Yesterday I started undertaking a project I have been thinking about for quite some time now.
With 8th edition on the way, which will drastically change the rules, I decided to make a rules overhaul regarding 3-7th edition material.
As a test, I will first overhaul the CSM codex. With all 4 codices in front of me, I cross-refer units through several editions, and I will also fix issues most players find in it. I will be honest, most of the material is in line with 6th ed. codex statlines and 3.5ed. unit rule additions/options plus a few "5th" ed. touches. I use the Loyalist codices & supplements for reference and comparisons as well though.
I try as much as I can not to tamper with rules from scratch, but to utilize rules existing in older codices, there are no 100% homebrew rules here, everything is based on rules CSM units used to have plus some additions based on logic (ie. grenades on Warp Talons, Thousand Sons Characters bearing whatever Force Weapons they want, Possessed utilizing pre-purchased abilities, Warp Talons and Possessed bearing a Mark of Chaos becoming Daemons of their god, etc). Points costs were recalculated by comparison to Loyalist counterparts, and/or deduction, breaking down the points cost of a unit and finding what abilities cost what and adjusting points appropriately. What I am trying to produce here is a codex with fixed & fair points costs and the proper flavor of Chaos Space Marines we so much enjoyed in the 3.5 codex, in a modernized & streamlined mash-up of several CSM codices from all editions. I don't think that after the overhaul this "Codex" would dominate tournaments, but if you use it, I strongly believe it feels "right" by fixing some unfair handicaps within it and restoring some roles and options which used to add variety and diversity. Some units have become cheaper, others have become more expensive, but with enough additional tricks to justify their cost. Enjoy.
First, individual units will be overhauled. Then, armory & wargear additions and editing will commence and lastly, some Legion-specific rules will carry over from the 3.5 dex (like, for example, Sonic Weapon options for Emperor's Children vehicles & Terminators).
Everything wil be cleanly written on a PDF file as a new dex, the wall of text and the rule explanations can be messy, but they are easier to edit and correct!
This is what I've got so far (commentary below each entry):
NEW (not really) SPECIAL RULE: FAVOURED OF CHAOS:
A unit bearing the Mark of a Chaos God, numbering the number of models corresponding to that deity's Sacred Number (6 for Slaanesh, 7 for Nurgle, 8 for Khorne, 9 for Tzeentch) or its multiples, has the following bonus:
-Chaos Space Marine, Cultist, Chaos Terminator, Khorne Berzerker, Noise Marine, Rubric Marine, Chaos Biker, Raptor, Warp Talon & Havoc squads use the points cost in brackets as their base unit cost.
-Chosen & Possessed squads may purchase an Icon of their patron at the points cost listed in brackets.
-Tzaangor squads upgrade one Tzaangor to a Twistbray for no points cost.
**This is one of the most flavorful rules CSM used to have. The points reduction is the calculated points cost of the Champion model of the unit, in most cases being -10pts for a squad. Possessed & Chosen don't have a price difference for Champion models, so they get a discount for an Icon instead. This rule actually encourages players to use Sacred Numbers on their squads. The points drop is still not enough perhaps to competitively field Sacred Number squads, but it makes such lists less taxing.**
CHAOS LORD / EXALTED SORCERER
Unless having the Mark of Khorne, a Chaos Lord may become an Exalted Sorcerer by taking a Mastery Level, becoming a Psyker and replacing his close combat weapon/Terminator power weapon with a Force Weapon for +10pts. (and up to 2 additional psyker levels for 25pts each).
-A Chaos Lord may take Fleshmetal for 20pts.
**Makes for more flexible, modular psyker HQs**
CHAOS LIEUTENANT / SORCERER
50pts, Sorcerer statline, same wargear options with the Chaos Lord.
Unless having the Mark of Khorne, a Chaos Lord may become a Sorcerer by taking a Mastery Level, becoming a Psyker and replacing his close combat weapon/Terminator power weapon with a Force Weapon for +10pts. (and up to 2 additional psyker levels for 25pts each).
-May take Fleshmetal for 20pts.
**This brings back the option of a cheaper infantry HQ while still keeping the Sorcerer option as it was.**
-Daemon Princes now cost 150pts and are Ld10.
A Daemon Prince may
purchase A Mark of Chaos, also becoming a Daemon of that God for the following cost:
-Daemon Princes may take Power Armour for 10pts or Fleshmetal for 30pts.
