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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(After a bit of searching, I couldn't find anything that discussed smaller games nor was in depth enough, so I decided to make this thread. Enjoy! :))

While there's a lot of support for playing big games, there's nearly next to no support or advice on smaller skirmish-based games of 1000 points or less. From what I can gather, its an area that is largely unexplored or discussed on a competitive level.
For Chaos, this seems a hard task to cater for the smaller games. On paper, we have some of the best, hardest, most versatile and / or hardest hitting Troop choices available, supported by great HQs and decent Heavy Support. However, much of our stuff comes out really expensive on the table top, which ends up making an aesthetically small force.

This thread mostly came from a lot of unanswered questions and hours spent debating what would be the best army for me. Its not easy when you have a serious point constraint, and every little thing has to almost be justified. Hopefully this'll get people to share their experiences with Chaos at such small point levels in both the friendly and competitive environments.

In my opinion the biggest problems we have are Troops, HQ, Support and Anti Tank.

The Big Dilema - Troops

I've found probably the hardest part of making small armies is the focus on Troops. With 2/3 games being objective based, Troops are necessary to capture and hold them. In larger point games this is easy - you have enough points available to take 3 or 4 decently equipped Troops choices. However, tooling up squads is a bit tricky, as heavy tooling = points sink. The standard

10 CSM - 2MG, IoCG, Ac w/ PF, Rhino = 255
10 CSM - 2MG, IoCG, Ac w/ PF, Rhino = 255

is just over half the points in the army. Add in a cheapo Daemon Prince with Wings, and thats 640 points, with only 360 points left to support them with various goodies.

Question No. 1 - 2 Troops or 3?

I've found this to be really hard. On one hand, having 2 Troops is more cost effective and lets you have more big guns or tooled up units, but on paper it means you don't have many bolters to help against hordes, nor does it leave a lot of wounds to help against low AP weapons. On the other hand, 3 squads is more reliable at capturing objectives and having some back up in case one gets really unlucky or tied up in combat, however this leaves to nearly no room for anything else if they're tooled up, or a slight lack of punch and specialist units. It also reduces our ability to deal with enemy armour.

Question No.2 - To tool or not to tool?

In larger games, it makes more sense to tool them up for every situation; giving them 2 Special Weapons, Champion with Fist and a Rhino means they're well prepared . However, this ends up as costing nearly 100 points a unit more, which is 10% of the list on guns and gadgets. More tools leads to more effective units but less boots on the table. Finding the right balance is really hard as it means they aren't always equipped for the job.

The other option is to for more small squads. This saves a lot of points, and lets you have 2-3 squads for the same as 2 fully tooled squads. This leads to ineffective squads - the reason our squads work is the special weapon choices, which puts us ahead of most shooty armies such as Tau, Elder and even Loyalist Marines.

Because things are expensive, one has to consider giving a unit multiple roles. This might mean giving a Troops unit a heavy weapon, something which reduces the effectiveness of the squad but in turn can double as last ditch attempt to kill a vehicle at range (Lascannon), bring more shots to bear against hordes (Heavy Bolter) or just have a Missile Launcher for versatility.

Question No.3 - Rhinos

Rhinos are staples in most Chaos armies, however, thats 70 points if you give them to 2 Troops choices, or 105 if you take 3 of them. Its a large chunk so they have to be properly justified and used. Thankfully, most units make good use of them, but still, spending 70 points faces stiff competition with the other cool toys we get.

HQs

This part is fairly easy - the most cost effective HQ is the Daemon Prince. It has a few options, and tend to do their job well. They can pretty much do what a whole unit can, and some will drop extras like Power Fists, meaning he might survive a bit longer than in larger games.

Aesthetically, and fluff-wise, it doesn't quite look right when a small patrol is being led by a mighty being of Chaos, so its understandable that some people might opt for the humble Sorcerer or Chaos Lord. While they can be a bit more expensive, then have one advantage - they can hide in units. But on the other hand, they don't draw as much fire like Princes do, and with a small list having something big and scary might just protect your Troops for a turn or two.

Finishing Touches

Anti Tank

A wise man once suggested that 1 Lascannon per 500 points is plenty of anti tank. This is mostly true, but then Lascannon's aren't easy to come by. They come in the form of Obliterators, Havocs, Dreads, Predators, Land Raiders or the humble Chaos Space Marine squad. None come cheap, so some points have to be reserved for these.

The compensate for this, there's always fast Melta guns from Raptors, Bikers, Chosen or Terminators. Each have their advantage and come a lot cheaper than the 130 points for a Pred. While Obliterators are great and all, they can be instant killed by stray Lascannons. They're not as versatile, but there's always the option.

Another thing to consider is Meltaguns in Chaos Space Marine squads geared up for Assualt. This should never be the main for of anti tank, more of an insurance against vehicles. They don't move very fast once out of the Rhino and that short 12" range or the 6" for 2d6 AP rolls is incredibly short.

As I said above, because of the lack of points you've got to consider heavy weapons in Chaos Marine units. Its a lot cheaper to spend 1/4 of the points giving someone a Lascannon instead of buying an Obliterator to do the same job, despite the fact its not as effective in the long run. One could argue its a more efficent use of points, but at the cost of effectiveness.

A Question of Balance

With such small points, ideally it would be best to be able to take on all opponents. We do this fairly well thanks to our versatile options. On the other hand, with such small points and with such expensive stuff, one could opt for a much harder approach by putting their points in one basket. There's loads of strong units that are harder to deal with at small point games - Land Raiders, Daemon Princes, Lash, multiple Obliterators, Biker / Raptor armies, Termators, Chosen, Defilers, Vindicators - investing in focused units is a viable strategy and makes a really aggressive list. These lists tend to lack dedicated weapons to deal with armour or a particular unit effectively, but has a lot of power elsewhere.

