Fixing the CSM codex
Another rules edition has come and following the foot steps as the previous edition the Chaos Space Marine codex gets the short stick and gets shit on :( . It appears to me that the CSM codex is always the test bed for new editions (previous codex come out a year before 5th hit) and sets the trend for codexes which follow after, which unfortunately are always better. Without a doubt the Chaos Space Marine codex is the worst codex for 6th edition, it is very boring, plain and is largely a copy and paste of the original codex with dinobots and a flying zord thrown in to mix it up. Such as shame as I really like Chaos Space Marines :(
So how can this gigantic balls up be fixed?
If CSM were a flavour they would be vanilla
As it stands Chaos Space Marines are pretty boring. I can count on one hand the good units in the codex and they seem to be about more raw power than anything else, which suits CSM fine, but they haven't got anything cool besides a weird flying dragon.
All armies have cool army wide rules or a gimmick. Imperial Guard have the funky orders while Dark Eldar has the feel no pain. Space Marines have been given chapter tactics, which can make some very powerful combinations pop out. What do CSM get? They get hatred: Space Marines if they take the army wide special rule which they then have to pay for! WTF? Space Marines get chapter tactics for free (White Scars gain skilled rider & +1 hammer of wrath) while CSM have to pay for their special rule which is situational.
To add flavour into the CSM codex and to make it more dynamic would be pretty simple; legion traits. Basically chapter traits just re-named. This way players can make legion themed armies which actually have a difference in game besides just being a different paint job. Here's a few examples:
* Iron Warriors gain tank hunters, +1 to building damage table and maybe something else to reflect their paranoia.
* Alpha Legion could get scout or infiltrate for the entire army!
* Word Bearers can perhaps cause fear tests to all units within a radius thanks to their chaotic chanting etc.
Bring it on, bitch - oh crap!
A rule I have always hated in the CSM codex is the silly challenge rule. A CSM Champion has no choice and HAS to accept and issue challenges. This can be a huge downfall to the CSM player as a Champion can get punked and there goes the higher leadership value. If it your HQ choice then you could be giving up slay the warlord and none of the HQ choices have an awesome invulnerable save unless you take mark of tzeentch and the sigil of corruption.
Easy fix is to ditch this silly rule. I am pretty sure a Champion's balls wouldn't be that big to challenge a Trygon Prime knowing he would stand little chance of victory. I am sure that ten thousand years in the eye of terror doesn't suck out the tactical knowledge of CSM.
We're Space Marines and we know no fear, oh wait, we do!
It always bugs me that Space Marines get ATSNF for virtually nothing, if I remember correctly a Tactical Marine is 14 points while a Chaos Space Marine is 12 points. For those two extra points you get ATSNF and chapter tactics. ATSNF is a huge advantage as it stops Space Marines from being swept via sweeping advances and allows them to auto regroup. CSM have no such luxury, if they lose combat they can be swept and destroyed or can run for the hills.
Now I can understand CSM running away, they aren't the most loyal bunch and will run to save their own skin. But I cannot see all tactical knowledge of previous training etc just disappearing over night. To fix this CSM should have stubborn. Yes, they can fail morale tests and still be swept, but stubborn lessens those chances. I mean an angry ten thousand year old war waging CSM isn't going to quickly give up to the loyalist scum! If you thrown in cool wargear which can re-roll failed morale tests then the CSM will be sticking for sometime.
The CSM codex didn't introduce any new characters, which is a shame. The last character to be introduced was Huron Blackheart. Other characters represent the four Chaos God legions and then you have Abaddon larging it up. For some reason Emperor's Children get two representatives. Shouldn't all legions have a single special character? After all the Space Marines codex nine special characters by my count and all main chapters are represented in some shape or form. The Chaos Space Marine codex has seven special characters by my count. Shouldn't the CSM codex have a special character for each legion? After all the CSM codex is basically the evil version of the Space Marine book.
An easy fix would be to ship Bile off into elites or completely forget Bile altogether. Then introduce a special character for each legion.
We are veterans of ten thousand years of war, but we are the same as anyone else
Chosen in this codex kinda suck. They are good for taking mass special weapons and close combat upgrades but that is about it. Chosen are meant to be the baddest mother fuckers around and they get sod all over bog standard CSM to make them stand out.
Take the Space Marine Sternguard, they have special ammo to make them set out. Now I am not asking this for Chosen, but an ability to show their knowledge of war would be awesome. Previously Chosen had infiltrate if I remember right, now they should get a choice of special rules i.e counter-attack, monster hunter, vehicle hunter etc.
The noobs are the worst!
Warp Talons have some funky models and in fluff they are meant to be bad and when I say bad I mean ultra bad. What can they do? They have the blind rule which effects enemy units within 6" when they deep strike; that's cool - not! 6" doesn't give much room for mishaps then factor in that the Warp Talons are only good for close combat as they have lightning claws and have no way to tackle 2+ armour save.
There's two ways to sort out Talons and that is allow them to re-roll deep strike rolls inc scatter or extend the blind range to 12". They also should get options to switch those claws for power fists, thunder hammers and other nasty gizmos.
Sorting the Daemons
I do like that Obliterators have taken a points cost drop, got a few more bonuses and become daemons, but seriously they are not fearless and their leadership has gone down! Just like CSM they can be swept and there goes your expensive swiss army knife unit.
Obliterators should be made fearless or be given leadership 10 for starters. They should also be moved to elites, this would spread the fire power about through out the codex. At the moment in heavy support the CSM book has Predator, Land Raider, Obliterators, Havocs and Forgefiend all competing for ranged fire power. Moving the Oblits to elite would enable a CSM play to get more heavy duty fire power into the codex and giving the CSM army a lot more punch.
The two new dinobots need changing too; the Forgefiend is way too expensive for what it does. It is basically a Helbrute with the daemon rule, it will not die, daemonforge and 8 S8 shots. If you think a Rifleman Dreadnought costs 125 points roughly and will hit pretty much all the shots at S7 then the Forgefied is over costed. Make it 150 points roughly and it will get taken a lot more.
Maulerfiend is ok for the points, should move to fast attack though, it is a fast moving unit, right? Doing this allows the dino love to be spread and to create a dino list. Or maybe shift it to elite where you could do a full on 'zord' list using Forgefiend, Maulerfiend and Heldrake.
Adding new from the old
I find it pretty strange that CSM only have a single Land Raider variant yet at the time of the Horus Heresy there were several different patterns. There is even that big ass Land Raider too, the Spartan and lets not forget the Sicaran tank too.
Introduce something different based upon the old Land Raider and you will get more options and flavour for the Chaos Space Marine codex.
If GW incorporated some of these changes into the CSM codex it would be a much better book than it is today. Not only would it make the CSM army better as a whole but also would take away the blandness which was carried over from the previous codex and introduce some flavour and colour. It isn't that hard to do and it would keep the CSM players happy. It just seems to me GW took the lazy approach and just copied the previous codex to the new codex and still left the CSM codex as a warband type force instead of giving consideration to the background of the legions.
Do you like the Chaos Space Marine codex? Do you think it lacks flavour and needs changes or is it fine as it is now?