The first thing that needs to be addressed when talking about this army is the Champions of Chaos rule. I feel that this is going to be the lynchpin of the army, and the difference between a good CSM player and non-good CSM player is going to be how they apply it and adapt to it.
I’m not even talking about the Boon Table aspect, although that will undeniably be a good chunk of the rule’s effect on a game. That’s just a side effect of the rule. The main crux of it is that in every assault, the Chaos player must issue or accept a challenge when legal to do so. This is a very big deal and requires careful consideration. Challenges are a big part of the 6th edition assault phase, and although they are one of the more polarising elements in the new edition are unlikely to go away any time soon. They can be used to stall a combat, deflect specialist weaponry from its desired target or turn the tide of a combat in the favour of one individual against dozens.
But all that is when you have the choice to do so. When you’re in a combat against a handful of Ork boyz, you probably don’t want your bog-standard squad sergeant calling out the power-klaw armed Nob gurning in the middle of the gang. You want your three chainsword attacks to go on the boys and help improve the combat res and limit the punch back from the boys. Or you want your sergeant still alive so your leadership bonus remains intact. No so, with Chaos. It is compulsory to call out the Nob, do your best to kill him, statistically fail and get reduced to a fine paste on the backswing.
The insurance against something like this happening is to double stack characters in so you can at least have a choice between two guys as to who will be more appropriate for the opponent. Unfortunately, there really isn’t too much option for this tactic as the only Independent Characters in the list dwell in the HQ slots. Because of all this, I think the best setups for squad leaders will be either pretty much nothing or tooled for one of two things: for endurance or for character killing. As a further quirk, Chaos aren’t particularly good at the endurance side. But they are really quite good at the killing side. So this gives you two options; go cheap or go for the kill.
And that almost sums the Codex up, doesn’t it?
Anyway, my typing time is up for this post. I’ll be back with more thoughts tomorrow.