Friday, 20 September 2013

Champions of Chaos - What's the problem?

Certainly in the gaming groups that I play in, one of the most complained about thing by other Chaos Players is the Champions of Chaos special rule. This is a rule that is given to all characters, and it has 2 effects. Firstly, you must challenge and you must always accept challenges. Secondly, if you beat down an enemy character a combat, you roll on the Chaos Boons table, which can give you many 'rewards'. But why is it so hated?

To answer this, I'm going to bring up 2 examples from my past, one from each of my Chaos Lords. The first was my Axe of Blind Fury Chaos Lord. I was playing a Welsh ETC player at the Toy Soldier tournament and while one of my Land Raiders hung back because charging forwards would just get my guys charged by Dreadnoughts and tied up, the other bombed forward and dropped 2 squads into the enemy lines. The Axe of Blind Fury Lord went into a squad of Purifiers, was forced to Challenge the Justicar, poured 11 attacks into him and killed him 8 times over.

Now, this was problematic for 3 reasons. Firstly, I had easily caused enough wounds to kill the entire squad of 5 Purifiers, so why would you just kill the Champion when you can kill everybody? Secondly, as a reward for his epic kill of the single Purifier, Khorne decided it would be absolutely hilarious to turn him into a Chaos Spawn. Thirdly, this Land Raider and the squad inside were essentially trying to push the wave to stop the Grey Knights getting to the objective in the left hand lane. Now, instead of having a nasty Khorne Lord and 8 Marines chomping through the enemy lines, I had 8 Marines and a Chaos Spawn desperately trying to hold the Grey Knights back.

The second example comes from yesterday, when I played against an Ork player, where I charged a mob of 20 boyz with my Black Mace Lord, killed the Nob, and then immediately killed the Nob, but turned into a Daemon Prince before the mace could complete it's swing forcing toughness checks. Eh? Firstly, surely it takes longer to turn a Chaos Lord into a Daemon Prince (see Dawn of War) than it does to complete the swing of a mace. But secondly, the only time you would really take a Chaos Lord is either for a Brand Bike (why not Heldrakes?) or for horrific beatstickery. Especially with the latter category, the Daemon Prince you are given cannot hold a candle to that guy. Now I understand that you have to take into account Aspiring Champions, but the simple way to fix this is to make (with the exception of Terminator Armour) all wargear transferable, so long as the Wargear that the Lord took can also be taken on a Daemon Prince should it be purchased as a HQ choice.

Now here's another point. I charge a squad of 8 Chaos Space Marines with dual close combat weapons into a Daemon Prince. I normally get 33 attacks on the charge. But because of this rule the all charge in, the standard marines are then forced to pause and have a little dance while the Aspiring Champion goes in and gets munched, but even if he does get to strike, I have lost a total of 28 attacks in the first round of combat, and then when we get to the next one (if we get to the next one), I only get 14 attacks. So where I would normally be getting 52 attacks over 2 player turns, I am instead getting 19. I don't understand how this is fluffy?

If you're going to include a rule to show the background of the army that's fine, but what makes a Chaos Space Marine more likely to challenge than a regular Space Marine? In the Chaos Codex, it mentions a Chaos Warlord named Roghrax (also my League of Legends name), he is mentioned because he is a Khorne Lord who took more skulls than he knew what to do with. There is also a Chaos Warlord named Geoff mentioned, he is in there because he beat down a Purifier Sergeant once before the rest of the Purifiers beat him to death. Have a guess which one of the two I just made up.

I guess this is a bit of venting, in my mind Chaos Space Marines are brutal killers, not Assassins with equally expensive meatshields who are obsessed with just killing the higher ranking blokes. Chaos doesn't care who you are or what you've done, Khorne cares not from whence the blood flows.


  1. Use the buddy system: bring a scrub to offer/take the challenge, and the beat-stick to murder people wholesale.

    1. Exactly the way to deal with it. The issue that I have is that you have to keep them together and not simply split up and demolish 2 units. My 1,850 Chaos List is 2 beatstick Khorne Lords in Land Raiders with squads of Khorne Marines, 2 squads of Spawn, and a Bloodthirster, essentially as my threats. I have 7 units there that are all capable of eating squads. However, if I'm now having to keep my Lords in the Marine squads that's reduced to 5, the Bloodthirster can also be challenged out, down to 4, almost having the amount of viable threats hitting in a single turn. With any other Codex this would not be an issue I guess I'm just venting that Chaos have to challenge while other Codecies don't.

      A good example of it totally screwing you is against FMC lists. 90% of my hitting power is in close combat, I charge a Daemon Prince. Have to challenge, Aspiring Champion takes it, buddies clap, Champ goes down. Now the Lord has to challenge, Lord goes down. 2 turns to take out the remaining Marines, now that's 2 game turns, a Lord and a squad dead and I haven't scratched your MC. If I didn't have to challenge, at least then I have the potential to get a boat load of attacks out, and quite possibly bring it down. Otherwise, the best I can do is pew pew with Lascannons and hope my Chaos Lords get exceptionally lucky.

    2. So multi-charge enemy units? You only need to give one challenge per combat.

      Also, why are you (a) putting 90% of your eggs in a close combat basket incapable of engaging Daemon Princes in combat, and (b) charging a Daemon Prince with a unit that'll just die in two game turns without harming it?

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Posted, then wanted to edit somethihng, now blogger won't let me edit it. Ah well, let's try again.


      a) I'm not, my list can be found here ( and see if you can find one thing in the Chaos Marine Codex that can kill a Daemon Prince in a challenge that isn't itself, a Daemon Prince and/or overcosted for any other role.

      And b) You very rarely see Daemon Princes in competitive play unless the entire list is geared towards them, aka, there are at least 4 Daemon Prince in total all with wings. All I can do is shoot them with Lascannons, attempt to tie them up with Spawn (tricky when every other one has Enfeeble and all of them can get up to S10 with Smash) or charge, use the re-roll from 'get him boss' on my invulnerable save and hope I get lucky and survive and then I can give them a whack looking to take them out with the help of the Daemonic Instability rule. Heads up though, look out for games 5 and 6 in my GT Heats tournament report.

      Every list has it's bad match ups, there are so many different combinations and builds that you can take that it's very difficult to completely create a list that can deal with every competitive army, especially with the game moving as quickly as it is these days. FMC Daemons are simply this list's bad match up, and although that doesn't excuse me from seeking a solution (I am currently doing this), healing the problem will open up other issues.