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09/11/2012

Tactica: CSM HQ - part 3


In part one the big baddy known as the Chaos Lord started the ball rolling. In part two the high magic man, the Sorcerer kept this shindig alive and kicking. Now moving onto the other nasties; the Warpsmith and Dark Apostle.

Warpsmith




The Warpsmith is one of the news kids on the block. Basically he's a CSM Master of the Forge.

Wargear is what you would expect for a CSM i.e bolt pistol, krak grenades, though the Warpsmith does come with mechatendrils. The tendrils give +2 attacks and also bring a flamer and meltagun to the party, which both weapons can be fired if you wish. Throw in a power axe and this guy is coming at you with 6 S5 AP2 attacks when charging - nasty!

The Warpsmith has two nice abilities as well; he can repair a hull point, immobilised vehicle or a weapon destroyed result or may curse a enemy vehicle, which gives the vehicle's weapons the gets hot rule. He has BS5 btw, so shouldn't be missing that machine curse all that much. Note that gets hot cause a vehicle to lose a hull point, if you do this on something which fires a lot of dakka i.e Dark Eldar Venom, Imperial Guard Punisher then you're laughing.

To put the cherry on the cake the Warpsmith has a nice ability; shatter defences. Basically you can decrease the cover save of a piece of terrain, this is done after deployment and cannot be done against fortifications which the opponent(s) have purchased as part of their army. It's a nice ability, which can come in handy, particularly in objective games when the other player has dedicated objective holding units.

Optional wargear wise the Warpsmith can take ranged weapons, chaos rewards (no steeds), chaos artefacts and a chaos mark. Out of those wargear choices I don't think there is a huge amount I would take to be honest. Here's what I would do:

* I may take a plasma pistol if I had points spare; a short ranged S7 shot and S8 shot will be handy for busting vehicles. But, only if I had 15 points spare. Also, the gets hot wouldn't be too much of a problem when the Warpsmith has a 2+ save.

* I may take ichor blood and combat familiar if I had points spare. Ichor blood causes a S3 AP4 hits for every wound a model takes, handy when your weapon is S5 AP2. Combat familiar does two S4 hits if I remember right.

* I would definitely take aura of dark glory, the Warpsmith HAS to issue challenges and if you end up in the wrong part of town, then your Warpsmith is going to get battered. It's better to have a 5+ inv than nothing at all. What I would do is take MoT to increase this to a 4+ inv. Sure it's a poor man's storm shield and it costs 30 points, but I don't want my Warpsmith to be brown bread.

* I may consider the burning brand of skalathrax. It's costly for what it does, but it's rule of cool. Handy for softening a unit up prior to charging. Also, the brand says you replace one weapon and if you wish you could replace the meltagun on the tendrils.

Tactics

The Warpsmith is a jack of all trades master of none and can do multiple roles, but for those roles he weighs rather costly.

You can keep him bare bones and hide him at the back of the board and let him repair Forgefiends or Reaperbrutes.

Tag him with unit in a Rhino and let him lay down supporting fire with meltagun, flamer and machine curse.

Throw him in with a large unit of Chaos Cultists and a Dark Apostle. Give the Warpsmith the gift of mutation (can re-roll this thanks to the Apostle), and let him go to town with some Cultist support. He will re-roll to hit thanks to the Apostle's zealot rule.

Dark Apostle



The Dark Apostle is also one of the new boys in town. He is basically a chaotic version of a Chaplain.

Wargear you can probably guess what he has. Even his power maul is the same as a Chaplain's.

The Apostle's special rules are the most interesting; zealot is a uni rule in the rulebook, but in case you do not know it gives the unit the Apostle is with hatred and makes them fearless. Beseech the Dark Gods lets the Apostle or a character re-roll on the chaos boon table; combo this with gift of mutation and you're rolling on the table before the game starts and can re-roll the result. Demagogue gives a 6" LD10 bubble, very handy for a foot list.

Wargear wise the Apostle can take ranged weapons, chaos rewards (except steeds), chaos artefacts, VoTLW and chaos marks. Here's what I would bother with:

* The Veterans of the Long War is a free upgrade, so why not take it? Seems a bit silly it wasn't included anyway.

* Gift of mutation is a no brainer on the Dark Apostle.

* Mark of Tzeentch will give the Apostle a very cool 3+ inv save.

Tactics

It's easy to tell that a Dark Apostle belongs in a foot army. Here large units can take advantage of the Apostle's zealot rule and also multiple units and receive a buff from the demagogue rule. Add in a few other HQs or Champions etc into the unit and you're re-rolling on the chaos boon table.

One issue the Apostle has is that his weapon is AP4. It's great for killing xenos but not anything in power armour or better. You could swap this for a daemon weapon etc, but I think this options are too expensive just to get a better AP value.

Daemon Prince



To be honest I was going to leave the Prince for a seperate article. Unfortunately the Prince has gone down hill a lot in this edition, and I can probably squeeze on what needs to be said.

Profile wise the Prince got a massive boost in the weapon skill and initiaitive department, but leadership and save wise the Prince took a nerf. The leadership nerf is still a sore spot as the Prince has the VoTLW rule which includes leadership bonus, so you're telling me without that rule the Prince would be LD8, the same as a normal CSM?

So the lack of armour save, well it's not all bad as the Prince has the daemon special rule which gives a 5+ inv save along with the fear rule. You can if you like take power armour for 20 points.

The Prince MUST be upgraded so it follows a Chaos God:

* Khorne gives the furious charge rule. Not too bad, but this can be combo'd with a nice piece of wargear..

* Tzeentch lets you re-roll failed armour saves of a 1, not too bad, basically the Prince has a 2+ armour save, as you only have 32% chance of failure but can re-roll 16% of those results.

* Slaanesh gives the rending rule (pretty pointless) and 3" extra to run, which is pretty pointless.

* Nurgle gives the shrouded and slow and purposeful rules - excellent for a Prince who has wings, 3+ jink save :)

Don't forget that taking a aligned Prince will give hatred for the opposing chaos god.

You can upgrade the Prince to a psyker, which it can take all the same disciplines as a Sorcerer. You can upgrade the Prince to mastery level 3 and each level is 25 points a pop. To be honest, if I wanted a psyker I would take the much cheaper Sorcerer, who has a slightly better leadership value. If you do take the Prince as a psyker, then a spell familiar will be very useful.

The Daemon Prince has access to chaos artefacts and chaos rewards. I couldn't see anything, and I am not sure if this is legal, but I see no reason why you cannot stick a Prince on a Juggernaut or something :).

To be honest there's only one way I would personally run a Daemon Prince and that's with daemon of khorne, the black mace, wings and maybe power armour. For this setup you're talking a colossus 265 points. Hell, may as well throw burning brand on and round it up to almost 300 points. At least the black mace will be smashing stuff easily, as it will be AP2 thanks to the smash rule.

That's part 3 done and dusted for CSM HQ tactica. Out of the HQ choices I would say the Daemon Prince is the worst, what a pity.

The Warpsmith and Dark Apostle both offer nice benefits, though they must fit in an army list to make them work.

A Sorcerer is a nice HQ, especially if you're running a Emperor's Children force. Like the Warpsmith and Apostle, I think the Sorcerer needs to fit into your army, unless you're after a very cheap HQ.

The Chaos Lord is the big daddy and most customisable of all HQ choices. A Khorne Lord on a juggernaunt is the CSM version of a Space Wolf Thunder Lord. There's a build of Lord for every list, though I think the Nurgle Biker Lord is perhaps the way forward.