I've always favoured a balanced force as it leads to a fairer list and the it plays off of our versatility, but its hard not to pass up an "eggs in one basket" approach because how devastating one type of army can be if the opponent doesn't have a counter to it.

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Might edit the OP if anything important crops up.

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Well, just to chime in, I can give you 2 lists I currently run in lower points games.

I currently run a 750 list that is:

Unmarked, Winged, Daemon Prince
10 CSM with a champ, pfist, 2 meltas, and a rhino.
8 Zerkers with a champ, pfist and a rhino.
2 obliterators, run separately.

This list works awfully well for me, and most of my losses have been from general ignorance of the other army (like running within 12 inches of Wraith Cannons). Just be aware that at this point level, your rhinos go fast, and it is my experience that once a rhino is a popped, you gotta get into the thick of it quick, or get shot down.

For 1000 pts (which I just started playing)

Daemon Prince with wings, MoN, and Warptime.
7x Plague Marines with a champ, pfist, and 2 meltas, and a rhino
7x Plague Marines with a champ, pfist, and 2 meltas, and a rhino
2 defilers

Works well so far, 2 dark angels armies have fallen to this rather quickly.

So, as for your questions, I choose 2 troops, and always a DP, until I get down to the 500 point range, then its usually a sorcerer or lord.
I always kit my squads, as some armies, even at 750, can get some pretty scary baddies that need to die fast (Furisio Dreadnaught, Hive Tyrant).
And as for the rhinos, I always take them in 750+ games.

For the question of popping tanks, either drive, drop and shoot, or fly in with the winged dp, and destroy it. Also, the defiler can pop tanks and transports, if you're in a tight spot.

The balance of your army really depends on your play-style overall. If you have a tendency to always be aggressive, get those zerkers! At 1000 points I really like my plague marines as people see them as a HUGE threat, and will charge in right away, either looking for a KP or to just eliminate my squad altogether. This leaves them open to the counter charge from a defiler or my nurgle prince, whom with warptime is devestating.

Remember, with objectives games, you only need to control a majority, not all. Use an assault to either contest or pull them off an objective, and use the fearsome dp to win a combat, and either make them flee, or sweeping advance them to death.
 

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My local hobby store runs a 40K night every Thursday in which the points values are always 1000 points (though some have upped their games to 1250-1500 recently). I play CSM every week, unless someone challenges my Necrons for some reason, and have never lost at the 1000 point range due to our HQ and Troops being so damned powerful. The list I run is:

Daemon Prince with wings and warptime
2 Squads of 10 CSM with champ, power weapon, 2x Meltaguns and a Rhino
1 Squad of 3 Oblits
1 Squad of 2 Oblits

I've found this list to be very versitile against my opponents, even in objective based games because you don't need to capture every objective on the table, just one. Also, with it being a smaller points game, your opponent isn't very likely to have a ton of troops either, making those multi-objective based games even for both of you, most of the time fighting over 1 a piece.

Pretty much, to answer your questions, yes, tool your squads. Taking a few small squads will only end up hindering you in the end as they won't be able to do anything very well except hide on an objective easier as they're in a smaller group. You need to make sure those troops are ready for every game type, not just objectives because it comes up more often. If you gear your army for objective based games, you'll lose hard at annihilation.

For your HQ, no matter how odd it may look that a mighty Daemon Prince is leading a small band of warriors, they are still our best HQ choice. You also have to think of it this way, a 1000 points game is not an all out war, it's essentially 2 small scouting patrols who have discovered each others locations. Now why would a Daemon Prince be leading a scouting patrol? Perhaps he's just a platoon leader, sent out with his platoon by an even more powerful Prince. Remember, there are more powerful Princes, Lords and Sorcs in the ranks of the Chaos Marines than what you can field on the table.
 

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ghost of rage is right and his list put the other side in a world of hurt very fast, the DP as a fire magnet and 5X oblies to lay down fire on whatever comes by plus two squads to take objectives
 

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Small games are great, does anyone know what happened to the 'Combat-Patrol' rules that were released a few years back ???

Played many games using those rules, and with a limit of only 400 points its an excellent way to start gaming with a new army without spending a small fortune to get a full 1500 points on the table.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Small games are great, does anyone know what happened to the 'Combat-Patrol' rules that were released a few years back ???

Played many games using those rules, and with a limit of only 400 points its an excellent way to start gaming with a new army without spending a small fortune to get a full 1500 points on the table.
Yeah agreed - they used to be really good quick games, its a shame there's no "official" rules for it anymore. I used to run a squad of CSM for fire support and a squad of Raptors - it was really flexible as I could choose between shooting and assualt depending on the enemy.

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@ Ghost of Rage - that list looks incredibly hard to beat with that much fire power and deep striking Obliterators for a bit of mobility. Ever considered dropping them to squads of 2/2/1? That way you can spread your fire power accordingly. However, I make it 1020 points, so its not really a 1000 point army. Even so, 4 Oblits would be more than enough fire power, and it means you can upgrade the Power Weapons to Fists and give the DP a Mark.
 

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When I'm really in the mood for building a smelly list, I like to scare the enemy with the following:

Daemon Prince- 175
*MoN
*Warp Time
*Wings

Daemon Prince- 155
*MoS
*Lash
*Wings

Plague Squad- 256
*7x plaguers
**2x melta guns
**1x fisted champ
*rhino

Plague Squad- 256
*7x plaguers
**2x melta guns
**1x fisted champ
*rhino

Defiler- 150
*2x c.c. weapons

In small games such as 1000 points, it becomes increasingly difficult for our opponents to manage our armor. Therefore, I try and take advantage of this by fielding as many high priority threats as possible. Alternatively, this list could easily compensate another defiler by dropping one of the princes.
 
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