Social Icons

twitterfacebookrss feedemailgoogle plusyou tube


Tactica: top CSM units

The new Chaos Space Marine codex has created quite a stir for the 40k players; it's not as hot as some thought it would be, especially for a Phil Kelly codex and many people are disappointed. While I am one of those people, I am not going to be down and out about and instead will work with and enjoy what I have :).

In no particular order, here's the top CSM units in the codex:

1. Typhus

Typhus is great for a Death Guard army; he's a double multiplier and lets Plague Marines become troops and Cultists become zombies - how cool is that?

I know Typhus has gone up in points, but look at his profile, it's pretty beefy. He also comes with the manreaper, which is a S6 AP2 unwieldy force daemon weapon, which is great as Typhus is handy in close combat and is also a mastery level 2 psyker. Do not forget the destroyer hive, which is a bit of a gimmick I admit, but it is a funky bonus.

Best Use - put him in a unit of Zombie Cultists along with a Dark Apostle. Mooch up and cause carnage while the Apostle lets Typhus re-roll to hit in combat and also re-roll on the boon chart. Do not forget to split Typhus from the unit when you want to use the destroyer hive; it affects your models too!

2. Chaos Lord

At first glance the Chaos Lord looks a bit of a sad act, but really he is a wolf in a sheep's clothing. The Chaos Lord is a force multiplier as you can take cult units as troops if you take the correct mark on the Lord, which is great as the Lord is dirty cheap.

The Chaos Lord is highly customisable, so you can make a Lord to fit into your army. I am not going to go detailed into the builds, but if you click this link Chaos Lord Tactica then you will find tactica and builds for the Chaos Lord. Personally I am really liking a Chaos Lord on a bike with a power fist, mark of nurgle and sigil of corruption.

Best Use - this is difficult to point down because the Lord is so flexible and can fit into your army depending on what you take. You want a cheap plain HQ? Then the Lord can do that. You want a HQ in termie armour? That's fine, the Lord can do that. Want a fast moving killer Lord? Check out a bike or juggernaut. Of course the best use of a Lord is using a mark to get the respectful cult units as troops.

3. Sorcerer

A cheap cost magic dude? Yes I like that. A cheap cost magic dude with mastery level 3 for only 110 points? I like that even more :).

Like the Chaos Lord, the Sorcerer is a force multiplier also, though this only works for Thousand Sons, which makes sense. The Sorcerer is also very customisable, however I would keep this guy cheap and use those psychic powers. You can find a tactica here Chaos Sorcerer Tactica.

Best Use - of course the best use for a Sorcerer is a cheap way to get those Thousand Sons as troops. Other ways of using him will be difficult, as the powers are random. However, the Slaanesh powers are very interesting and offer some wicked benefits if you're using Noise Marines :).

4. Dark Apostle

This guy is absolutely wicked! Ok he is a bit more expensive than the previous two HQ choices, but the Apostle offers some great benefits; re-roll to hit for the unit in combat, re-roll on the chaos boon chart for himself and models in the unit and offer a leadership bubble.

There really isn't much which needs changing to the Apostle. It should be noted he's a bit meh in combat as his mace is only AP4, but that's fine for mashing xenos up. You can beef him up by taking a MoT which will give a 3+ inv save.

Best Use - this guy belongs in a foot list particularly a horde. You want to jam an I.C into the Apostles unit so can benefit on the boon table.

5. Chaos Space Marines

Ok, they lost the close combat weapon, but 13 points for a Marine isn't bad. I know they haven't got anything like combat squads or ATSNKF, but they are 13 points each!

Best Use - no matter what army you're going for, these guys will fit in. You want some CSM to bulk up the power armour numbers, then these guys can do that. Want small MSU units? Well they are cheap for that too. CSM horde? Yup, they can do it.

6. Chaos Cultists

These new little guys can be pretty funky and I think are probably required in every list. I know they are weak, but in numbers with MoN or MoK they can be pretty decent. Add a Dark Apostle into that unit and you're getting plenty of attacks. Throw in a Sorcerer and hope you get that invisibility power and you're laughing.

If offence isn't you thing, then try defence - Cultists are great for camping on an objective. Or even a quick speed bump.

Best Use - Cultists will quickly beef up your horde numbers. Take MoK and Apostle and you're getting a serious amount of attacks on the charge, do not forget they will be fearless and re-rolling to hit all thanks to the Apostle. If you do not want to do that, then cheap objective holding unit is fine - keep them in reserve so you have at least one turn of them not being shot at.

7. Plague Marines

Plague Marines were part of the best of the bunch in the previous codex and are still are, in fact they are slightly better as get a poisoned close combat weapon. Only downside to these guys is they are slightly expensive.

Best Use - I wouldn't take many of these on foot, they are too expensive to have large numbers, one or two decent size units on foot would be fine. The typical MSU in Rhinos would be fine or have them as objective holding units, however Cultists can do the same for cheaper and without purchasing a Nurgle Lord or Typhus. Of course for a Death Guard list they are a must!

8. Chaos Bikers

These guys are incredibly cheap points, even makes a change CSM get something cheaper than their loyalist counter parts!

Take mark of nurgle on these guys and you've got a very tough unit to deal with who also have a 5+ cover save (jink). Add meltaguns and bulk the unit up to six strong and you've got a very tough fast moving unit costing only 156 points. Also, unlike CSM, they come with a bolt pistol and ccw, which you can replace the bikes bolter with the melta etc if you want.

Best Use - use these guys for fast melta delivery or even flamer attacks. They are great for tarpiting enemy units and attacking basic infantry. Another use is a delivery unit for a Chaos Biker Lord.

