Friday, 30 November 2012

Chaos Marine Analysis - Lucius and Noise Marines

I had a two day window to write a post this week. On the first I got half way through a post before my computer crashed and annoyed me to the extent to which I couldn't be bothered to write it again. On the second I made a banner for the blog. But it looked terrible so I dropped that too. But I'd better get some content on this blog. Today I'm going to be covering Lucius the Eternal and Noise Marines.

Starting with the Noise Marines. They're about 35% more expensive than standard Chaos Marines, and for that you get a couple of things. First off, you get the Mark of Slaanesh, so they'll be striking first in most combats. I'd never say no to a buff, but really I don't think that this is particularly useful, as you aren't going to want to get your Noise Marines in combat anyway. The second upgrade however is a big deal. Fearless is extremely useful, meaning that you're not influenced to take a certain number just to make it harder to force a leadership check.

So, let's bounce through the upgrades. First off, you can take between 5 and 20 of these guys. I probably wouldn't go as high as 20. They're expensive pointswise and a lower number will do the job for you anyway.

Second, they can take an extra close combat weapon. Pretty cheaply. Again I think that this is something that you could think about if you have a few points left over, but at the end of the day, you're not going to be using them a whole lot, so I probably wouldn't make it a priority. They may be a little more points heavy anyway but that doesn't make piling more points in any more useful.

Alternatively, you can replace your Bolter with an additional close combat weapon for free instead, but you're not going to want to do that. The simple reason for this is that you're going to want to swap it for a sonic blaster instead. This increases each Noise Marine's cost a little to make it a nice round number, but it is essentially the difference between Noise Marines and Chaos Marines in terms of damage output.

Comparing it to a normal bolter, instead of being rapid-fire it is Salvo 2/3 and ignores cover. Essentially, it is much better for horde killing. The ignores cover isn't going to make a difference against MEQ armies, and the extra shot won't mean as much either, although it will be useful. The place where I can cause this causing some problems is against Orks, as it cancels out their Big Mek's Kustom-Force Field, and they aren't getting their armour save either unless they're 'Ard Boyz (which they shouldn't be), and the extra shot increasing the amount of wounds that you could lay down. So far, I think that a Noise Marine with Sonic Blaster is about appropriately costed.

I think that they're a little situational right now as there aren't too many armies that this will be effective against, but they're still fearless marines.

I did see the Blastmaster though, and in all honestly, it is brutal. It's a little spendy, but it can really churn out some damage. Akin mostly to a missile launcher, although it is slightly different. Both its options ignore cover, the first being a Heavy Bolter with 1 less shot and Pinning, and the other being a Battlecannon shot (yeah, I know) with the range of a Krak Missile, small blast and pinning. I think that this is a really strong upgrade, it gives your Noise Marines the potential to cause some long range damage. Although, the only time that I can really see the first option being used is when you are forced to snap shot.

Your Champion can then take all of the usual gubbins so please see any of the other posts where you can find Champions as this post is going to go on long enough without all of that being repeated. He can take a Doom Siren though, which I shall come on to. Although it is only half of the points of the Blastmaster, I think that it clashes with it. Whilst the Blastmaster is good for longer range shooting, this is extremely short ranged, being a heavy flamer with AP3. I think that if you're looking for an AP3 flamer, take a Heldrake, I'd leave this one alone.

I am wrestling with the Icon of Excess though. I think that it's a good buy, as it makes your expensive marines 33% more durable for less than that percentage in terms of points, but again it is pumping more points into the squad. I'd probably go for it, but I can see why you wouldn't.

Just before I move on to scoring, I'm going to round off the special rules. I probably wouldn't take Veterans of the Long War. For 2 reasons. 1. Hatred is nice, but the limited amount of time which you're going to be using it for is a problem. 2. You're already fearless anyway, so that +1 LD doesn't matter. Yes it is a relatively inexpensive upgrade, but just because something doesn't cost very much doesn't mean that you should always take it.

So how do they score. Well in scoring units I generally look at durability, comparing it with how many points I've spent on the squad. Ignoring the Icon of Excess, you're paying 7pts more for a Marine whose only bonus over the standard Chaos Marine in terms of durability is fearless. This is a big deal, but honestly I'd prefer the Marines. If you want to make an army based around Noise Marines, go for it, but I wouldn't take Lucius just to allow Noise Marines to score.

Speaking of Lucius, it's time to move on. Firstly, his statline is pretty strong. He has the same weapon skill as a Phoenix Lord, and hits on 2s with ranged weapons (not that this really matters as the only ranged attack that he can make which requires this is throwing his grenades). Also boasting a very strong initiative and a good number of wounds and attacks. He also costs the same number of points as Fabius Bile, and like Bile, he is weighed down with wargear and special rules.

He comes with a Doom Siren, as in the special heavy flamer mentioned earlier, champion of Chaos, Fearless, Veterans of the Long War, etc. He does only have a Power Sword though, which is disappointing. However, the next 3 rules make up for it. The first is in regard to challenges. In a challenge, Lucius gets attacks equal to hit opponent's weapon skill. Very nice. Armour of Shrieking Souls is next, which gives Lucius a 5+ invulnerable save. Additionally, every time he passes a save in combat, the wounding unit takes a S4 AP2 hit. However, I wouldn't see this as Lucius' answer to terminators, as most Terminator squads will have a number of Power Fists/Thunder Hammers in there, and Lucius isn't eternal, so the moment he fails an invulnerable save, he dies. Don't get him close to Terminators.

Finally, 1 model in base contact with Lucius (you choose) has their attacks reduced to 1, and Lucius gets shred.

But anyway, what is my final verdict on Lucius? I think he's ok. I don't think that he has the number of attacks to deal with large squads, and he doesn't have the low AP to deal with Terminator Equivalents. I think that Lucius works best against small squads of marines, although I'm not sure how often he'd get a chance to charge these, the only examples I can think of are drop-podding units like Sterngard or Grey Hunters (which are being seen more commonly with drop-pods now). He's also a pretty strong guy in a challenge as well, although you'd expect that when you're paying over 150pts.

And there we have it. Sorry if this hasn't been a particularly good analysis, I've had about 4 hours sleep in the last 30 hours courtesy of a coursework assignment due in today. I'll have another post up tomorrow, as I have decided to challenge myself to get this line of posts finished this month. It has already taken far too long.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Chaos Marine Analysis - Huron Blackheart

I'm off to Marlow for the weekend tomorrow, and I don't know how much internet access I'll have, so I'll get a post out now.

