Friday, 21 December 2012

Chaos Marine Analysis - Chaos Terminators

With Abaddon being done a few days back the HQ section has been concluded, meaning that it is now time to move on to the final section of the Codex, of which there are only four units remaining: Possessed, Terminators, Mutilators and Helbrutes. Unfortunately, at a glance this section looks like a bastion of negativity, but I suppose my opinion could change when I go into a bit more depth.

I decided the topic of today's post on a dice roll. Terminators it is.

Since the release of the book I've seen a bit of Chaos Terminator hate around, not too much, but it's there. To be honest, I don't think that they're that bad. Comparing them to what I know, a Wolf Guard kitted out in exactly the same way as a base Chaos Terminator costs 2pts more.

So jumping into loadouts. You obviously come with a Power Weapon as base. This post could be a little long, as there are quite a lot of options for these guys, but to be honest this blog needs a long post after a week of silence.

So, power weapons. You could take the sword, who's unique selling point is letting you keep your initiative and still have an anti-MEQ AP. You could take the Axe, which brings you back to the point in 5th where power weapons would hurt Terminators and their equivalents, as well as giving you +1 strength, although you do lose your initiative. You could take the stave, which lets you keep your initiative and lets you strike at S6, although your AP isn't great.

I would probably go with the Axe. Simply because anything that will really hurt you will be striking at I1 anyway. By this, I mean that the vast majority of AP2 close combat weapons also strike at I1, Power and Chainfists, Thunder Hammers and Power/Force Axes all strike at I1, anything that is striking before you is probably going to be striking at AP3 or worse, like the Power Sword, and although chucking a boatload of attacks at your Terminators will probably hurt, for the most part you won't care too much about it, as you only have a 1/6 chance of dying to each wound caused. Therefore, you're going to be striking most of the time anyway despite your low initiative simply because you aren't going to take much damage before striking.

Moving on. You can take a plethora of other special close combat weapons too. By making your Terminator almost 35pts you can give him a Lightning Claw, which, although is nice, when you take initiative out of the question due to your durability, I'd prefer have +1S and anti-TEQ weaponry for cheaper as oppose to re-rolls to hit and purely anti-MEQ weaponry.

Chaos Terminators do have the ability to get fists at a decent cost though. A Chaos Terminator with a Power Fist still weighs in at under 40pts. However, I still probably wouldn't take a Power Fist. The difference between a Power Fist and a Power Axe when hitting a benchmark tac marine in combat is that 1 wounds on 3s and the other wounds on 2s but is much more expensive. Other than that, you have the potential to cause instant death with a Power Fist, but this isn't going to occur very often.

Your Terminators aren't characters, so they aren't going to be involved on 1 vs 1 bouts with opposing characters, meaning that they can often take their opponent down through weight of AP2 attacks. Your Champion will have to challenge in the first round, tying the multi-wound model up whilst your Terminators deal with his friends, and then once your Champion has been killed more attacks are going to be allocated to the opposing character. Not much can stand up to Terminators in combat nowadays other than other Terminators.

A word of caution here though. Terminators from any other Marine Codex have the option to take Storm Shields, yours do not. Therefore, in a slug fest with another squad your Terminators are going to be in trouble, so try to soften up the opposing squad before getting stuck in. Or just try to avoid the opposing squad, which will be difficult if, for example, there's a librarian with Gate of Infinity in there.

But anyway, back to Power Fists. You could take a couple of them in the squad just for a little bit of heavy hitting, but I wouldn't go overboard.

When I first saw the Chainfist however I was quite tempted to take this instead. It's only 5pts more than a Power Fist and it comes with that excellent anti-vehicle capability. But at the end of the day, and when I started to think about it a little more, how many vehicles are you going to get into combat with. As I've said in previous posts, at the minute the only vehicles that we're seeing a backline shooty vehicles and flyers. Now, you can't hit the flyers, but maybe you can get back and wreck some vehicles, deep striking in and punching a Manticore or something.

The only problem with this is that if you're against an opponent that knows what they're doing they're going to bubble wrap their vehicles. By this I mean place a squad of infantry around the vehicle so that if you want to hit it you'll have to get through them first, essentially giving your opponent an extra turn of shooting at your Terminators and a good opportunity to move the vehicle in question away. Putting pain to my idea of getting a small squad of 3 Terminators to deep strike behind enemy lines with a Chainfist and Mark of Tzeentch, the Chainfist at the back whilst the bare models take the hits before they charge in and wreck a vehicle, for almost 125pts.

Whilst I've mentioned Mark of Tzeentch it's probably a good idea to move onto the Marks now. The cheapest Mark is once again Khorne, which isn't bad really as you're going to want to get this unit into combat but you're really going to want to make your Terminators as durable as possible, they're already pretty durable but you can really sap some fire with other Marks. Mark of Slaanesh is not one of these Marks. As you're going to want to be taking unwieldy weapons anyway the initiative bonus isn't helpful. Access to the Icon of Excess is good, but extremely spendy.

So, Tzeentch and Nurgle. I like the former, as what it essentially does is increase your invulnerable save to a 4+, making up for the lack of being able to take a Storm Shield as best it can. Mark of Nurgle's pretty good too, the +1 to toughness is really helpful, but anything that is going to worry you, i.e. AP2 or better weaponry, is usually going to be S7+ anyway, ignoring your T5. Therefore, I'd take Mark of Tzeentch to sure you up a bit more against those low AP hits.

Finishing up on Icons as well, the Icon of Vengeance is extremely useful, the last thing that you want is your expensive squad of Terminators running at the wrong moment, or running at all for that matter. The key word there is expensive. If you're taking a small squad of Terminators, which you have the option to do with the squad size being between 3 and 10, then I wouldn't bother, as the icon is quite spendy and with a small squad quite easy to snipe out. With a bigger squad it's much more worthwhile taking the insurance as the consequences of not could be disastrous, plus it is easier to hide in a squad.

To finish off the wargear, section of this post are the shooting weapons. i.e. The combi-weapons. These only cost 5pts each, and can be pretty effective. For an extra 50pts on my enormous hammer unit of Terminators I can hurl out 20 S7 AP2 shots at BS4. That ought to soften up those TH SS Terminators a bit. But where I'm seeing this again is in a deep striking anti-vehicular squad. Deep striking 3 Terminators completely bare apart from these combi-weapons, coming in at just over 100pts. Sure your opponent is going to bubble wrap and sure he'll have a cover save but even after that and rolling to hit and penetrate you're still odds on to get at least 1 penetrating hit with an AP1 weapon. Add to that the firepower that you're likely to soak up as your opponent tries to prevent you from scoring linebreaker and that's a pretty nifty little unit.

Yes your opponent could bubble wrap heavily to try and stop you from deep striking within 6” and yes you could scatter but you're either still durable enough to walk back into range from the next shooting turn if your opponent doesn't fully commit, making them an excellent distraction, or your opponent will have to commit lots of bodies to simply preventing this cheap squad from getting close to his or her vehicles. That's not bad at all.

If you're looking to run them as a hammer there are a couple of things that you can do. To get them into combat. You can obviously run them in a Land Raider, or you can take advantage of their ability to deep strike. So they're going to get into combat a little more quickly than other units. This does restrict which special character you can put in there though but that doesn't really matter, it's not like you're going to put Kharn in there as he'll just chop up your own dudes.

Anyway, I'm tired, and confronted with a lot of painting to do and a lot of bits to list on eBay, so this is going to be left here. Plus I'm on there 3rd page of open office. Until next time.

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