9. Chaos Spawn

The boo-boo in the last codex, Chaos Spawn have managed to turn themselves right around and become a serious choice for fast attack. They are now 30 points a pop and for that you get a WS3 S5 T5 3 wound creature, who has random attacks. The Spawn also have rage (so +2 attacks when charging), are beasts and have a random ability each turn.

They can takes marks as well, however the ones I would only consider looking at are MoS and MoN.

Best Use - use them to support other fast moving units i.e Chaos Bikers or act as a distraction and they can boost up a flank or something. Using them to tarpit camping units or objective holding units is a great use for them.

10. Heldrake

Flying chaos dragon? Oh yes, I love it! When building a Chaos Space Marine army I always squeeze one of them in for two reasons 1. rule of cool 2. because it's so damn awesome!

The Heldrake comes with an hades autocannon as standard, this isn't too bad, but the baleflamer is loads better (S6 AP3 soul blaze). It also can do a funky S7 vector strike, which can be used against flyers, but do not rely on the Heldrake for anti air!

Best Use - if you're short on anti tank and really want your Heldrake for anti air, then stick with the hades. I favour the baleflamer, which is excellent for bbq'ing infantry. Use the vector strike for tackling ground vehicles such as Rhinos etc. Also do not forget that vector strike works on the side armour so something like a Vindicator or Predator is still open prey.

11. Havocs

I've always liked Havocs and I think they had merit with autocannons - this is my thought on Havocs in the previous CSM codex btw, now I think Havocs are rocking! The Havocs themselves haven't changed a great deal, but it's the cost of their weapons which has and what makes them so awesome.

The common setup you will see for Havocs is autocannons; a unit of Havocs with four autocannons is only going to cost 115 points and will knock out 8 x S7 shots at 48" range. A setup which I originally thought I would see would be Havocs with flakk missiles, however this setup brings the Havocs to a busting 150 points odd, which is just too damn expensive.

Best Use - autocannons without a doubt is the way to go for these bad boys, it just makes sense and with the other heavy weapons (lascannon, missile launcher & heavy bolter) being inferior or more costly, why would you take them? Only other setup which maybe viable is giving them special weapons and bunging them in a Rhino; 12 Rhinos in a list is a lot of vehicles!

12. Obliterators

These guys were cool before and now even cooler! Tiny little changes have all added up for the Obliterators to make them stand out even more; they are slightly reduced in cost, bring an assault cannon to the party and can bring chaos marks.

Now I can guess you're going to say about you're unable to use the same weapon twice in a row, which is a fair comment, however I've never had need to. I deep strike my Oblits and they can go to work with multi meltas or twin-linked meltas on vehicles, lascannon rear of enemy vehicles, plasma cannon infantry heading my way, bbq units close by or assault cannon dakka camping basic infantry units. The swiss army knife of CSM is here and has got better!

Best Use - take MoN as it's the best mark for them, it will stop them being doubled out by anti tank fire power, which usually aims for them. MoS is utterly pointless and MoT won't gain a huge benefit while MoK is nice, if you do deep strike or even on mooch up on foot, then it's going to take some time getting into combat, which means you're not getting the full use out of the MoK.

I usually deep strike my Oblits and find they are in the thick of it straight away. At this point all weapons can be used, instead of walking up the field and using what you can due to range.

13. Forgefiend

The Forgefiend is a cool bit of kit and is the daemon engine form of Havocs and the Predator. It brings to the party an av12 3 hull point hull on a walker platform. It has daemonic possession (2+ save against crew shaken and stunned results), has the daemon rule (5+ inv and causes fear),  it will not die and also fleet - that's a few fair rules, which in my opinion make it a tough cookie!

The Forgefiend is packing two hades autocannons, so it can drop a nice amount of 8 x S8 shots per turn. If that doesn't float your boat, then check out the ectoplasm cannons, which are basically a 24" range S8 plasma cannon.

I've heard some negative things about the Forgefiend and can see why; it's a vehicle and can be taken down in a single shot, it's very large and harder to get cover with. It is also very expensive - not far off 200 points. Also, it's not the best shooter as it is BS3, but you should hit on average 4 shots out of 8.

Best Use - set the Forgefiend up about 6" - 12" from your table edge (if playing dawn of war or vanguard strike) as it's 36" range on the hades means it won't be firing all the time if you hang it back. While it gets a 5+ inv save (which is better than nothing and will save 33% of the shots), try to use cover best you can (remember it only needs 25%) and maybe consider taking a Warpsmith, who can repair it on a 4+.

Here's a sample list using all the above units - it is double FOC btw ;).

Sample List - Chaos Space Marines 'top units - unlimited points


Chaos Lord - power fist, blight grenades, chaos bike, sigil of corruption & mark of nurgle
Sorcerer - mastery level 3
Dark Apostle - mark of nurgle


5 x Chaos Space Marines w/ Rhino - plasma gun - Rhino w/ havoc launcher
5 x Chaos Space Marines w/ Rhino - plasma gun - Rhino w/ havoc launcher
5 x Chaos Space Marines w/ Rhino - plasma gun - Rhino w/ havoc launcher
5 x Chaos Space Marines w/ Rhino - plasma gun - Rhino w/ havoc launcher
5 x Plague Marines w/ Rhino - 2 x meltaguns - Rhino w/ havoc launcher
5 x Plague Marines w/ Rhino - 2 x meltaguns - Rhino w/ havoc launcher
30 x Chaos Cultists

Fast Attack

6 x Chaos Bikers - 2 x meltaguns & mark of nurgle
4 x Chaos Spawn
Heldrake - baleflamer

Heavy Support

3 x Obliterators - mark of nurgle
5 x Havocs - 4 x autocannons
5 x Havocs - 4 x autocannons

Do you agree with this assessment? Do you think any units are missing or any units which do not deserve to be in this list?