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I have a burgeoning Emperor's Children army and I want to employ a squad whose main focus will be combat and it will be using a rhino. So I ask the question, am I better off taking CSM with a mark of Slaanesh, champion etc. that can take a couple of flamers, or do I use Noise Marines who can have a doom siren and are fearless, but more expensive?
 

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For a unit to be used for assault, there's nothing wrong with using the cheaper chaos marines because it's possible they're just gonna die like dogs and so the extra points may not be worth it. Another good idea may be possesed with the mark of slaanesh, the furious charge, rending, scout or power weapon upgrade will be great as an assault unit.
 

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I wouldn't go with possessed - and nobody on any forum would recommend it if you want a competitive army of any kind. The problem(s) with possessed are that for assault units, they don't have friggen grenades! 9/10 times you will be assaulting into cover & if you don't have nades, guess what? I5 doesn't mean jack, the other big problem with possessed is that you don't know what you're going to get! Sure most of the powers are usefull, but for nearly the price of terminators you should know exactly what you're going to be using them for - certain powers are completely useless (scouts, fleet...)

For a small assault squad I would recommend the noise marines with a champion c/w doom siren and either PW or fist (your choice). The doom siren is definitely worth the price! The problem with CSM c/w an icon is that in a small squad you're going to find yourselves wrapping wounds onto that icon rather quickly & as soon as you lose him you lose the benefit. In larger squads the icon becomes more viable. Of course the other bit is the fearlessness... You may not think it's a big thing, but take a casualty or two before the assault - get there & lose another couple & all of a sudden you're below 50% & can't rally. EVER...

I'm a fan of small squads of NM for both assault & support (stand and gun with SB's & BM's holding an objective) Of course I think you should also have another squad or two of either CSM or Chosen to bring some special weapons to the fight (I'm a fan of chosen, since again you may be paying a little more but you can equip multiple special weapons...)
 

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I wouldn't go with possessed - and nobody on any forum would recommend it if you want a competitive army of any kind. The problem(s) with possessed are that for assault units, they don't have friggen grenades! 9/10 times you will be assaulting into cover & if you don't have nades, guess what? I5 doesn't mean jack, the other big problem with possessed is that you don't know what you're going to get! Sure most of the powers are usefull, but for nearly the price of terminators you should know exactly what you're going to be using them for - certain powers are completely useless (scouts, fleet...)

For a small assault squad I would recommend the noise marines with a champion c/w doom siren and either PW or fist (your choice). The doom siren is definitely worth the price! The problem with CSM c/w an icon is that in a small squad you're going to find yourselves wrapping wounds onto that icon rather quickly & as soon as you lose him you lose the benefit. In larger squads the icon becomes more viable. Of course the other bit is the fearlessness... You may not think it's a big thing, but take a casualty or two before the assault - get there & lose another couple & all of a sudden you're below 50% & can't rally. EVER...

I'm a fan of small squads of NM for both assault & support (stand and gun with SB's & BM's holding an objective) Of course I think you should also have another squad or two of either CSM or Chosen to bring some special weapons to the fight (I'm a fan of chosen, since again you may be paying a little more but you can equip multiple special weapons...)

I think if you're talking shear points effectiveness look at it like this:

a 5-man squad of noise marines with a champion c/w siren & pf rings in at:
155 points (before rhino)
a 5-man squad of CSM with the Icon, a flamer, champion c/w PF rings in at:
140 points (before rhino)

Now that means for an extra 15 points you have fearless troops who can't lose their I5 if the icon happens to fall AND the DS will manage to kill far more reliably than a bog-standard flamer ever will.

For a larger unit:
10-man noise marines c/w chapion: 255 points
10-man CSM with icon, (2) flamers, champion: 220 points
So now you're at 35 more points for the noise marines than the bog-standards BUT again, same benefits apply.

NOTE: noise marines have plenty of fancy bells & whistles you can get lost in. If their job is to zoom across the board & dive into combat as quickly as possible there is no need to get the other fancy sonic weapons. You'll never fire the 40point blastmaster in heavy mode & you'll only get one or two turns of firing with your blasters (drive 12" disembark & fire - assaulting next turn), again, not worth it. Save those fancy upgrades for the squad sitting in cover on your home objectives.
 

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With Noise Marines, you're basically paying 1 or 2 points for the better options. If you're not going to use them, then it's more efficient to just use regular marines. Note though, that Doom Sirens rape MEQ, and can be used before the charge to good effect. :)
 
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