one role, after all they cannot swap their heavy weapons mid game, the obliterator is able to change its ranged battlefield role each and every turn. Starting with a statline like a chaos terminator, obliterators weigh in at a hefty 70 points per model, start off as a squad of one and can add two more. Unlike a terminator though, a single obliterator has 2 wounds and a plethora of guns thanks to the obliterator weapons special rule.
Obliterators have access to:
- Assault cannon
- Twin linked meltagun
- Twin linked flamer
- Heavy Flamer
- Twin linked plasmagun
That is eight different guns, in addition to being armed with a powerfist, the demon special rule, deep strike, and slow and purposeful.
So a recap:
- 8 Ranged weapon options
- A +2/++5 save
- Causes fear
- Powerfist for close combat
- Can move and shoot heavy weapons
- Can deep strike
- Has 2 wounds
Now thats all well and good, but what are the negatives then? Because they can't have it all without a few strings attached after all. Like I said initially, obliterators only have the statline of a terminator, which (armor and invulnerable save aside) is the statline of a regular marine and at twice the cost of a terminator. Their squad size leaves a bit to be desired in the numbers category, and obliterators are very lacking in the mobility department. Perhaps the biggest negative of obliterators is their biggest strength, the obliterator weapons. They have 8 ranged weapon choices, great for a variety of situations, but they cannot use the same weapon for two consecutive turns.
So for people who would rather read a list:
- Expensive at 70 points per model
- Marine statline
- Slow movement, cannot run
- Small squad size
- Have to use a different ranged weapon every turn
- No overwatch
Keep in mind, that obliterators also have access to marks of chaos. Now not all marks are made equal for every unit, and this is most obvious when it comes to obliterators and the Mark of Slaanesh. Boosting initiative on a unit that uses a powerfist in close combat should effectively be free. The remaining three marks, however, are where you want to look honestly. The Mark of Khorne gives rage and counter attack, two very good abilities if you plan on having obliterators see close combat; after all a walking tank with 3-4 attacks on the first round of combat per model is no laughing matter. However the Marks of Nurgle and Tzeentch are the ones that truly deserve attention. The Mark of Nurgle boosts toughness, making obliterators toughness 5 and less susceptible to small arms fire; now an opposing commander has to dedicate more attention to them or hit them with heavier weapons. The Mark of Tzeentch improves the obliterators invulnerable save, effectively turning them into two wound cataphracti terminators from Horus Heresy.
These two marks, for the good that they represent, come at a greater cost; at 6/8 points per model its not the most cut and dry. The Marks of Khorne and Slaanesh cost considerably less per model, at 4/1 respectively. Its clear from inception which marks would be more heavily favored, and with good reason.
All in all, there is a reason many players choose to include at least one unit of obliterators in their army, or two/three solo units in some cases. Despite the cost to field even one obliterator, the options they come with more than make up for any shortcomings.
Ways to Play Obliterators
Unlike other units, which have particular builds that are good choices, obliterators have a large number of builds that are good despite the limited options they possess. So whether they are taken as a single obliterator with no upgrades or as a squad of three with a mark and veterans of the long war, there are few ways to go wrong (unless your giving them the Mark of Slaanesh and are not playing an Emperor's Children force. That is just wrong, plain and simple.)
Obliterators benefit from being in most forces or detachments, gaining feel no pain and fearless in Iron Warrior, Emperor's Children, and Death Guard forces. Fearless and furious charge from World Eater forces (only really a benefit against vehicles I guess), an invulnerable save boost if affected by certain psychic powers in Thousand Sons forces, and stealth in Night Lord Forces. Overall obliterators get the most benefit from being in an Iron Warrior force, with feel no pain and fearless, plus tank hunter and becoming a troop choice.
Then there is also the Cult of Destruction formation, where you must take 3-5 units of obliterators or mutilators and 1-3 warpsmiths. Each warpsmith has the ability to let a a unit of obliterators fire twice a turn, that second shot able to go after a different target. The only true downside here is that you have to use 2 different weapons and can not use either one in the following turn (or the one/two weapons you used in the previous turn.)
At their most expensive, a squad of obliterators runs you 243 points, the price of a land raider; but your far more likely to see a full squad running you 210-228 points and in most cases that third obliterator should be left out unless you have the spare points at the end.