**An immortal champion of Chaos being Ld9 is insanity, restored to 10 for a small points cost increase. Daemon Princes could always be Undivided, I don't see a reason to stop being so now. Also, being former mortal Champions, Daemon Princes dedicated to a God ought to also have Marks. Dropped the cost of Power Armour to 10pts, a 3+ Save is in no way worth its former cost. Added the option for Fleshmetal**
-Dark Apostles can now access Special Issue Wargear and Daemonic Steeds.
-May take Fleshmetal for 20pts.
**There is no reason for them not to have such access**
-Warpsmiths can now access Special Issue Wargear and may take.
**There is no reason for them not to have such access**
CHAOS SPACE MARINES, NOISE MARINES & HAVOCS
-Chaos Space Marines, Noise Marines & Havocs cost 1 point less per model. Close Combat Weapons cost 1 point for Chaos Space Marines and Havocs too.
**This balances the cost of CSM compared to Loyalist Marines, I treat Combat Squads & ATSKNF as 1pt/model each. I know that in most Legion detachments VotlW is free, but that helps offset another issue along with the Favoured of Chaos special rule, that of lackluster detachment bonuses compared to other armies -cough- free transports -cough-**
-Chosen now have Infiltrate. Power Weapons & Single Lightning Claws cost 5pts each, Pairs of Lightning Claws cost 10pts and Power Fists cost 15pts.
**The way they are in 6th ed. codex, shooty Chosen are easily replaced by Special Weapon Havocs. Getting 5th ed. Infiltrate back gives them a different tactical role. Melee weapon costs adjusted to Vanguard standards**
-Possessed with a Mark of Chaos also become a Daemon of their respective God. For this reason, all Marks of Chaos cost 5pts/model for them.
They may purchase their ability instead of rolling for it at the listed points cost:
-Move as Jump Infantry for +3pts/model
-Shooting attack (12" S4 AP6 Assault 2) for +2pts/model
-+1 Attack for +2pts/model
**They remain expensive, but now they are definitely not useless. I can see a squad with Rending doing quite good. Or a squad moving as Jump Infantry, along with Fleet can be scary. The added Daemon of- rule gives them a few more tricks to justify the high cost**
-Chaos Terminators: A 3-man squad now costs 90pts, each additional Terminator costs 29pts.
Wargear cost for the squad champion is the same with the rest of the squad.
Single Lightning Claws, Pairs of Lightning Claws and Powerfists cost 4pts.
Chainfists cost 9pts.
**I reverse-calculated the points cost of Imperial Assault, Cataphractii & regular Terminators (including ATSKNF and Combat Squads as 1pt each), and found Chaos Terminators and their wargear options to be overpriced. I adjusted them accordingly.**
-Khorne Berzerkers cost 20pts/model and are equipped with Khornate Chain Weapons.
**I would say "Khornate Chainaxes", but the models also have swords Khornate Chain Weapons used to cause a lot of grief from Imperial players, as their wounds can be saved from a maximum armour save of 4+, which made them ultra-scary against 2+ and 3+ armoured units. Back in 3-4th ed. this option was not limited to Berzerkers, but I feel it's better to stay exclusive to them (only World Eaters Chosen & World Eaters Terminators might be able to also purchase those), so that they have an edge over Khorne-Marked CSM. With this small addition, I believe that Berzerkers become a real menace, they were too sub-par for a dedicated melee unit.**
-Aspiring Sorcerers have a Force Weapon, not necessarily a staff.
-For every nine models in the unit, one Rubric Marine may replace his inferno boltgun with a soulreaper cannon.
**Any Force weapon on Aspiring Sorcerers is a no-brainer, as the original models came with Force Swords. Soulreaper cannons at 9 models is a fair reward for any player actually paying the cost of a 9-model unit**
SCARAB OCCULT TERMINATORS
-Minimum squad size reduced to 3 members (1 Occult Scarab Sorcerer [Mastery Level 1] and 2 Occult Scarab Terminators), costing 145pts.
-The squad is equipped with a Tartaros Pattern Terminator Armour.
-The Occult Scarab Sorcerer has a Force Weapon, not necessarily a staff.
-The Occult Scarab Sorcerer may generate powers from the Tzeentch Discipline. May be upgraded to mastery level 2, becoming able to generate powers from the Biomancy, Daemonology (Malefic), Divination, Ectomancy, Geomortis, Heretech, Pyromancy, Sinistrum, Telekinesis and Telepathy disciplines.
