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.


  1. Thanks for sharing, I will bookmark and be back again.

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  2. Thanks, always good to hear nice things.