Straight off, I can say that I really like Huron. I'm going to go through who he is and what he does first, and then how much he costs will come in further in.

Just as you'd expect he comes in Power Armour and has the usual grenades, but he also has a couple of other pieces of wargear too. First off he gets a Power Axes, which is nearly always useful (I say nearly for a reason), but then he comes with a 4+ Invulnerable too.

As for his special rules, he comes with Champion of Chaos (of course), Fearless (expected, but nice all the same) and Veterans of the Long War (odd considering he's not pre-heresy, but I'll take it). He also has a pretty beastly statline. Take a normal marine's statline, now compared to that he has +2 weapon skill, which is handy, a better ballistic skill but without a shooting weapon I'm not really going to mention that, although he can get psychic goodness. Anyway, +2 wounds, +1 initiative and +2 leadership. The leadership we don't care about because he's fearless anyway, unless mindshackle scarabs or the Doom of Malan'Tai can still effect him. I'll have to check that out when I'm back in Sheffield and have my 40k library. But anyway, onto what makes him interesting.

Firstly, he comes with a pre decided Warlord trait, as in D3 infantry units in your army can infiltrate. There are some nasty things that you can do with that, especially with a Codex that likes being up close as much as Chaos. Bear in mind that allies can't infiltrate, as only battle brothers can benefit from an ally's Warlord trait and Daemons can't infiltrate anyway.

Into the middle of the spectrum of things that he does well, here comes some psychic ability. Huron brings with him a special little Familiar. This makes him a psyker and allows him to roll on a random psychic discipline table every turn, but with no Primaris powers. I think this is a nice little gimmick to have, it can be useful in the right circumstances with the right power but anyone who reads this blog regularly will probably know that I'm not a fan of random, I like to keep things as predictable/reliable as possible in my army from a competitive standpoint. The psyker level is nice though, no-one can say no to an improved deny the witch. The Familiar also counts as a combat Familiar too, meaning +2 S4 attacks. Whoop! No seriously although it doesn't sound terrifying it's always nice to have more attacks, especially at Huron's Weapon Skill.

Now, as well as giving these force multiplication benefits, he is also a monster in close combat, as well as having the Axe to deal with Terminator equivalents (although I wouldn't recommend throwing him against these as they'll kill him instantly with the amount of Power Fist, etc attacks they're likely to have, no eternal warrior for him) he also comes with a special lightning claw. It is essentially the same as a standard except that it gives Huron +2 to his strength, which is really nice, and it has armourbane, meaning that charging a walker into him to tie him up is a bad idea. It doesn't stop here though, it also has an in built heavy flamer, which makes a good deterrent against charging him. Plus VOTLW is a nice bonus on him for extra close combat pain.

I'm sorry I haven't gone into too much detail with this, I haven't even scratched the surface really, with fearless and how best he could be used still left untouched. I'm trying to ease myself back into this after this week's coursework blast. However, I can say that I'll probably be including Huron in my Chaos list, he's well costed, fun, and a good all rounder, which is very much what I'm looking for with my Chaos. Oh, that's a point, he's 5pts less than Fabius Bile. So at that rate, I'd say he's a good buy.

The next post should be up on Monday, and when I start delving into some of the other special characters, I'll go through them and the unit that they unlock as troops in 1 post.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Chaos Marine Analysis - Fabius Bile

Sorry for the hiatus, I'm snowed under with work at the minute with 3 coursework deadlines next week and 3 more the week after. But here comes the next load of Chaos Analysis posts, hopefully I can get these done before December, the Christmas lights are already being turned on and there's an enormous, fully decorated Christmas tree in the shopping centre. Thank you consumerism.

Anyway, special characters. A lot is currently being said pretty much everywhere about Typhus and his friends. He is far and away the Special Character that I've encountered the most, on 5 occasions to be precise, the only other Special Character that I've seen being Ahriman on 1 occasion. So I'm going to go for something different today. Fabius Bile.

I quite like Fabius, he comes in at 100pts more than a stock Chaos Lord so he's not cheap, but then Special Characters never are, and he's also weighed down with all manner of wargear and special rules.

He does come with Champion of Chaos, so the boon table is open to him, he also comes with Veterans of the Long War as you'd expect which is also a nice touch. What is more useful is that he's Fearless, again this is something that I'll come onto in a second. He doesn't come with a Mark though, and he's also T4 with power armour and no eternal warrior. All of this makes him perfect for putting in a squad. You can confer fearless onto it, he can go into any squad due to his lack of a Mark and in return the squad will keep him from getting punked by missiles every time you put him down on the board.

So what can you do with the squad. Well for a start, Fabius can improve a squad, making them Fearless and giving them a strength boost. I originally thought that this would be nice on the squad that Fabius is with, but I did think that alternatively it could be useful elsewhere. Having Fabius in there makes them Fearless anyway which is kind of a waste. But that Strength bonus is big. However, this can only be used on squads of Chaos Space Marines, so I probably wouldn't bother giving it to another squad. You're either going to be wasting the Fearless or the Strength boost, as even Khorne marines aren't that great charging up by themselves.

Fabius himself is quite beasty in combat though. He has a large number of attacks, is WS5 and is 1 higher strength than usual. He also gets feel no pain which is nice until a Power Fist hits him. Another reason why you want him in a squad, so he can't be challenged out an punched until the Aspiring Champion is gone. He also inflicts instant death, which is nice. However. He doesn't come with any kind of power weapon, which is a huge blow, so he's not great in a challenge. He's probably best for taking out hordes.

He also gets a short ranged poisoned weapon, which wounds easily but everyone bar Orks get their save against it. There are also a respectable number of shots in there.

So, how best to use Fabius. I see 2 options. The first is to put him in a squad of 9 Chaos Space Marines with Mark of Khorne and dual close combat weapons, then buff them with Fabius. Slap them in a Land Raider and smash them across the board. They have enough attacks to be a problem but I think that this is really too many points for what it does.

The second option is to put him in a squad of 20 Chaos Marines, buff them, give them Mark of Khorne and dual close combat weapons and run them across the board. This would take some chewing through and may attract some attention away from Havocs and Obliterators, but again, is this too expensive? All I can say for certain, do not make Fabius your Warlord.

