Chaos Space Marine Top Units

I've being playing a lot with my Chaos Space Marines lately (Iron Warriors) and while the codex is flavourless and dull compared to newer codexes, the actual army isn't too bad, if you pick the right units and today that's what I'm going to discuss. If you take these top 7 units from the Chaos Space Marine codex you'll probably win more games, and everyone likes winning games right? And of course that's providing you don't win games with them in the first place.

Here's the top 7 units in the codex, and in no particular order. Of course comments are always welcome, I'd like to here if you have any thoughts on other units too ;)

1. Daemon Prince

The Daemon Prince is a bad ass mother which only costs 110 points, 20 more points than a Chaos Lord and you get a lot more bang for your buck. The D.P is a monstrous creature so no armour saves in combat, so you want to get this bad boy into the fight a.s.a.p so wings are pretty mandatory and they're only 20 points too - so for 130 points you get a basic flying monstrous creature, groovy!

Marks can make your Prince better in certain ways. I wouldn't bother with mark of khorne as the Prince has enough attacks already and the other marks offer more benefits. I'd take either mark of nurgle for better small arm fire protection and the Princes number 1 enemy, plasma guns, will need 3+ to wound instead of 2+. Mark of tzeentch gives a 4+ invulnerable which isn't bad and mark of slaanesh gives increased initiative, though the Prince is I5 so probably not hugely needed.

If you haven't taken MoK you give your Prince psychic powers. These range from ranged attacks giving the Prince some ranged offensive or close combat boosting powers. You should be getting that Prince into assault a.s.a.p with wings, so warptime is probably the best power over all - re-roll to hit and to wound is nice. Wind of chaos if also pretty funky for wounding on a 4+ and allow no armour saves in the form of a flamer template; nice for dishing out pain for assaulting.

Tactics with this big daddy-o is simple; cast warptime, fly forward and then smash stuff. Always hide your Prince behind armour as monstrous creatures need 50% cover, this will work well particularly if you haven't taken mark of tzeentch where the 4+ cover save is a much better save. However, if you do take a Daemon Prince take them in pairs and if you can a Greater Daemon. You take one Prince it will get singled out and ranged weapons like lascannons will shoot it to bits in time not caring about the extra toughness or in time the better invulnerable save.

The only downside to a Prince is as mentioned above is that they attract a lot of fire power. This can be good and bad. In my 2k list I take dual Princes and a Greater Daemon; this gives multiple threat but more importantly target saturation, I have three monstrous creatures running about which you really need to put down sooner than later. But, as I've found out, the Princes die (which is a shame) and the Greater Daemon comes on without any damage. Although I've lost the Princes they've acted as a distraction and my main force is fine. This is a catch 22 for my opponent, they must deal with the Princes or else they will run riot but if they don't everything else will get them. If they deal with other targets the Princes will still get them ;)

3 x monstrous creatures is the win IMO ;) Remember, target saturation, three monstrous creatures isn't nice :D

2. Greater Daemon

The Greater Daemon is a bargain IMO and has stats like the Daemon Prince, the G.D is a better fighter and has more attacks along with a 4+ invulnerable save, but is slightly slower.

While there isn't a huge amount to talk about a Greater Daemon itself I'll talk about the few tactics available. Basically you deep strike in and assault straight after, yes Daemons in the Chaos Space Marine book can assault the turn they're summoned, something you probably didn't know. The Greater Daemon is excellent to act as a line breaker, they can appear while your squad stays in a vehicle and then charge forward smashing tanks and infantry, remember they're a monstrous creature ;) .

You should also use the Greater Daemon as a speed bump against tough elite units, like thunder hammer Terminators. The Greater Daemon has the attacks to tackle them and has a 4+ invulnerable to take the wounds. The Daemon will probably die but hopefully takes down some Terminators with it. The plus side is you've just thrown a 100 point monstrous creature against a elite unit, tying them up or dishing out damage, your Daemon Prince wouldn't survive this and the Greater Daemon may not but my point is the D.P can cost around 170 points and the Greater Daemon could probably do a slightly better job and maybe survive that bit longer.

