Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Chaos Review: Part I

New blog and a new book, it's a match made in heaven.

The review will be in 3 parts. The first part will look at the structure, background and army wide special rules. The second will analyze the different force org slots and wargear options. The third will bring it all together to see what

I'll lead with this; all praise the Kelly!


This is the first codex release for 6th edition and with it comes a couple of welcome changes. First is hardcover. This is done to match the fantasy counterparts and inexpensively add value to the book. With the hardcover also comes full colour, which is excellent as all the artwork is outstanding; nothing wasted on Blanche's ''style." I know a lot of people were ranting about the price of this book, the paper and hardcover and colour make it worthwhile. I love picking up this book to read. Its reassuring in the way only hardcovers can be.

Its layout is pretty similiar: table of content, background stories which I wont spoil, Chaos Special Rules, Unit Bestiary, Wargear/equipment/psychic disciplines, colour photos of the models, Wargear table (eeeeeeee!!), army list, and reference section.

Ok, the wargear table is back. Anyone who's been around for more than 6 years will remember the wargear table of old. What it represents is the myriad of options that have come back to chaos characters. They design team was obviously not happy with the work gav and alessio did on the last chaos codex where they removed so much choice for the sake of balance. They have made up for it in spades.

I want to elaborate what they did for the reference section, the put all the necessary rules and tables onto this 3 page foldout at the back so you're not flipping through looking for a rule; and believe me, there are a lot of special rules. This is super handy because you only need this section for 99% of the questions you'll encounter in a game.


The background has been not so much advanced as fleshed out near the end.  The timeline has been brought in line with the Blood Angels Codex where the end is about to occur. Abaddon is about to launch his final crusade on Terra and he has a diabolical plan to do it.

Extra attention was given to a whole founding of chapters and there attempts to purge the doubts and accusations on them that ends in tragedy and rebellion. Lots of cool, potential, narrative campaign concepts are there.

Army Rules

Champion of Chaos - Models with this rule have to issue a challenge or accept if one has been issued against. This is one of those rules that is meant to increase the narrative/cinematic side of the game. However, it falls short because of a lack of cooperation with the main ruleset. While chaos characters are pretty lethal in combat, its very simple for the opponent to decline to deny the boon roll in exchange for losing a couple of attacks. The boon table is pretty neat, nothing game breaking, but no real downside until your lord turns into a spawn or daemon prince. Even then, hes still alive and your enemy is down a character. Most of the time you'll end up with a benefit for combat you really didn't need, but on the rare occasions that you roll up instant death attacks or d3+1 more rolls on the chart, you can actually make a mountain out of a molehill.

Warlord Traits - Chaos now present us with the first race specific warlord table and the first word that comes to mind here is consistent. Just like the main rule set there are a couple of gems and a couple of duds. I like how they didn't restrict chaos players to this one unless they are using a special character (more later).  Fear and Flames being next to worthless while black crusader and master of deception can be right mean. Roughly half the armies you come across are going to have that marine special rule so preferred enemy in a 24" bubble is wicked mean. Master of deception opens up some first turn charges if you're going second or some very early board control if going first.

Daemon Weapons - The super smash bro hammers are back again with some major tweaks. Functionally, the daemon weapons work the same with the extra d6 attacks; however, if you roll a one now you still get to attack but your weapon skill is reduced to one for the phase.  There are no longer generic daemon weapons but rather 2 artifacts an HQ can buy. We'll get into those later.

Veteran of the Long War - This special rule was added so that legion players would stop their bitching a bit! I kid, kind of. The rule grants +1 ld and hatred (space marines) reroll hits in the first round.  The ld bonus is what most people will be after as the fearless icon is rather expensive and on a combat unit, ld 10 is often enough. Since half the armies you fight will likely be space marines, having that little buff is nice and can help generate some rolls on the boon table.

Marks of Chaos

These really haven't changed too much, but they have brought back the god animosity. If you're marked you may not join a unit with a different mark. This would appear limiting, but everyone and their mom can get marks in this book so its not bad at all. Nurgle, tzeentch, and slaanesh havent changed outside of psykers with the mark must take at least one power from that discipline. They offer +1 toughness, +1 Invuln, and +1 Initiative respectively. Khorne is where you see the big change with the granting of the two USRs counterattack and rage. Counterattack is the important one where even if he is the only one in the unit with that rule, everyone else in the squad gets to use it.

Independently, these marks make for nice and often expensive bonuses. Where they really come into their own is that they open up the use of icons and can combo very well. That we will leave till the next part of the review.

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