So in all, what do I think of Fabius? I don't think he's terrible at all. But I really think that he's lacking that power weapon, just any anti-save capability whatsoever would make him so much better. As it stands it's so easy to let him challenge you and then when he doesn't kill you hit him with a Thunder Hammer. He has a good statline for combat and FNP is nice but without the ability to cancel out armour saves he just isn't quite worth his points as a beatstick. His force multiplication powers, although nice, are too restrictive and don't make up his points on improving 1 basic troops choice.

I like all of his gimmicks and cool wargear. But honestly, he's overcosted.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Blog Birthday Chaos Marine Analysis - Havocs

Today has some rather special preamble. After 75 posts and almost 3,600 page views this blog turns 1 year old today. But enough of that, I'll write about that after I've got to the topic at hand, so you don't have to wade through it in order to get to the juicy Chaos Analysis. Today's serving, the last of the Heavy Support choices. Havocs. Now, I said that I'd try and keep these posts shorter, but this one is going to be of longer length, for 2 reasons.

1: I think that the Heavy Support slot is one of the most important slots at the minute. 6th edition is a shooting game, and this is where most of the shooting is, so I need to do it justice in finishing, so prepare for mathhammer and in depth analysis here. 2: It's the blog's birthday, and I want to provide a good contrast between the posts now, and the posts last year. So enough rambling, let's get on with it.

Havocs. How is the unit as a whole outside of the context of the force org slot and army? There were 2 things that immediately caught my eye when looking at this entry. The first was that Havocs can take up to 10 men, the second was that they have a lower base cost per model than a Long Fang. I'll break these down a little more.

There is a little bit of a down side to taking more than 5 Havocs, only 4 models per squad can take heavy weapons, so additional models may not take them. This isn't really such a bad thing. Sure, it's nice to have the guns, and so you're probably never going to max out the squad size, but it's nice to have those ablative wounds. I'm going to be comparing the Havocs to Long Fangs a lot here because it's what I know, and what I do is I put the Long Fang pack leader at the front of my squad, just to absorb the first wound for me so that I don't lose a precious Missile the first time I fail a save. Here, you don't need to do that, meaning that you can bury your Aspiring Champion at the back and keep hold of that Ld9. I don't think that a few points away from 15 is too bad to safeguard your heavy weapons. I'd only take 1 or 2 meatshields though.

So, base, they cost less than a Long Fang, and you aren't forced to give them heavy/special weapons. Although not doing so would probably be silly. Now for just shy of 100pts you could take 5 Havocs with Flamers, and lob them up the field in a transport burning things. But that's a pretty fragile unit, and a waste of a Heavy Support choice when other units can do a similar thing, so I wouldn't take the flamer.

The Heavy Bolter works out as making the Havoc wielding it a few points more expensive than a Long Fang, but this is null and void as I don't really rate the Heavy Bolter. Just a quick breakdown of why. Can it hurt vehicles? Anything more heavily armoured than a Rhino, no. and it still needs 6s to glance those. Can it hurt heavy infantry (power armour)? 3 shots, 2 hit, 1.3 wounds. 0.4 go through. Not great either. Hordes. 3 shots, 2 hit, 1.3 wounds vs Orks, 1.6 wounds against Tyranids/ Heavy Bolter. The remaining 28/29 aren't really going to care.

Meltaguns, suffer from the same problem as the Flamers, same with the Plasma gun, you might as well take advantage of those heavy weapons. Then we have the Lascannon, quite a bit cheaper than the Long Fangs equivalent. And considering that I do use Lascannons on my Long Fangs, I'd honestly say that this choice is worth thinking about for some low AP goodness.

I have skipped over a couple of choices here. These are the two that I think are most interesting. The Autocannon and the Missile Launcher. The Missiles on the Havocs essentially provide the best piece of anti-flyer that Chaos have. I'm not going to mention the Heldrake, as that's for frying backfield shooty units and things like that. The only possible anti-flyer on it is the vector strike and giving up the Baleflamer for a twin linked autocannon and a lower BS and that's not particularly fearsome.

What you're essentially getting with the flakk missile is a single shot autocannon with skyfire. So let's compare on a point for point basis which is better overall, the flakk missile launcher, or the autocannon. So, just as a round number, for roughly the same number of points I can get 4 flakk missile launcher toting Havocs and 6 Autocannon Havocs, with the havocs being a bit cheaper. When I say a bit I mean double figures but not enough to get another Havoc in. I know that the squad size and the number of heavy weapon toting models isn't legal but this is just for mathematical purposes. Anyway, prepare yourself for a huge amount of maths.

Autocannon is up first.

Infantry/Monstrous Creatures:

Vs Termagants: 8 hits, 6.6 wounds, 6.6 killed.

Vs Ork boyz: 8 hits, 6.6 wounds, 6.6 killed.

Vs Sisters of Battle: 8 hits, 6.6 wounds, 2.2 killed.

Vs Space Marines: 8 hits, 6.6 wounds, 2.2 killed.

Vs Plague Marines: 8 hits, 6.6 wounds, 1.46 killed.

Vs Wraithguard: 8 hits, 5.3 wounds, 1.77 killed.

Vs Wraithlords: 8 hits, 1.3 wounds, 0.4 wounds removed.


AV10: 8 hits, 1.3 glancing hits, 4 penetrating hits.

AV11: 8 hits, 1.3 glancing hits, 2.7 penetrating hits.

AV12: 8 hits, 1.3 glancing hits, 1.4 penetrating hits.

AV13: 8 hits, 1.3 glancing hits, 0 penetrating hits.

AV14: 8 hits, 0 glancing hits, 0 penetrating hits.

AV10 flyer: 1.3 hits, 0.11 glancing hits, 0.33 penetrating hits.

AV11 flyer: 1.3 hits, 0.11 glancing hits, 0.22 penetrating hits.

AV12 flyer: 1.3 hits, 0.11 glancing hits, 0.11 penetrating hits.

I told you it'd be quite extensive. Missile Launcher up.

Infantry/Monstrous Creatures

Vs Termagants: Assuming 2 hits per blast due to large nature of squad, 8 hits, 5.3 wounds, 5.3 killed.

Vs Ork boyz: Assuming 2 hits per blast due to large nature of squad, 8 hits, 4 wounds, 4 killed.

Vs Sisters of Battle: Krak Missile, 2.6 hits, 2.2 wounds, 1.83 killed (remember shield of faith).

Vs Space Marines: Krak Missiles, 2.6 hits, 2.2 wounds, 2.2 killed.

Vs Plague Marines: Krak Missiles, 2.6 hits, 2.2 wounds, 1.48 killed.