Another tactic envolves taking a Chaos Lord. Lets say your Chaos Lord is in a fight and things aren't going his way, he's got one wound left and will probably kick the bucket. Pull the Greater Daemon through his rear and have that dying Chaos Lord your opponent is glad to be killing change into a revitalised monstrous creature with full wounds and better strength, toughness, weapon skill and invulnerable save then previously - if your opponent was getting annoyed with your Chaos Lord than pulling in a Greater Daemon to replace your dying Lord is going to annoy people - DO IT! lol.

As Greater Daemons can appear in the place of a Champion you can also use them to plug gaps and support. This has some negative comments which I'll move onto it a minute. If you take a Champion in each unit you're maximising the areas that Daemon can appear. You take one Champion your Daemon may not appear where you require it. For instantance in a recent game I took three Champions, one CSM squad camped on my objective so having the Daemon appear there is useless. I had another CSM squad going for the enemy objective, but only minor squads where on there and the CSM could deal with them plus the Greater Daemon cannot claim objectives so probably not the best place to put. I had the last Champion in front of a massive skirmish envolving my Chaos Terminators being dragged down by a massive mob of Guardsman, hey-ho Greater Daemon appears and assaults slaughtering said Guardsman, excellent for support and plugging gaps where your lines are the weakest.

Do not think the G.D is without negatives, firstly it only has a 4+ invulnerable and is T6 to like the Daemon Prince anti tank weapons will have no problems putting wounds on and weight of fire will bring it down in time. Secondly is that this guy has no fleet or wings so when you appear you best damn make sure the thing can make combat and is in the thick of things or else you're foot slogging and not making assault, which is where you shine and you're gonna get shot up. Lastly the cost of the Greater Daemon isn't exactly 100 points. You need a Chaos Lord or Champion to make the Daemon work, so at least your costing is going up by 15 points to upgrade the Champion. The problem with this also is if you pop wargear on the Champion it can become wasted the the Daemon will appear and then boom! your power fist has just being blown up by a big warp nasty, a waste of points if you ask me.

3. Chosen Chaos Space Marines

Now just hold your horses and stop your huffing and puffing back there ;) . Just hear me out and then bitch me after ok? :P

Chosen aren't as bad as you think, but you must have them in the right role. If you're taking Chosen forget close combat because Chaos Terminators do it better for cheaper. I'll explain why Chaos Terminators are better at assault in a minute, it should be clear, but I've had debates with people who seem to think Chosen are better in assault :S - moving on from the strange and weird folk. Anyway, roles, yes that's where I was you want the Chosen in a SHOOTING role only. Why? Well they can take 5 ranged weapons per squad but firstly get it out your head about taking heavy weapons for Chosen, that's for Havocs or Obliterators. What you want with Chosen is special weapons - the ability to take 5 of these can cause major headaches and can be cheap too, did you know a squad of 5 Chosen with 5 x flamers and a Rhino costs just 150 points. I think that's a pretty good deal.

Now we know what role they can do lets discuss tactics. If you want to keep these cheap and you are taking a Rhino then take only two special weapons, after all only 2 models can fire from the hatch so any extra are wasted until you get out the tank - and you do not want to get out unless you have too.

The Chosen have the infilitrate rule which means you could, well, er, infiltrate. You do this take full compliement of plasma guns and camp them in terrain. You could end up dishing out 5 x plasma gun rapid fire shots in the first turn taking out a light transport for another unit to tackle or a monstrous creature. Though, consider that they're not in a transport and 5 Space Marines with plasma guns will become a target and will die, soon, terrain at least gives them a cover save but weight of fire will take them down. Also, before anyone says you cannot infilitrate in a transport so no, they cannot take a Rhino if they go down the ol' camp plasma route.

