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Tactica: Obliterators

Obliterators are one of the cooler and more 'chaotic' units in the Chaos Space Marine codex - they have a real chaos looks about them with all the mutated flesh and a chaos feel with mutating weapons which appear out of their arms which are a fusion of flesh and metal.

I used to use Obliterators in my old Chaos Space Marine army, they were pricey, but caused a lot of devastation. Are they worth it in the updated codex?

Obliterators Cult

The Obliterator is basically a Chaos Terminator with two wounds, though the 5+ invulnerable save is gained via the Daemon special rule (also gives Fear). They also have Slow and Purposeful, which allows the Obliterators to move, shoot and charge with heavy and rapid fire weaponry. Down side to this is they cannot overwatch, sweeping advance or run. Oh, they can also deep strike as well.

Obliterators have a huge choice of weapons; lascannon, multi melta, plasma cannon, heavy flamer, assault cannon, twin-linked flamer, twin-linked plasma gun & twin-linked meltagun. All Obliterators must fire the same weapon and cannot fire the same weapon for two consecutive shooting phases. Also has a trusty power fist.

All of the above costs 70 points, which isn't too bad, but is a bit points heavy.

You can take marks on the Obliterators if you want too and Veterans of the Long War. Mark of Tzeentch maybe helpful and Mark of Nurgle is extremely good. Mark of Khorne isn't too bad as gives Rage and Counter-attack special rules. Mark of Slaanesh is useless as power fists strike at initiative 1.

The best mark to put on Obliterators is Mark of Nurgle as it stops the Obliterators getting instagibbed by S8 or S9 weaponry i.e krak missiles, meltas and lascannons etc.

You may want to consider VOTLW as Obliterators leadership is only 8, so for 3 points you get +1 leadership and Hatred: Space Marines. If you have points spare I would consider this.

Obliterators, obliterate them!

Obliterators are best used in pairs; a single Obliterator can be easily taken down and won't contribute much while three Obliterators are very cost heavy. Using Obliterators in pairs is a nice middle ground. Like every other unit, Obliterator units should come in pairs. With paired Obliterators one unit could use multi meltas or lascannons to open up a Rhino for example and then the other unit bomb with plasma cannons or hose with heavy flamers before moving into assault.

Obliterators have no transport option, though can go in a Land Raider if needed, though I wouldn't really bother with this as you want the Obliterators outside bringing the pain via shooting.

You have two options for moving Obliterators about on the table and that is deep striking and walking.

Walking is slow, but makes more use of the Obliterators time on the table and allows you to get the most out of all those guns i.e against armour first turn fire lascannon, next turn multi melta. With the Obliterators walking up they provide excellent support for other elements of your army i.e Maulerfiends or Vindicators and add additional saturation. As they are on foot and a high priority target expect them to take some pain, but the 2+ armour save and strongly advised MoN (Mark of Nurgle) will allow them to absorb some serious punishment.

If deep striking it allows you to focus on parts of the opponent's army easier; deep strike behind armour and unleash meltas or lascannons or land need basic camping dedicated objective holders and fry them with flamers. The issue with deep strike is you're at the mercy of reserves and the longer the Obliterators are in reserve the longer they do not get to be used. This also means you need some reserve bonus i.e ADL (Aegis Defence Line) with comms relay. There is also the normal issue of scatter, which could put you out of range or worse deep strike mishap, though the bad result on deep strike mishap only happens on a 1. If you drop them carefully you should be ok.

Obliterators are truly a swiss army knife for a Chaos Space Marine army as they can deal with a number of enemy targets; can destroy light and heavy armour, tackle 2+ and 3+ armour save models, smack monstrous creatures silly, incinerate hordes.

Personally I find them mostly effective against vehicles thanks to power fist, lascannon, multi melta, twin-linked plasma gun and twin-linked meltagun. For the same reasons handy against monstrous creatures too. They seem to do ok against the bog standard Terminators but have it hard against Hammernators. Hordes also tend to overwhelm them and the Obliterators find themselves stuck in a tarpit - you really do not want your expensive shooting unit stuck in a tarpit.

Obliterators, how I use mine

When I use my triple pairs of Obliterators I have them supporting dual Vindicators. I have Obliterators staggered between Vindicators with Vindicators on the inside; O V O V O - this gives the Vindicators some cover on the side armour (only needs 25% covered) and focuses the Vindies together protecting the inside side armour a little better. This way I have my Vindies covering the opponent's army mostly and the Obliterators up front adding additional target saturation. My Rhinos then advance behind using the Obliterators and Vindies to get cover/block LOS.

As I play mostly against mech armies I have my Obliterators fire lascannons first, hopefully they can open up some transport and the Vindicators and drop shells on the survivors. Mutli meltas will then kick in next turn or plasma cannons to tackle more armour or infantry. By turn 3 I am usually in range to use meltas, plasma and flamers and can start smacking small or weak infantry around or assault vehicles. Also at this point I've probably lost 2-3 Obliterators.

If against infantry I tend to drop down plasma cannons and assault cannons. Multi meltas and lascannons come in handy for instagibbing things like Broadsides etc.

If my Obliterators start taking failed saves and if they survive, I just switch them around so the wounded model goes at the back of the unit in my next movement turn.

I have recently tried using Sorcerers in terminator armour with the Obliterators and they work nicely and add some nice counter assault units. Not awesome, but the psychic powers can help if I roll on biomancy well and certainly making more of the Sorcerers this way than inside Rhinos.

Obliterators - worth it?

While Obliterators are cost heavy and absorb a fair chunk of points I think they are worth the cost if taken in pairs. Consider that with MoN they cost 152 points for two, a Trilas Predator is 140 points and a Heldrake is 170 points. For what they bring to the table and the things they can deal with I think that's a fair points cost to pay. Plus they are pretty tough to kill.

Obliterators, you think they are worth it or expensive for what you get?