Vs Wraithguard: Krak Missiles, 2.6 hits, 2.2 wounds, 2.2 killed

Vs Wraithlords: Krak Missiles, 2.6 hits, 1.3 wounds, 1.3 wounds removed.


AV10: Krak Missiles, 2.6 hits, 0.43 glancing hits, 1.73 penetrating hits.

AV11: Krak Missiles, 2.6 hits, 0.43 glancing hits, 1.3 penetrating hits.

AV12: Krak Missiles, 2.6 hits, 0.43 glancing hits, 0.87 penetrating hits.

AV13: Krak Missiles, 2.6 hits, 0.43 glancing hits, 0.43 penetrating hits.

AV14: Krak Missiles, 2.6 hits, 0.43 glancing hits, 0 penetrating hits.

AV10 flyer: Flakk Missiles, 2.6 hits, 0.43 glancing hits, 1.3 penetrating hits.

AV11 flyer: Flakk Missiles, 2.6 hits, 0.43 glancing hits, 0.87 penetrating hits.

AV12 flyer: Flakk Missiles, 2.6 hits, 0.43 glancing hits, 0.43 penetrating hits.

They are actually quite evenly matched, they each beat each other on stats against each of the variables mentioned an equal number of times. The only slight subjective result being the AV13 ground targets, which I gave to the Autocannon. The Autocannons will remove more hull points but the Missiles are more likely to get penetrating hits. All in all, the Autocannon is more effective up to the points where you reach Marines then the start to balance out and the tougher you get the bigger the lead Missiles get.

So, if you know that you're going against durable troops and vehicles with flyers, take the Missiles. If not go for the Autocannons. But I'm not going to leave that there. The conclusion should not be on a tailoring method for which weapon to take. Both units have their benefits, but of the two, I'd take Autocannons. Yes the Missile Launchers have duality and can hurt anything to some degree but every time you lose when that's quite a lot of points, so you'll want to then add a lot of extra men to the squad to eat bullets.

Plus, if you end up facing an army that maybe you're Missile Launchers are not so effective against, you'll have a lot of points standing around not fulfilling their full potential, whereas if the Autocannons are not fulfilling their potential at least you haven't pumped a huge amount of points into them. You could say that there'll always be something that the Missiles can hurt but that's not the case with Autocannons, but I'd disagree, so long as your opponent's army does not consist solely of AV14, then they can at least do something, however minimal.

I'm going to quickly round this part of the post off, because it's 2:00am, meaning that technically this blog was 1 year old yesterday, but it doesn't matter because this'll show up as posted on the 13th because the blog's clock is messed up. But anyway, the rest of the wargear.

Close combat weapons. No, they aren't going to end up in combat often enough to justify this points cost.

Special Weapons on the Champion. No, they're short ranged and he's not going to get to use them.

Gift of mutation. Fun, but random so from a competitive standpoint those points want to be going into reliable upgrades.

Melta Bombs on the Champion. Never going to use them, no.

Marks: Khorne, no, for the same reasons as the close combat weapons. Tzeentch, no, doesn't really do much for the Havocs. Nurgle, maybe, T5 Havocs are going to be tough to shift. Slaanesh, no, for the same reason as the Khorne Mark, which is odd as they hate each other.

Icons. I wouldn't take them, you don't want to make these squads too expensive.

Veterans of the Long War. Yes, it's really cheap on this squad and it's a good safeguard against running away.

That last bit was quick, but now down to the big question. Are they the best shooty choice in the Heavy Support section. Right now, I'm going to have to say yes, simply because of their low points cost, and they can keep using the same weapon twice in a row, so you don't have an Obliterator moment of, 'oh, if only I had fired a different weapon last turn'. However, that's not to say that Obliterators are bad. At the minute, I'm thinking that if you really want to load out on the shooting go for 1 squad of Havocs with Autocannons, 1 with Missiles with Flakk and 1 squad of Obliterators, pending playtesting.

That's all for the Heavy Support section, which means that now all that is left are the Special Characters and the Elites choices (I say all). So, I'll try and get down to that as soon as possible. Hopefully tomorrow/today. On to the blog reminiscing!

PS. If any of the maths are wrong please notify me, I'm currently brain fried right now and I'd like to look like a guy who can't count for the least possible amount of time. Thanks in advance.

There were a few main reasons for me getting into blogging. One of them was as kind of a trail that I left that I could look back on as I delved into the hobby, with the terrible post titles and the rather egotistical battle reports. This was mainly spurred on by the fact that I had attended my first tournament a couple of months previously.

A year later, I have attended 3 more tournaments, including my first doubles, and am really enjoying them, with my 5th tourney and 2nd Throne of Skulls coming up in January. I'm also partaking in a league now, which is something that I hadn't really considered before, and although we're only 2 games in I'm quite pleased with my performance thus far. All I can say is that without all of the support that this blog has received in the past year, I probably wouldn't have been as motivated to delve as deeply into the hobby as I have done.

So incoming nostalgia, I'd especially like to thank all of the Overlords forumites that created, signed up to, and allowed me to partake in the blogroll. It has really helped this blog to grow and has shown me some more great blogs to read. I would seriously recommend checking them out, I read them all and they all put out fantastic content. You can find them on the right hand side of the page under the title of 'Underlings Blog List' or something along those lines, you may have to scroll up a bit though, I'm approaching 2,500 words in this post right now. Matt from Power Armoured Metal has been a big help in recent weeks too, his blog is on the right hand side of the page at the top. Another quality blog there.

The final point is where do I see this blog going? Now although I do like to talk about myself, and chronicle my journey through the hobby, I'm trying to cut back on that. What I'm planning on doing is just a quick summary of recent happenings at the top of posts when I have something to say, but these will not be the main focus. Instead, the focus of this blog is going to be producing content that you will hopefully find interesting.

A good example of this is the Chaos Analysis series, which is something that everyone in 40k could find useful rather than just being me rambling on about my experience which, I now understand is not very interesting. On a selfish point for this, I actually find it really useful to do these unit breakdowns. It gets me thinking in depth about individual units and how I can see them working on the tabletop, and helps to give me a better grasp on the army. Here's an example; since the Chaos Codex came out, I have played 10 games against it. I have won 8 of them, lost 1 and drawn the remainder. A record I'm quite pleased with. I'm not keeping count, I just remember these things.

Anyway, last thing, I'd also like to thank everyone that reads this blog for their continued motivation and support. Without you reading this, I probably wouldn't still be posting. Thanks again.