The best thing to do with these guys really is outflank in the Rhino. Take 5 meltaguns or 5 flamers and then roll up and nuke the most threatening transport in range or monstrous creature - 5 meltaguns should do the trick. Same applies to a horde, roll up load up and unleash hell on them. That weight of fire power will make sure a lot of things will die. Oh, a mental note as well, if you outflank and you're not in a situation where you want to be just pop smoke on your Rhino which will at least give it a cover save protecting it and the Space Marines inside that little longer.

I did some more indepth Chosen tactica which can be found here: Chosen Tactica

The negatives for Chosen is in their wargear. People get all bambozzled by the amount of wargear options they have and end up mix and matching and just not setting them up right. Chosen excel at shooting so do not ever make them close combat, at all. Comparing them with the correct wargear to match a unit of 5 Chaos Terminators the Chosen cost 190 points and that's for MoT and 4 power weapons, they have no means of transport and only 1 attack each, you'll get 2 though taking a bolt pistol. Looking at the Chaos Terminators they're 150 points come with more attacks, 2+ armour save and more importantly they can deep strike too.

Another problem is they can cost a fair bit. You take a unit of 5 with full special weapons the price isn't bad but it's not hard to kill 5 Space Marines and you're always removing a special weapon for when dies. You want to take a full unit for bodybags like you have to do with Havocs and they will cost 180 points and that's before any upgrades or transport.

If you use Chosen right and set them up right they will work. You use them wrong and set them up wrong they will fail. Perhaps you've seen them in a new light now?

4. Chaos Terminators

I'm not going to deny I have love for Chaos Terminators. These are the ultra good guys can bad. I hear people say they suck, why is that? Is it because they do not have thunder hammers and a 3+ invulnerable save? If that's the case all Terminators suck who do not have that wargear, which is not the case! Chaos Terminators are a lot more flexiable and have better wargear options than loyalist Terminators, minus the thunder hammers of course.

I'm not going into tactica with this guys because I wrote it all here a year ago: Chaos Terminator Tactica

5. Plague Marines

What's not to like about Plague Marines? They're T5 get feel no pain and grenades which minus off the charge bonus attack, awesome!

These guys can act in the same role as Chaos Space Marines, you can take two special weapons and you do not need a certain squad size to do this like with Chaos Space Marines. Pick your Plague Marines for a role say for tank hunting, infantry smashing or monstrous creature busting and fit them with dual special weapons and send them packing in a Rhino; it's that simple. Also, these guys make great objective holders being pretty tough to get rid off.

Bad thing about these guys is they cost a pretty penny so you get about 7 for the price 10 so you will lack numbers, but this isn't a problem as your Plague Marines are harder to dispose of. Plague Marines will good against normal anti infantry weapons do not like the tough stuff like power weapons and them being I3 means they will strike probably last so against say Terminators they will get hammered. Also large blast templates can really hurt them, you may think a battle cannon isn't too bad against Plague Marines but it is; the AP3 takes out the armour save and because the battle cannon is double the Plague Marines toughness no feel no pain for them - Plague Marines fear battle cannons!

6. Chaos Raptors

Before you start booing and hissing at me (again) just hear me out because these is going to be short and sweet.

Take a minimum squad of Raptors. Throw in 2 meltaguns. Deep strike in and nuke a tank. Raptors job done and cost 120 points - ave it ;)

Though, use them as a suicide unit because that's exactly what they are. They're a little expensive to be taking in full units, which you need two of btw for unit redundancy and target satuation. Keep them small which keeps them cheap.

7. Obliterators

Not a lot I can say about Obliterators because everyone should know how f**king awesome these are! Forget Havocs, these are your boys and will cost cheaper more or less.

