Disclaimer. Regarding the Chaos analysis posts, I'd like to make a quick apology. The reason being that this post alone is over 2,000 words long, and when I see a huge block of text I often can't be bothered to read it. So what I'm going to do in the future posts is shorten them dramatically, and just talk about what I think is the best way to use it, shortening the post, as the length of these posts are getting crazy. So, if you think I'm doing something wrong, or have any constructive criticism to offer regarding the blog, or if I'm going overboard on something, please drop a comment at the bottom. It really is much appreciated. Equally, if you disagree with me on any points or if I've got anything wrong, please let me know, I like to hear from you. Thanks.
I don't care if individually analysing individual units is unoriginal, I'm doing it damn it! By this I mean, sorry for the break, but to make up for it, so brace yourselves for a long post today, because here comes an unrelenting block of text. In other news, a friend of mine has just started a blog, you can find a link to it just above the Underlings blog list on the right of the page. But anyway, on to the Chaos Lord.
I'm not going to pass an overall judgement yet saying that he's good or he's bad, as I want to compare him to the other HQ choices, of which there are many (11 other than the Lord). He's got a solid statline, as you'd expect, but as with these things it's the special rules that matter the most. He comes with Champion of Chaos, letting him roll on the boons table, but the one that I find the most interesting is the inclusion of fearless, which could be really useful in sticking him in a squad and making everyone fearless, doing the whole Eldar/Dark Eldar Pheonix Lord trick. As well as this he has the dual close combat weapons of bolt pistol and close combat weapon but no bolter and Frag and Krak grenades.
So now we delve into the unending pit of wargear. Apparently, he can take items from the charts of melee weapons, ranged weapons, Chaos rewards, special issue wargear and Chaos artefacts. As I say, long post.
Melee weapons. The Chaos Lord can get a Chainaxe for 8pts. Now while I believe that a Chaos Lord with a Chainaxe would look very nice indeed, I'm not buying this. Essentially, what a Chainaxe does is make the Chaos Lord's close combat attacks AP4. Anything with an armour save of 4+ is probably going to be something that I'm beating in combat anyway (Fire Warriors, Dire Avengers, Necron Warriors, etc), so why would I pay 8 points to do it better? Next.
Next up is the Power Weapon and the Lightning Claw. Both cost the same number of points, and when I saw this I was a bit confused, surely I'd just take the lightning claw as it's exactly the same except with a re-roll. Then I remembered that it's a special close combat weapon, so I wouldn't be getting the bonus for dual close combat weapons. So if you do want to spend 15pts on beating up MEQs, you can go for either +1 attack power weapon or re-rolling power weapon. That said, I probably wouldn't spend that many points on a model that can't deal with Terminators, although I suppose that you could model him a Power Axe if you needed to, but then you're wasting the I5.
If you do want to deal with Terminators, why not go for the Power fist, at 25pts. To me that sounds a bit hefty, when I could just as easily be putting that on a Chosen or something. To be honest. If you're just looking for a bog standard Chaos Lord out of these, I'd go for the Power Weapon just because it's a generic Captain weapon, but so far I'm not seeing anything special.
Ranged weapons. Combi Bolter, 3pts. Not a bad investment. At least the guy gets a Boltgun, plus it's unlikely to miss at Twin-Linked BS5. Again with the combi-weapons, good Lord are these things expensive. I really don't like them, I know that a lot of people do but I am paying 7pts more here to lose the Twin-Linked on my Boltgun in favour of 1 shot with either a Flamer, Melta or Plasma gun, I like to be able to use my points more than once thanks. It's why I hate the Tachyon arrow. 30Pts for something that can only be used once and might not even hit, really?
Next up, Plasma Pistol. I have to use this, and that makes me sad, I don't want to have to convert my Dark Vengeance Chaos Lord because it's such a pretty model. The reason that it makes me sad is because I don't want to spend 15pts on a 1 shot weapon with a short range that will blow up in my face every time I miss with it.
Analysing individual units that come in White Dwarf updates is so much easier, at least there's a Codex that I'm familiar with that I can compare them to in relation to their Force Org slot.
Chaos rewards. Now this is going to take even longer. 9 completely new upgrades in here.
Starting with Ichor Blood. 5Pts, and what it does is it causes 1 S3 AP4 hit to any and every model that caused an unsaved wound on your Chaos Lord in combat. Now any model that managed to cause a wound on your Chaos Lord probably isn't going to care about this but it's quite nice if you have 5pts to spare, but I wouldn't go out of my way to take it.
Gift of mutation again, 10pts, roll on the boons table at the start of the game. I'll probably take this for the fun of it, but again, I think it'll be too random a way to use 10pts in tournament play.
Aura of Dark Glory. 15Pts for a 5++ save, not bad. I'll probably come back to this later though, as I think that there's a bit of a points inconstancy here.