1 and a half hours and 2430 words. 2:20am at the time that I finished writing. Still, I have a day off tomorrow.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Chaos Marine Analysis - Land Raider

Bit of a bumper post for you today, and another one tomorrow. Today I'm going to be talking about something which I think is important in the Chaos Marine book, in the form of the Chaos Land Raider. But first, my preamble.

I played my second game in the Oxford Gaming Club 40k league, and like my first game, it was against Chaos Space Marines. 10 out of my last 11 singles games have been against CSM now, so I'm getting to know the book quite well. 2 stand out points for this game though. I got to seem a Daemons ally with them that wasn't Nurgle based, another Tzeentch army here. So there were Flamers, and there were Screamers. The second point of interest is that I had a major brain fart at the start of objective deployment (5 objectives, big guns never tire), and thinking that I was deploying next to where I was standing, I started loading my opponent's side of the board with objectives. Well done me.

Therefore, I had an uphill battle. I deployed aggressively, with my opponent going reserve heavy, and went to smash him off his objectives. The pivotal moment of the game however was the Daemon contingent failing, the flamers only managed to kill 2 Grey Hunters from my Warlord's squad so they, along with a herald of Tzeentch and the Screamers, tried to charge in. The Screamers failed their charge, allowing the Grey Hunters to knock the Flamers about before unleashing a wave of Bolter fire upon the Screamers, keeping the Warlord alive and securing an objective. The game finished with me tabling my opponent on turn 6. He was really cool about it despite the fact that his victory points difference (like goal difference) had now been ruined, as when I tabled him I was holding 4 objectives, and had all of the secondary objectives, as well as the points that I gained from killing his 3 squads of Obliterators. 18-1.

Now Land Raider, I'll quickly jump through the upgrades.

Dirge Casters, yes. As an assault vehicle it's going to want to be up in your opponent's business. Take them. Dozer Blade, sure. As some defence against terrain, why not? I'd take this too. You don't want 400pts immobilised in the middle of the field.

Warpflame Gargoyles. If you have 5pts to spare, go for it, but it won't make much difference. Combi-weapons. Leave these alone, we don't want to be piling more points than we need to in here just because it's already expensive.

Extra Armour. I think you'll be fine without it. Havoc Launcher. You could do, but remember that the primary objective is to transport a nasty close combat unit. Destroyer Blades. I would, but I'm bias. It gives your Land Raider something to do once it's cargo has been unleashed. Daemonic Possession. Not really worth its points in my opinion.

There, told you that would be quick.

Overall, I would say that the Chaos Codex is more close combat orientated than ranged orientated. Therefore, they need ways of getting into combat quickly and safely, which is difficult when there aren't really any assault vehicles. Therefore, if you have a unit that you really want to get into combat safely, like a hammer unit, then the Land Raider is the ideal solution. This is exactly like it is for a normal Marine Codex, simply because you aren't going to be using this for any random unit to get into combat.

When I've finished doing the individual unit analysis, I'm going to be writing some Chaos lists. One of them is going to be a tri-Land Raider list, just to see what it would look like and whether I think that it'd be any good.

I think that the only problem with the Chaos Land Raider is the transport capacity, which is the same as a Rhino. Remembering that Terminators are bulky, you can't really get a proper hammer unit into the Land Raider, especially when a lot of the Chaos units rely on larger squad sizes for their hitting power. I think that this might be a solution for units like chosen,, but I'll come onto which units would find the Land Raider useful when I get to them.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Chaos Marine Analysis - Predator and Vindicator

The pre-rambling shall be quick today. I went out food shopping this morning and came back with this.

What it is is a limited edition GW dice shaker. Ok, it sounds tacky, but it was only £4 and when you have as many dice as I do accumulated through 5th edition, the board becomes so covered in them that you need to spread a big space to roll dice in, so I'm going to be using this to keep all of my dice in during games. Plus it's pretty good for keeping my pens, etc in. It's veneered leather on the outside and fabric on the inside, although it's mainly block is plastic. Still, it looks quite nice.

Anyway, I need to get some more Heavy Support done, so here come 2 in one post. I'm putting these two together because they're very similar to the Predator and Vindicator that we already know. So I'm going to run through the Chaos upgrades that they can take and judge how useful they are on the units rather than the units as a whole.

Combi-Bolter. I really think that this is an insignificant upgrade. If you have 5pts spare, fine, why not? But really I don't think that it'll have a great effect. I can see this more on the Vindicator than the Predator, simply because it matches the range of the Demolisher Cannon, and might mop up a 1 that you rolled when wounding with the main gun. Actually, I think that this weapon is worth taking, especially on the Vindicator, just as some defence against weapon destroyed results. The reason you take a Vindicator is for that cannon, if you lose it you've lost the primary use of your Vindicator, so for 5pts I'd say that it's worth it.

The same can't be said for the Dirge Caster. Both of these vehicles are probably going to be sitting back and shooting, especially the Predator, and you don't want to get your Vindicator too close either, so you aren't going to be close enough to enemy units a lot of the time to get the effects of Dirge Casters of.

The Dozer Blade might be useful on the Vindicator due to it's tendency to move around a lot, but then for 5pts more you can get a Siege Shield. That said, I think that the Dozer Blade is probably the better option as what are the odds that you'll fail more than one Dangerous Terrain check?

Warpflame Gargoyles, no on the Vindicator, you'll be causing enough damage anyway. No on the Predator too, a lot of the time you'll be shooting light armour with that, so these aren't great, and when shooting at infantry, anything that is particularly effected by the Autocannon is likely to be horde-like in nature (4+ save or worse), and so Warpflame Gargoyles won't do much. Although for 5pts it isn't bad.

Combi-weapons are a no too, they're ok I suppose, but I wouldn't take them, more points to spend elsewhere. The flamer is too short ranged for these, I'm only likely to get 1 shot off the plasma at non rapid-fire and I wouldn't say that's worth 10pts and the Melta suffers from the same problem as the flamer.

Extra armour isn't that great anymore on any vehicles because you're more fussed about the loss of the hull points and if you've suffered that result your vehicle is likely to be in trouble anyway whether you get that more or not.

The Havoc Launcher might be ok, I think that it's a good upgrade on most vehicles. I think that it depends on what you want your vehicle for. The Predator is for light armour, the Havoc Launcher is not useful here. The Vindicator smashes heavy infantry, the Havoc Launcher won't really help here. Leave this upgrade for the Rhinos.

Destroyer Blades. Yes I love this upgrade, but I'm not going to be running over infantry very often with either of these vehicles, so why bother? Especially at that points cost.