***Reduced minimum squad size and Sorcerer's Mastery level to make Scarab Occult Terminators acually fieldable. The models clearly wear Tartaros pattern armour, so no reason not to include it in their Wargear.***
-Mutilators now cost 60pts each. If a Mutilator unit is locked in combat at the start of a Fight sub-phase, they must choose one of the weapons options listed in their codex entry. Their Wargear is Terminator Armour and their special rules are Fear, Mutilator Weapons and Slow & Purposeful.
***They now cost a bit more, but they can use their weapons consecutively. Changed their Wargear/Special Rules to Terminator Armour & Fear instead of Fleshmetal, Deep Strike & Daemon. I don't know why GW insists on not writing down as Terminator armour, it's quite clear visibly.***
-Helbrutes cost 100pts (as FAQ'd), and have Smoke Launchers.
May take any of the following items from the Chaos Vehicle equipment list: Daemonic Possession, Dirge Caster, Warpflame Gargoyles, extra armour, havoc launcher.
-Crazed is now rolled for at the start of the controlling player's turn instead of the start of the movement phase.
**I can't find a valid reason for Helbrutes not having Smoke Launchers. With the Vehicle Dedications, it may get some boosting from them as well. I remember may cool conversions on Chaos Dreadnoughts with Havoc Launchers back in 3rd ed., would be a good addition to any Helbrute. The small wording detail regarding Crazed helps the Mayhem Pack Formation by knowing the Crazed result before deploying them via Deep Strike.**
-Raptors become 20pts/model and now have Hit & Run.
**Hit & Run was removed from Raptors in 5th edition, it's time they got it back**
-Warp Talons become 33pts/model and now have Assault Grenades and Hit & Run. Warp Talons with a Mark of Chaos also become Daemons of the respective God. For this reason, all Marks of Chaos cost 5pts/model.
**Grenades were something Warp Talons should obviously have. Being mutated Raptors, the Hit & Run rule transfers on to them. Being Daemons of a deity feels right both fluffwise and ruleswise (a different style of versatility than Raptors)**
-Heldrakes now cost 160pts.
[b]**Points cost dropped on all models with Daemonforge, due to it already having a downside (by deduction I figured Daemonforge to be about 15pts, which is too much for a one-use ability which has the chance of damaging the model, so I dropped its cost**[b/]
-Obliterators now cost 75pts each. The entire squad must choose to fire the same weapon in each the shooting phase, chosen from the following:
**More in line with the 5th ed. Codex, with an appropriate point cost increase, but now may shoot the same weapon consecutively**
-Defilers now cost 180pts and have a Twin-Linked Heavy Bolter instead of a reaper autocannon. The Twin-Linked Heavy Bolter may be upgraded to a power fist for free, to reaper autocannon for 5pts or to a twin-linked lascannon for 25pts.
**Tried to shave points since IWND, Daemon & Daemonforge should cost something, best I could do was make it 10pts cheaper due to Daemonforge being overcosted and made the heavy bolter downgrade a default, making the reaper autocannon an upgrade option, saving some base points from there as well.**
-Forgefiends now cost 145pts and come with 2 ectoplasma cannons, which may both be upgraded to two hades autocannons for 20pts. May take an additional Ectoplasma cannon for 25pts or an additional hades autocannon for 35pts.
**Points cost dropped by 10pts on all models with Daemonforge, due to it already having a downside. By looking at the Rapier battery, I realized that a hades autocannon is 10pts more expensive than an ectoplasma cannon, so in order to reduce base cost, I made the ectoplasma cannon the default and made the hades autocannons an upgrade. I also added the option for an extra hades autocannon.**
-Maulerfiends now cost 115pts
**No changes other than the points drop due to Daemonforge being overcosted.**
CHAOS LAND RAIDER
-Chaos Land Raiders may purchase the "Infernal Machine" upgrade for 20pts (works like Power of the Machine Spirit).
**Now Chaos Land Raiders can be of some use have their cost justified.**
I want 2 things from you, guys:
1) Comments and opinions so far. I don't know if these overhauls will make CSM more competitive, they will definitely make them more "CSM", and the dynamics of some lists are improved (I can see the Maelstrom of Gore becoming scary, EC Terminators with Sonic Weapons deep striking and hitting targets Sorcerers have targeted with Symphony of Pain, Raptors being more tactically flexible, 7x7 Plague Colonies with Rhinos and actual Rubric Marine squads on the table thanks to the Favoured of Chaos rule. Several upgrade options opened to vehicles make them more viable now as well).
2) Which other units you believe need an overhaul? I would like to hear your suggestions on other units.