I’ve been playing a few games with my Chaos now and I’m starting to get a bit more of a feel as to how they play. The results have been interesting and not entirely what I expected. One of the things that surprised me was just how assault oriented my army has become. That wasn’t really part of the plan. They were meant to be fairly evenly divided between shooting and close combat, with the Heldrake, Forgefiend, Noise Marines and throngs of gun-toting cultists laying down a torrent of fire, with my CSM going for a jack-of-all-trades feel with bolters and additional assault weapons. But repeated plays have whittled this down a little. The Marines have dropped their bolters, the cultists do nothing bar desperate point-defence point-capture. I’m seriously considering switching my Forgefiend for another Maulerfiend.
I played a 3,000 point game versus Deathwing/Codex Bike Marines a while back and was surprised to find out that about two thirds of the list didn’t have a range longer than 12” and half of them didn’t have a ranged weapon at all. As I flooded the field with Possessed, Maulerfiends, Warp Talons and Spawn, I couldn’t help but think that maybe this was a subconscious backlash against playing the Necrons for so long.
This development appears to go against a lot of what the new edition seems to trumpet with the increased effectiveness of shooting vs assault and the advent of Flyers. However, the Chaos codex does seem to be very much weighted in this direction from certain viewpoints. The obsession with Challenges and the preponderance of short range shooting (Chaos weapon ranges do tend towards the shorter side of the spectrum when compared to their Imperial counterparts) do give that impression after all.
That’s not to say they can’t put lead downfield, as Havocs and Forgefiends can testify. But even then, that’s only 48” at best and all in the heavy support slot. You can have the occasional ranged specialist in the other slots, like Noise Marines, Chosen and Terminators, and you can get a smattering of heavy weapons for your troops, but it hardly dispels the image of Chaos being very much in the “Hack! Slash! Sever! Rend!” camp. And I’ve decided to embrace that aspect of them a bit more in my lists. Hence the third Maulerfiend.
And that’s the crux of the post really. In every game I’ve played, the Forgefiend is a priority target for my opponent, which is understandable. 8 S8 shots a turn can be very scary. The problem I’m encountering is a similar one that plagues the Venom. The number of shots doesn’t necessarily add up to a lot of damage. A mass of S8 Autocannon shots is all big and scary on a Dreadnought, because said Dreadnought is packing BS4 and twin-linked guns. Per Dread, they will average the same number of hits as the fiend plus they’re cheaper and you can bring more along. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not complaining about the Forgefiend, I’m just trying to say that the perceived threat of the thing is definitely greater than what it can actually dish out.
The Maulerfiends seem to be more on the other side of the spectrum. At least, that is, until people see them move. Stat wise, I suppose they’re not particularly impressive, as they come across as a standard dreadnought, albeit one with no ranged weaponry at all. The look bigger, obviously, because they are, but they still only have 3 Hull Points and so can be fairly easy to write off on paper unlike the 4HP Defiler. Then they move, and that’s when you can identify the people who haven’t looked at the Codex much by the expression of confusion and apprehension they exhibit when you explain that, yes they move 12” and no, they don’t care about difficult terrain and, yes they’re fleet as well.
Oh, and they have an Invulnerable Save.
Anyway, that’s my brief paean to close combat with my Chaos at the moment. Not the most coherent of monologues, but things have been a bit weird at work, and as that’s where I write all this, any workplace strangeness is going to have a knock-on effect.
My next post ought to be less disjointed as I may actually have a point!