I'd also say that Daemonic possession isn't worth it. I don't think that you want to be taking anything that will be decreasing your shooting effectiveness here. They're both durable anyway with that AV13 and at the same points cost as the Destroyer Blades but with the addition of making your shooting less effective.

So in short, I'd give your Predators and Vindicators the Combi-Bolter as some insurance against losing your main gun, but that is all.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Chaos Marine Analysis - Maulerfiend

Before I jump into the post, my desire to talk about myself has caught up with me. I've got my Vendetta repaired, and got a chance to use my new toy in a game today. I'll keep this brief. I played 2,000pts against Vanilla Space Marines, so I took my current 1,500pt list and threw some Wolf Scouts, a Dreadnought, a couple more Grey Hunters and my Thunderwolves in there, without any real thought just a chance to play with my cool toys.

In a drastic contrast to previous experience, I was really pleased with my Thunderwolves today, although the Storm Shield toting ones didn't do much, the Power Fist did, it's nice having a fast Fist. Here is a list of the things that he brutally punched to death.

Turn 1: Dreadnought
Turn 2: Vindicator
Turn 3: Drop Pod
Turn 4: Stormtalon
Turn 5: Killed by Terminators

The Terminators in question were pretty much the King of Hammer units. 10 of them, a couple with Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields to sit at the front and take my Lascannons. In the squad there was also a Chaplain, making them fearless and giving them re-rolls, as well as providing them with an additional 3++, apparently the Iron Halo stacks with his Terminator Armour, and a Librarian, which managed to get the Invisibility rulebook psychic power, which was frustrating, and somehow they also all ended up with Feel No Pain. To cap this all off, they were embedded in a 14 all-round vehicle with Ceramite plating, quad-linked Lascannons and 5 Hull Points. The Spartan Land Raider.

Either way, this was a fun game and although only 4 Terminators including the sergeant, Libby and Chaplain made it to my lines, it was still enough, and it finished at the end of turn 7 with my opponent taking it 11-8. But anyway, Maulerfiend.

In a vacuum, I really like the Maulerfiend. It comes in at 50pts less than a Forgefiend, whilst maintaining it's durability. Fleet is actually useful on this thing too. It's devilishly fast. It moves 12” in the movement phase and is unaffected by difficult terrain. It also has a +1 to the building damage table too.

Essentially, it will absolutely wreck anything with an armour value, so long as it hits, it also gets what is essentially an automatic hit with a meltagun. If it hits with everything, this doubles. Nasty. It only has 3 attacks after taking its close combat weapons into account, so I wouldn't recommend using it to chomp on infantry, but get into combat with another unit with an armour value and it will rip it apart.

I can only see 2 problems with it though. The first is the availability of useful targets. On the Fortifications front, I have not seen a single Bastion or Fortress of Redemption since Throne of Skulls in July, they are essentially death traps, if you're inside it when it wrecks, you're in deep trouble. That just leaves the Aegis Defence Line and the Skyshield, both of which are indestructible, and I have seen these around. Therefore, opportunities to smash up buildings with your Maulerfiend are going to be limited at best.

Coming onto other vehicles, the 2 types that I am seeing at the minute are Battle Tanks and Flyers, both of which are going to be extremely difficult for your Maulerfiend to get at in most cases. Flyers for the obvious reasons, and your opponent would be foolish to hover his flyer near your Maulerfiend unless he/she really needs to. Battle Tanks, are also going to be buried inside your opponents army, especially if there's a Maulerfiend around. They typically have long range weaponary, meaning that they don't need to get close to you, so your opponent will just bubble wrap their vehicles with infantry, presenting a wall of squishiness that your Maulerfiend will struggle to break through.

That said, I think that the second reason is the most important, and probably why I don't think that many of these are going to be seen unfortunately.

On the Overlords Facebook group, there is an interesting topic regarding, 'how do you build your lists?' During 5th edition, I always liked to keep a strong firebase, just so that I'd always be able to reach out and hurt something, and preventing armies like Dark Eldar from just flying away from my Orks taking shots at them. I believe that this has become even more important in 6th, with 40k being much more of a shooting game now.

So, you're going to need some firepower. And where can the Chaos Codexes big guns be found? In the Heavy Support slots, meaning that these slots are going to be needed for giving your army some long range support, and unfortunately every other unit in this slot shoots better than a Maulerfiend. I like it, I really do, I definitely don't think that it's bad for it's points, but when looking at it's competition, and what kind of a role these force organisation slots need to fill, I'm not sure that it'll get a look in.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Chaos Marine Analysis - Forgefiend

It's Wednesday Night / Thursday Morning. It's 1:30am, we all know what that means. Time to write a semi-coherent blog post. These late nights seem to have effected me a little. At 3:00am on Tuesday I woke up and accidentally read my clock as 9:20. Thinking that I was late to my lecture I got ready as quickly as I could, threw on some clothes and chucked/put my Ipad, pens, etc into my bag, before legging it out of the door. It took a while for my to clock that it was dark.

Therefore, in this less than optimum state, I have decided that I am going to be analysing an easier unit today. I had considered doing either the Havocs or the Land Raider, but I think that both of these units are going to require some heavy analysing, for reasons which I shall go into when I get to them. Therefore, today's post is on the Forgefiend.

Weighing in at 20pts less than a Defiler, at the same cost as a Doomsday Ark, it's quite a chunk of points. Especially considering how long it's going to be on the board for. Yes it does have 'it will not die' and a 5++ save but it's also the size of a Tervigon so hiding it is going to be tricky, and when you get down to its armour values it's ok but not fantastic, essentially armour 12 with 3 hull points.

The question of its durability becomes even more of a problem when you start to think about how big a target is going to be pasted on top of this thing. Yes, it's only BS3, but honestly, my Ork player is coming out here and saying that enough Dakka can often offset crappy BS, and it's these guns that make the Forgefiend such a big target.

The first choice that it gets is a modified Autocannon, known as the Hades. It has a shorter range, but +1S, double the shots and pinning. Ouch. So you;re churning out 8 S8 pinning shots per turn. The range is annoying, in a static shooting unit I like to be able to sit back and throw shots into the distance but 36" is ok. Although you can always just move.

The second option is a pair of Ectoplasm cannons. Again, modified Plasma Cannons. -12" and +1S. If you're looking to kill Paladins, this could be the trick with this Codex. You can then take a third one for an additional 1/7 of the Forgefiend's cost, but remember that they get, so you could hurt yourself.