For those who do not know Obliterators carry a range of heavy and special weapons they can use each turn, on a particular note these are one of two units which can only get multi meltas and plasma cannons; the former particularly useful in the mech environment. Special weapons are all twin-linked btw and they have slow and purposeful, which has the relentless special rule so these guys can move and shoot heavy weapons and counts as not moving with rapid fire.

Best thing for these guys is hold them in reserve. Do not set them up as a lascannon platform because you're wasting the abilities they have and lets face it they're not cheap and that's exactly what you're paying for - you want lascannons get a Predator or Havocs. Deep strike these guys in and get them to pop a tank with multi meltas or meltagun, burn infantry with flamers or plug gaps where you need them.

Bad thing about these guys is they cost a fair amount of points and pretty easy to dispose of with the right tools. The 2+ armour save makes them survive small arms along with 2 wounds but things like meltaguns, lascannons and demolisher shells will really spoil there day and inflict instant death, beware!

Notable Mentions

Chaos Lord

Yes you may laugh but consider a Chaos Lord with MoK and a pair of lightning claws dishing out 6 attacks on the charge, with re-rolls to wound. You could risk it and pay 10 points more and get a daemon weapon, still with MoK, this could potentially give 17 attacks on the charge, extremely nasty!

Unfortunately the Chaos Lord is pale compared to a Daemon Prince.

Chaos Sorcerer

120 points buys you a lash Sorcerer. Pop your Sorcerer in a Rhino along with a squad for armoured and squad protection. Then lash out the hatch.

Ok, so lash doesn't affect mech so lash has slipped down the ranks. It also requires weaponry in the army to work around it i.e Vindicators and the Sorcerer needs a squad and transport to protect it. Remember, the Sorcerer is a I.C so can be picked out in combat and lack of psychic defense is also a problem.

Noise Marines

Give them those fancy guns, er a sonic blaster, yeah that's the one. Forget blastmaster because it's over priced. Shove them in a Land Raider and then bail out open fire because the sonic blaster is a assault weapon and then charge into combat; Noise Marines are I5 so you'll probably go first.

These guys are expensive just for a initiative boost. You work out the difference between a normal CSM and it's 5 points, you can take the MoS for 20 points which works out to 4 Noise Marines different - not even a minimum squad. Also sonic blaster is 5 points extra making them more expensive than the more survivable Plague Marines. Sonic blasters should have been included in the points cost I think.

Lesser Daemons

Cheap objective troops for 13 points a pop? That will do nicely. Oh, they have Space Marine profiles too but with a extra attack ;)

Bad news is they only have a 5+ invulnerable so can get wasted quickly. And you need a large unit to mak things happen, which can lead to deep strike issues. Though if you're objective claiming the cover save will be better.

Ok so finally here's a army list for all the Chaos Space Marine goodie units.

Chaos Space Marines "Goodie Build" - unlimited points


Daemon Prince - wings, MoN & warptime

Daemon Prince - wings, MoN & warptime

Greater Daemon


5 x Chosen w/ Rhino - 5 x meltaguns - Rhino w/ havoc launcher

5 x Chaos Terminators -  1 x chainfist & 4 x combi meltas

5 x Chaos Terminators - 1 x chainfist, 1 x heavy flamer & 3 x combi flamers


7 x Plague Marines w/ Rhino - 2 x meltaguns & chaos icon - Champion - Rhino w/ havoc launcher

7 x Plague Marines w/ Rhino - 2 x meltaguns & chaos icon - Champion - Rhino w/ havoc launcher

7 x Plague Marines w/ Rhino - 2 x plasma guns & chaos icon - Champion - Rhino w/ havoc launcher

Fast Attack

5 x Raptors - 2 x meltaguns

5 x Raptors - 2 x meltaguns

Heavy Support

3 x Obliterators

3 x Obliterators

3 x Obliterators


The_King_Elessar said...


Chumbalaya said...

Duh, the best Chaos unit is Abaddon and 4 Chosen Terminator Champions with dual LCs and the Mark of a Khorne in a Land Raider. It totally kills everything lololollololol

That or Chaos Spawn.