Familiars. These guys are interesting. The spell familiar is also completely useless here, it allows you to re-roll psychic tests. As a non-psyker, the Chaos Lord doesn't take psychic tests, so I'll skip over that one. As for the combat familiar, the Chaos Lord gets +2 normal strength no AP attacks. Not a terrible upgrade as there's the potential to squeeze a lot of attacks out of this guy, but I'd probably rather spend these points elsewhere.
One of my favourite inclusions in the codex as far as upgrades is the inclusion of Chaos mounts, they are all effectively stat improvement pieces of wargear with the exception of Slaanesh, which gives you Acute Sense and Outflank, unfortunately, you can't put him in a squad with the mark of another Chaos God, so no squads of 20 Khorne Berzerkers outflanking unfortunately, it also gives the Lord an extra attack and +3” run moves, and makes him cavalry, and is the cheapest of the steeds at 20pts. Definitely my personal favourite. Khorne's Juggernaut also makes you cavalry and effectively makes you much harder in combat, whilst Tzeentch makes you extremely speedy by making you a Jetbike, and Nurgle doing the predictable thing and making your Lord more durable. You should also note that you need to buy a mark of a certain God to purchase the appropriate steed.
Finally onto special issue wargear. I'm going to try and run through this as quickly as possible. Blight Grenades. I wouldn't take them, essentially they are assault and defensive grenades and you already have an assault grenade anyway, plus you need to buy Mark of Nurgle in order to purchase it.
Everything else can be found in the rulebook with the exception of the sigil of corruption, which is the Chaos equivalent of an Iron Halo, for the same cost as a Long Fang with a Missile Launcher. I'll be coming onto invulnerable saves in a minute though so not too in depth here.
Last sub-section for the wargear. Chaos Artefacts. The Lord can take a dimensional key. This is quite an interesting bit of kit, however I'm not sure that it is worth as much as a 4++ save. When the bearer kills a model in close combat, it makes it much easier and safer to deep strike units near to him and creates difficult and dangerous terrain in the same area for your enemy. I probably wouldn't take this because if you're getting into combat with this unit anyway then your opponent probably isn't going to want to get close to it anyway. Defensively it could be quite good though, preventing any of your opponents other units from charging you too easily if you're sat on an objective, however, I still don't think that it's worth the points.
I do really like the burning brand of Skalathrax though. Essentially a flamer with a 12” range, AP3 and Soul Blaze. Quite expensive, and so I'm not really sure what to make of it. I smell playtesting. If you're looking for more Chaos goodness, I'd recommend going over to Predictably Unconventional and Perpetually Thwarted over on the Underlings blog list, I can see that they're doing some Chaos posts too, and I'll probably go and have a look at them once I've finished this post. At this rate I'm not going to be able to return to the 40k internets for about a month, and I'm not sure that I can take that especially with how much time I have off right now. So yeah, check those out.
I originally said that I don't like the Axe of Blind Fury, but since then I've changed my mind. I think that it's most comparable to a Frost axe, the difference being that there is a chance for it to wound the wielder and it is a lot more expensive, and it also comes with a rule called blinded which reduces certain stats. However, it has the potential to give the wielder between 2 and 6 more attacks. Pretty nice. You do need Mark of Khorne to take it though.
Murder sword. I really don't think that this is worth it to be honest. It's the same points as the Axe of Blind Fury forgetting the Mark, but it's basically a Power Weapon that will perform much better against a single model on the board. No.
The Scrolls of Magnus are terrible too in my opinion, they are almost 50pts, and what they do is give the wielder a random psychic power, and every time this happens, he will take a S3 AP1 hit with ignores cover, and the odds are the power is going to be one that you won't find useful as even the discipline that you generate from is randomly selected, and there's no way to predict what you're going to get. To finish off, I think that the black mace is quite nice though, a bit expensive for a weapon that won't cut through power armour though, as it is the same as the Scrolls of Magnus.
I'll come on to the Marks when I get to the Special Characters that unlock units as Troops, i.e. Typhus, Kharn, Lucius and Ahriman, other than that, he can take Veteran of the Long War, which I would probably take as just a nice 5pt upgrade, although if you're going for a cheap HQ then I'd probably leave it.
The Terminator armour however is probably why I wouldn't take the Sigil of Corruption or the Aura of Dark Glory. Yes, 40pts is expensive, but considering that you are effectively doubling your durability it's not a bad upgrade. For a start, even before taking AP into account your save is twice as good as pre-terminator armour, plus you're getting an invulnerable save, Power Weapon and combi-bolter into the bargain, and if you are desperate for that 4++, why not take a Mark of Tzeentch.
To conclude, I'd say that the reason to take a Chaos Lord is if you just want to fill in that Force Organisation slot with a cheap HQ unit and make one of the Elites choices other than Thousand Sons troops. If you just wanted to fill in the mandatory slot, then the Sorcerer does it better due to their lower base cost. However, I can't really pass judgement without going into the other HQ units, so I'll have to wait for tomorrow, when I'll get cracking with the Sorcerer.