I think that even with the BS3 both of these weapons are brutal, and although the Forgefiend has decent armour, with so much painful weaponary it's going to attract attention. I like the Forgefiend, I don't think that it's terrible at all. But unfortunately, I think that it's going to be one of those units that is most effective when you take multiples of it, to give some target differenciation.

1 Forgefiend isn't a problem as I can just shoot it down, it might take a few hits but what else does my anti-tank have to fire at. However, 2 Forgefiend's is going to be a difficult nut to crack and although you might end up losing one the other is going to get full usage, and the other is still going to get some. But then, is this really worth that many points?

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Chaos Marine Analysis - Defiler

I have been trying to be positive about every unit in the Chaos Space Marines Codex, not focussing on what it can't do but trying to focus on what it can do. However, I'm afraid that the incoming post is going to be a bit more negative. It's not that I think that this unit is the worst in the world, not at all, but I do think that it's not very good and the insistence of some of my friends that the Defiler is the definition of awesome has annoyed me to some degree. So, here we go.

In comparison to its last incarnation, the Defiler has increased in points. Now it is just shy of 200pts. So what do you get for these extra points. Well, now you get a 5++ save, 'It will not die' and Daemonforge. So essentially, it has been made more durable. But is it really worth it. I would argue that the previous Defiler was better.

The reason being that it was durable enough as it was anyway, it was a tough old thing, so adding more durability to it is on the point of overkill (or overlife). I would say that it is to such a point that the Defiler will struggle to make its points back. You are now paying almost 200pts for a Battlecannon that's going to be sticking around for a while. Are you going to kill 200pts of models with that.

Now I've also seen people argue duality, saying that the Defiler can shoot well and do combat well. But can it really do either well enough to justify it's cost? It doesn't matter how durable something is, if it can't dish out the damage you're not going to win. Now you could always just say tarpit units but at least they free up your more deadly units to do some damage, so the technically are helping doing some damage, and minimising it to your more valuable units.

So, does either the Defilers shooting or combat capabilities allow it to do enough damage to make it worth it. Let's start with combat. It has 2 Power Fists and 2 Attacks. So 3 base due to the dual combat weapons. So at most I'm going to lose 3 models a turn, and that's if you get lucky with your WS3. I'm going to use an example from my own experience, in the times of the old Chaos Codex I was playing in the Steel City Wargaming – Tournament of War (there's a post about it under tournament reports). In my last game 6 Grey Hunters tied up a defiler for about 5 player turns, ultimately winning me the game by a pretty convincing margin. The fact that it took the Defiler so long to chew through those shows that it isn't great in combat. That is half the game assuming a turn 5 ending.

So, is its shooting ability any better? Well it's BS3, fantastic, and although one big S8 power armour chewing template does look good, if you think about, you can take a better armoured alternative in the form of the Leman Russ Battle Tank through allies, which is 45pts cheaper than the Defiler. Plus, I can always use cover to at least get a save from that thing, if it uses it's longer range of 72” it's probably shooting at my Long Fangs and if I know there is an AP3 Large Blast template on the table I'm going to put them in cover, it's that straight forward.

So, let's just do a straight up comparison to the other Heavy Support choice that I've been through so far. For 15pts more, I can have 3 base Obliterators. On durability, both are really durable, a 12 armour vehicle (meh) with 4 Hull points (sweet) vs 3 T4 Ld8 models (meh) with a 2+ save and 2 wounds a piece (sweet). So how much damage do they put out, let's just assume Plasma Cannons for the Obliterators. Would you prefer to have 3 S7 AP2 blasts at BS4 or 1 S8 AP3 large blast at BS3. I know which one I'd go for.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Chaos Marine Analysis - Obliterators

I've decided that I really need to get moving with the Chaos breakdowns. Out of the 37 units in the Codex I've done 13 of them. At this rate I'll be done by the time Dark Angels drops.

So I'd better get on with it then. Obliterators have taken a bit of a hit through the Codex transition. The most notable downgrades are twofold. The first is that they're no longer Fearless, which is irritating, as they're only Ld8 base, and losing a model will always mean taking a leadership check, unless there's only 1 guy in the squad.

The second hit being that now you can't use the same weapon on your Obliterators twice in a row, so no hurling Plasma Cannon blast after Plasma Cannon blast down the table.

However, there have been a couple of plus points too. Obliterators are now 5pts cheaper than they used to be, but that's going to go straight out the window as the part of the post where I talk about the upgrades is going to be something other than just saying 'no'.

Obliterators can take Marks now. Starting with Mark of Khorne, it's pretty expensive, 1pt less than melta bombs on an Aspiring Champion. I don't really see you using this. If you're looking for a close combat unit then there are better options out there than Obliterators. Sure, they're 2 wound models with 2 attacks base and a Power Fist, but the best thing to kill an Obliterator with is another Power Fist in combat, cancelling out their main save and doubling them out. This one is a no.

Mark of Tzeentch is twice as expensive as Mark of Khorne, but it's actually useful. Giving your Obliterators a 4++ (invulnerable) save. I think that this is a good upgrade, but I just think that it's a bit more than I'd want to spend on a 4+ save when I already have a 5++ and a 2+ armour which isn't cancelled out too often. No, but better than Khorne.

Half way between Khorne and Tzeentch in points is Nurgle. What it does is gives you a +1 to your toughness, and I think that this is 'the money mark'. The simple reason for this is that you are really reducing your chances to get doubled out. Most of the AP1 and 2 weapons around will generally double out T4 models, but not T5, like Melta weapons, Lascannons, etc. The only weapon that I can think of that I see reasonably often that is also S10 and AP2 or better is the demolisher cannon, which isn't particularly long ranged, giving you a chance to bring the offending vehicle down before it gets in range. So, this Mark is definitely worth its points, and definitely better than the previous ones.

There's a reason why the Mark of Slaanesh is so much cheaper on Obliterators, it's terrible. It's ¼ of the cost of the Mark of Khorne, and considering that your Obliterators all have Power Fists, isn't very useful. The only benefit that I can think to it is that it makes it easier to pass initiative tests such as ones caused by Jaws of the World Wolf. Even if you're playing against Wolves, Nurgle is still better, as it gives you some insurance for when you fail saves against all of those S8 weapons.

The final upgrade is also a very important one. Veterans of the Long War. It's cheaper than Mark of Khorne, and although that Hatred Marines is nice, you really take it for that +1 to your Leadership, the last thing you want is a 200pt squad running off the board because it's only Ld8.

