The Helbrute aka Chaos Dreadnought is the coolest model in the new CSM 'dex; well I think so anyway. I've been wanting the tiniest excuse to buy one of these cool kits or even a wicked Forge World Chaos Dreadnought.
Under the bonnet
The Helbrute has practically the same profile as previously, only big difference is it's attacks are reduced down to 2 - previously it had 3 base.
* Important note; the CSM FAQ has changed the points cost for the Helbrute to 100 points.
Wargear gas slightly changed and for the worse; you get a multi melta and power fist as standard (walkers ignore unwieldly rule), but the Helbrute lost the smoke launchers! (point of no smoke is to use the crazed rule, but smoke only gives a 33% chance to save) Speaking of missing wargear, it also lost extra armour, but this is a moot point because of the crazed rule.
Speaking of the crazed rule, it has now changed and it is not too bad to be honest. Now every time you take a glancing/penetrating hit and the Helbrute isn't destroyed, you pop down a crazed token, if you have one or more crazed tokens on a Helbrute then you roll a D3 at the start of your movement phase.
1. Fire Frenzy - double tap all guns into the enemy unit which caused the damage. If that's not possible, then fire at closest visible enemy target (remember 45 degree LOS from the Helbrute's barrels). This is so much better as you do not blast your own models; though taking a missile launcher and firing a frag at a Rhino is funny.
2. Rising Fury - Helbrute recovers from shaken and stunned results (so not need for extra armour) and gains rage, grrrrr...Helbrute smash!
3. Blood Rage - Helbrute recovers from shaken and stunned results and gains the fleet and rage special rules. During the shooting phase, if the Helbrute is not within maximum charge range (i.e 12") then it must run. If it cannot run, then it fires it's guns as normal.
I think the crazed rules have greatly improved. Also, rising fury and blood rage say nothing about shooting. Just says gain rage and fleet, and if out of charge range then must run; so if you're 8" away from enemy units, then you can shoot and still charge :). I guess also ignoring the shaken and stunned results is like having daemonic possession in a kind of way.
Additional wargear then, well it's the same more or less as last time. You've got your heavy bolter, reaper autocannon, plasma cannon and lascannon. Of course you can take a second power fist and add weapons into those fists if you like. You can even switch the existing power fist with a missile launcher. It's worth noting that the Helbrute is one of the few units who get access to a multi melta and plasma cannon.
There are two items of wargear, which are really new and that's the thunder hammer and power scourge. We all know what a hammer does, so moving on. The power scourge is a S8 AP2 weapon, which if any models are in base contact, then roll a D3 and subtract the result from the enemy models' weapon skill - funky, eh?
Here's some example builds:
Fistbrute - dual power fists - pretty simple. Add dual heavy flamers if you like, but you're talking 30 points for heavy flamers and that is not worth the points tag.
Bolterbrute - twin-linked heavy bolter & power scourge - dakka infantry and move up and spank their asses with the flail.
Dakkabrute - reaper autocannon & missile launcher - another simple build; just stand there and shoot. Good for armour and ok for infantry.
Plasmabrute - plasma cannon & missile launcher - dual blast template death for 120 points? Ok then :)
Hellfirebrute - twin-linked lascannon & missile launcher - anti tank destruction coming at you, but costs a high 135 points.
Does this need explaining? The Helbrute is one of those auto pilot units, you just let it stand there and fire. If it does go crazy, well that's not too bad, unless it runs of course and you're hanging back. Consider using cover for it to stop it going bad shit crazy, even a cheap aegis would be great. If you are not standing there and shooting, then you're moving up to either assault with fist/hammer bashy nastyness or moving up to support.
Out of all the builds above I'd run the Dakkabrute. It costs a nice 110 points and you get 2 x S7 t/l shots and a single S8 shot. It's probably the most cost effective and efficient build of the lot. Anything else is too costly and assault Dreadnoughts do not work now, especially if they have no delivery method i.e Chaos Dreadclaw.
Would I use a Helbrute? I am afraid the answer is no. Not at least until I've got other things in my army first; it's just not a high priority take me unit. It's a cool model, don't get me wrong, but there's other units in the codex which can do better. I guess if you're wanting some ranged dakka to complement Havocs and need more armour, then the Helbrute can work for you.
The Helbrute, do you love it and is it a brute for your opponent to deal with or does it just give you hell?