Atrocity said...

Just built that list, comes out to a cool 2643. Still an interesting list none the less. You definitely have me considering adding a Greater Daemon to spice things up in my list.

TMiles001 said...

Chaos Spawn FTW!! :D

Mercer said...

Fuck me TKE makes a post on Imperius Dominatus after some absence!

Chumby - Abbadon, Champion Chaos Termies and a Land Raider is a awesome unit, awesome for a massive point sink! :P

I was thinking of putting Possessed in that list - was a tough choice! lol.

Atrocity - Thanks for adding it up, quite a bit over my normal 2k level. As for a G.D I've recently added one into my list and yet it hasn't let me down, like I said in my tactica just make sure you get it in the thick of things or else it won't make combat as it has no wings or fleet!

TMiles - Aye to that brother! lol.

Chumbalaya said...

Oh, I was joking, it's a terrible unit. I think it ends up costing somewhere in the region of 800-900 points for 1 AV14 tank and a bunch of 1 wound models inside. Stupid.

Mercer said...

Aye I know mate. I caught your internet sacarasm all the way from Rochester to Cannock! :D

Anonymous said...

Nice writeup!,
The list is questionable however... Where does your Greater Daemon deploy? You need to pay for some Champions or you've thrown out 100 points :(

He was made cheap probably because of the sacrifice aspect

Mercer said...

A internet cookie to you anonymoose!

Koski said...

No love for Lesser Demons?

All the troops of CSM can take useful cheap personal icons, or icons of chaos glory, ect ect. So on any given round 2-3 you probably still have 3-4 different places for a massive squad of lesser demons to descend into madness on some poor unit.

I've always liked that you can avoid getting your own shooty units into CC by dropping Lesser Demons really close and assaulting the unit that was just getting to close for comfort hah :P

I totally just started using this imperial dominatus stuff because your blogs are pretty good Mercer. Thanks for the good information.

Mercer said...

Lesser Daemons are in the honourable mentions section of the article - did you miss them?

Anonymous said...

bland chaos space marines are probably the best troop choice in the whole game ( or sw gray hunters)

Mercer said...

Why's that then? PM get double specials (which you want) T5, FnP and fearless.

Anonymous said...

cos pm are much more expensive! hords of csm with bolters and a few upgrades can take on anything just through pure numbers of bodys on the board. ld 10 bolter ccw and bolt pistol for 15 points makes for a very killy army

Mercer said...

Plague Marines are expensvie but you get 7 P.M for 10 CSM which are T5 and have FnP, they last a great deal longer and have the same benefits as normal CSM. P.M are much more competitive.

Anonymous said...

thats true but you have to times those extra csm by the number of squads your running. for every 3 squads of 10xp.m your getting an extra squad (almost) of csm and if your only going to run squads of 7 then the p.m are only marginally more survivable then a squad of 10 csm and put out less shots. the extra toughness and feel no pain has no advantages against 2x toughness weapons, a large blast plate from a demolisher cannon or a squad of powerfist terminators is going to kill a csm as easily as a p.m but at least the csm are going to kill more terminators.

Mercer said...

The extra toughness and FnP has certain weaknesses but are still more survivable than normal CSM. Everything you said will kill CSM too, except CSM are more vulnerable to other weapons, say bolters can kill CSM ok but against Plague Marines they need 5+ to wound and then the P.M get a save and feel no pain.

So your points are irrelvant, those weaknesses CSM have. Point is Plague Marines while more expensive are more competitve. If you don't think that then fine, but I'm not going around in circles explaining time and time again.

Anonymous said...

your average pm will last longer then your average csm thats true but you get more csm which means more shots fired and there i4 were as pm are i3 so a pm is going second in close combat against most things. my point is 7 plauge marines are only marginly more survivable then 10 csm but with less fire power and not as good in close combat.

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