Overall, I still think that Obliterators are still a good unit, whether they still hold the top slot in the Heavy Support options is yet to be seen, but I reckon that they'll be up there.

I'm done for tonight, it's 1:00am. I'll be back again tomorrow / today.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Chaos Marine Analysis - Warp Talons

I'm going to close out the Fast Attack analysis today, and I'm going to do it with what is probably the easiest unit to describe. Warp Talons.

I really want to like the Warp Talons, I really do. But I don't. I love the models again, and I'm probably going to get some for my Word Bearers anyway though. My plan for them now is to make a 600pt brick of a competitive force to take to doubles tournament and then just fill in around that with cool units to make a 1,500pt list.

But back to business. Warp Talons are nearly double the cost of a Raptor. So what's the difference. Well, there's 2. The first is that they get a special rule called Warpflame Strike, meaning that they blind all units within 6” of their position. Now some have said that this is a useful ability. I don't really think it's very good. First off, in order to use this rule you have to deep strike, which you may not even want to do a lot of the time. Secondly, even if you do deep strike, you need to hope that you don't scatter whilst deep striking within 6” of an enemy unit. I think that it's very restrictive for not much benefit.

The second difference is that they come with dual Lightning Claws as basic. Which means that they're going to be absolutely brutal against standard marines. But at 30pts a model, you really should expect that. Upgrades.

There aren't many, so they are made for one purpose and one purpose only, to punch MEQs. They have absolutely no capacity to take out vehicles, and they don't really have enough attacks to deal with hordes either. They have the same statline as a Raptor.

Anyway, you can take up to 10 in a squad, upgrading from 5. I really wouldn't do this. They're expensive enough as it is, plus they'll do they're job well enough as it is, adding more is overkill. The Champion can also take Gift of Mutation. I'm just going to repeat my verdict on this from previous posts. Fun – yes, competitive – no.

Marks. They get even more expensive with the transition between Warp Talons and Raptors. I stand by my point with the Raptors, only here Slaanesh is individually the least expensive Mark in points terms, and it's probably the most useful too. Finally, Veterans of the Long War. I would consider this a must take on this unit, for 2 reasons. The first is that the Hatred allows them to do their job much better, but the main reason is again the leadership buff. For an expensive unit, their leadership is poor. 8, with the Champion being 9. I would say that 10pts for a 5 model unit is very much worth taking to help with this.

In short, my conclusion is that Warp Talons are tooled out and way more overcosted Raptors. A cool unit, but not great in rules terms.

So, to conclude the fast attack slots, how would I rank the units. Well starting from the top, with 1 being the best unit and 5 being the worst. Just a quick ranking. If you'd like detail on each of the other units, please take a look at my other Chaos Marine Analysis – Fast Attack posts.
  1. Chaos Spawn
  1. Chaos Bikers
  1. Heldrake
  1. Raptors
  1. Warp Talons
The next slot that I'm going to cover is the Heavy Support slot, make sure to look out for that tomorrow.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Chaos Marine Analysis - Raptors

Just as a quick supplement to the Invasion tournament report, I've just seen the final scores for the event. It looks like my team drew with the winning team on points for both games and painting, meaning that the winner was determined on a dice roll (1-3 this team, 4-6 that team), which we lost. Balls.

But anyway, sorry for the lack of Chaos posts recently, I got distracted by my shiny new toys.

I only just discovered that my local WHSmiths not only sells White Dwarf, but also Wargames Illustrated, Toy Soldier, and other tabletop wargaming magazines. They also sell Settlers of Catan and the Discworld 'Ankh Morpork (sp?)' board game. You know you're in Oxford.

Anyway, I spent the last day or so assembling my £56 Vendetta, and then on its first outing it fell off the table during an Apocalypse game smashing into many many pieces. Anyway, long story short tomorrow I'm going to spend a further £4 on some new glue because after nearly 10 years in the hobby I am fed up with GW's glue, it's more expensive and it stretches the definition of glue to the limit. The irony being that the glue in question was a replacement to the glue that I brought back to my GW when they released the dodgy batch. In my opinion, they're all dopey batches.

But anyway, back to Chaos. I'm hoping to have Fast Attack done with by the end of tomorrow, although as it's 20 to midnight while I write this tomorrow may turn into today, so stay tuned for that. Raptors.
Well, I think that I can safely say that these guys are better than they were in the last Codex. For a start, I really like their new models. Secondly, I don't think that they're priced too badly. 4Pts more expensive than a standard Chaos Marine, and for that you lose your bolter but you gain a free close combat weapon, a jump pack and fear (which isn't much, highly situational and won't help against most units that you would need it against).

A further thing that I like about the Raptors is the ability to take them in squads of 15. I think that this is really starting to become a common theme across the Chaos Space Marine Codex, every power armoured unit that you get has the ability to come in large blocks. Essentially though, they are still Chaotic assault marines, although you can probably pile on enough attacks on the charge to make up for the lack of power weapons (46 inc Champion).

Running through the wargear. Plasma Pistol, no, I could nearly get another raptor for that. Flamer, no, at that range I am getting enough S4 hits anyway. Meltagun, meh, why not, although I'm sure there'd be some better anti-tank in here somewhere, if you're looking for small, fast tank hunting, semi-suicide squads why not, they'll die the moment they pop something.

Plasma gun, better than a plasma pistol, and same cost, but still no. Melee weapons on Champion, why not more attacks, he'll be in challenges most of the time anyway. If you're really feeling it go for a power weapon. Gift of Mutation, for the fun why not, but I wouldn't. Melta bombs on the Champion, yes. Gives you the ability to at least damage vehicles in combat giving you more versatility, and 5pts too, sweet.

Marks, go with Mark of Slaanesh if you want one. Cheapest of the Marks and FNP, although it bumps their cost to almost 20pts per model. Icons, they're fine, but I personally don't like the idea of pumping too many upgrades into this squad. The fearless icon is Ok, but I would probably take Veterans of the Long War instead. LD10 should do the trick.

Overall, I think that Raptors are one of those 'not bad units', if you're on a board with lots of cover, so you can hop about avoiding fire and jumping out on enemies like I've seen Hellions do. This works especially well considering that you get your 3+ against dangerous terrain now. But to be honest, in a slot that also contains Spawn, Bikers and your only flyer (my gaming club in Sheffield's Facebook page has gone crazy about whether the Heldrake is any good or not), I don't think that, 'not bad' cuts it.