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i might be starting chaos marines in the not too distant future. after having a look through the dex they are very versatile- more so than 'imperial marines' you might say...
i wonder what your views on them at this current time?
i know quite a few folks who play them and they are very good indeed, it seems to me they have stood the test of time rather well
They are space marines for people who really love space marines. They are very versatile, and they kick butt in close combat like real marines should. Plus the models look way better.
The codex alhough bland and not having as much variety as other codices that followed after has a solid core, units like chaos space marines, chaos terminators, obliterators, berzerkers, plague marines and deamon princes are all solid choices.
Taking any of these units in your list will not invoke penalties on your ability to deal with threats.
As's been said, Chaos Space Marines are an army with a solid core and little in the way of other options. Their troops (Chaos Space Marines, Berserkers, and Plague Marines, specifically) are all quite good. They have a couple of reasonable Elite choices (Chosen, which are just CSM with infiltrate and more meltas, and Terminators) a good selection of heavy support (Obliterators, most notably) and one good HQ (The Daemon Prince). Most of the other options are pretty lousy, but this still leaves you with a handful of quite competitive builds.
Depending on what you're looking for, you might look into Space Wolves, Blood Angels, or the new Grey Knights. Regular codex marines are a little lack-luster, these days, but the variant marine codices put out some very strong armies.
Once again, the conservative, sandwich-heavy portfolio pays off for the hungry investor!