I really do like heavy support units, there's nothing like blowing up or pounding your opponent's army into dust. I guess that's why I like Iron Warriors. As a bonus I.W also like their heavy support, everything in the CSM codex fits them nicely.
Two units I am going to look at today are the Havocs (again!) and the Chaos Predator. Both are interesting units and both can fulfill the same role on the battlefield for about the same cost in points.
I mentioned the Havocs recently in this article: X vs Y: Havocs vs Obliterators and really I am going to repeat what I have said, quite literally..sorry for copy and paste, but no point me typing out the same stuff again.
Havocs are CSM Devastators. Nothing really special going on standard wise with the Havocs.
The weapon options is where is it at for the Havocs, here they become extremely customisable and can fit into your army and plug the gaps.
If you are doing an old fashioned Rhino rush list then these guys can fit in; take quad meltguns, plasma guns or flamers if you like.
You could take them on foot with quad plasma guns, they are not going to cost mega points and bring some nice fire power.
As I mentioned above, Havocs can plug the gap in your army and are mostly taken for ranged weapons, which you cannot get in other areas of the codex in such high numbers.
You have the choice of heavy bolter; autocannon; missile launcher & lascannon. Sorry no multi meltas or plasma cannons, but that's how it was in the previous codex so nothing lost.
The heavy bolter is pretty meh while the lascannon is pretty expensive.
At first glance a missile launcher seems interesting especially considering you can take flakk missiles (gives skyfire), this will give the Havocs some nice anti air support. When you add this all up you are talking 175 points for skyfire missile launchers for a unit of five Havocs, that's quite a bit of points especially considering that flakk missiles are S7 AP4.
The autocannon is the middle ground and best all round option of all ranged weapons. It only costs a bagain 10 points and brings weight of fire power which will do good against infantry, monstrous creatures and vehicles up to a certain armour value.
You can add chaos marks onto the Havocs. Depending on how you are using them depends if any mark is worth it. Personally I don't think any mark is worth it except mark of nurgle; makes your infantry more resilient against enemy anti infantry fire power.
Speaking of marks, you can add icons too. An icon of vengenance maybe of interest as it makes your Havocs fearless and stops them running away.
I think out of all the weapon choices for Havocs I would have to go with autocannons. Chaos Space Marines don't have buckets of ranged stuff and Havocs fill that gap nicely for very little points. If you do go special weapons i.e meltagun etc you are more than likely to add the cost of a Rhino in, though mass plasmas on foot would ok.
VoTLW (veterans of the long war) isn't that useful on these guys, they will be either sitting back shooting with ranged weapons or moving about slagging tanks with meltas or double tapping with plasma guns.
The Chaos Predator is your traditional S.M heavy tank; it sits on a Rhino chassis and has front armour value 13.
Standard weaponry is an autocannon, you can switch this for a very expensive twin-linked lascannon and you can add side sponsons in heavy bolter or lascannon form. The Destructor setup (autocannon & heavy bolters) costs 85 points while the Destructor setup (all round las) is 140 points. There is a middle ground between the two which is autocannon turret and lascannon sponsons, this costs 115 points the same as the Havocs.
The Predator has a nice selection of wargear, though most of it is pretty useless as the Predator likes to remain in a static position to get the benefit of firing all those guns. There are two items of wargear which maybe of interest and that's the havoc launcher and warpflame gargoyles, both lots of wargear would suit nicely on a Destructor. I will say at first glance daemonic possession seems nice, but firing your weapons as BS3 isn't cool for the points cost.
As usual vehicles and infantry offer unique advantages and disadvantages;
Infantry can be killed by small arms fire and taken out in one with a good placed blast, can be locked in combat which means they cannot fire.
Vehicles can be taken out with a lucky anti tank shot, become immobilised in terrain (and lose a hull point) and can be supressed to a degree thanks to the vehicle damage chart i.e crew shaken & stunned results.
Comparing Havocs and the Chaos Predator is like comparing apples and oranges; they both do the same job, but are very different.
Havocs can come in numerous setups and are far more flexible than the Chaos Predator, though they can get expensive fast.
The Chaos Predator only has two roles; light anti infantry and anti armour. The anti infantry setup isn't very expensive and the auto-las setup is pretty cheap too. I personally find the anti infantry setup to be lack luster, for example against some Orks who have a 5+ cover save - autocannon hits once and heavy bolters hit four times - autocannon wounds once and heavy bolters wound three times, that's a total of four wounds. Orks will save only one cover save. So the Predator has killed three Orks, who cost 6 points each, hardly ground breaking. This is also 5+ cover save in the example, ruins etc give 4+ so the results would be worse off.
The one advantage Havocs with autocannons have is they knock out double shots compared to an auto-las Predator and double up as light armour and anti infantry, while the Predator is really only good for anti armour.
I have to admit I am heavily biased towards Havocs as I just cannot get along with Predators. The static requirement of a Predator can be more of a hinderance (don't forget can pivot on the spot, that doesn't count as moving) sometimes and drawing LOS with those sponsons can be a pain in the arse. However that's just me. I think in a hybrid list a Chaos Predator would be fine as it can easily draw LOS over infantry unlike a mech force, which has Rhinos zooming forward.