Well, after having a few days to read, review and look over various parts of the Codex I am ready to start with an overview of the Chaos Codex and my thoughts on the book.
First off Phil Kelly did a fantastic job, perhaps one of the best books GW has done in a long, long time. Unlike other codex books that there are a few good and then a great deal of crap for units this book has upped the balance slightly to allow for what I feel will be an army that you will find more variety with than any other on the table. I know are tired of the same crap army lists over and over. Oh, you have Grey Knights? Space Wolves? Imperial Guard? What template lists are you using is the common topic? Not only that, but the hardback version is also very nice and stands out as a quality book product compared to their past offerings.
What I really like most about this book the most is how they expanded the fluff slightly and updated things. Subtle things but still, there is more there than what seemed to be in the last codex.
Army Wide Rules:
Champions: Some people love this rule, some people hate it. I have to admit it fits the flavor of Chaos no matter what. So, in close combat you have to declare a challenge or accept one if issued first. So, the age of power fists on Champions is long gone. Time to rip them off and give them either power swords, mauls or lighting claws at this point if you want a chance to survive and if you don’t care hand them a chain sword and pat them on the power armor ass out the door to die. The first thing to look at is how often will your list be in close combat? If you are in it often, perhaps you should plan your list out, otherwise if you are more of a shooter list; it is ok to neglect the Champions in favor of focusing on other important aspects in your list. My only complaint about this is rolling on the “favors” or as I call them “party favors” chart if you kill something in close combat, so in theory it should be rare but still to me could drag the game slightly in a tournament setting rolling and bookkeeping constant changes. I am sure Army Builder will have the option to add the roll list to each champion and if you do, stock up on paper as your list will grow about x3 the current normal printed list. I am not sure how I feel about handing a codex to my opponent printed from Army Builder.
Veterans of the Long War: +1 Leadership and Hatred? Usually just for a point more on a standard CSM and a few more points for an Independent Character you can have this great perk. While the leadership is not needed for an IC the average Joe benefits from that with their lower leadership now of 8 on average. You could always take the banner to make your unit Fearless but that gets rather pricey (and works best for larger, more expensive units) and should only go to key units in the game where the benefit gets the best impact. Play Marines often? Shop Smart, Shop Chaos Mart.
Demon Weapons: Wow, they are more powerful than ever and yes, you will pay for them in huge point costs. Still, it is nice to at least roll a 1 and still swing (at penalty) instead of being screwed over. Roll a 2+ and it is happy days! Demon Weapons are squad killers as well as deadly weapons in a challenge against a character. The only downside is that you have to protect the model with it until he can get close enough to get into close combat. Second you have to wipe out all characters first in a challenge before you can wipe the squad. So, if they have a character to challenge you could get bogged down fighting some units. Think IG blobs for example as they have the ability to throw multiple sergeants at you keeping you busy the rest of the game. Your only hope then is to cause enough wounds to break, unless they are fearless or something else making them hard to break (stubborn for example).
Warlord Traits: This is the first book to assign Warlord Traits to specific characters instead of rolling for them. To me this fits but also limits options taking them, if you take a character with a specific Trait, you are more than likely taking them for that benefit among other thins. Here are the traits and my thoughts:
Black Crusader: Warlord and all friendly units within 12” of the Warlord have Preferred Enemy. For now this is nice for allies “note the word friendly”. Yes, this will be FAQ’ed later. Until then take Abbadon and park him near a majority of your army and enjoy the rerolls of 1 to hit and wound.
Flames of Spite: All melee weapons in the unit have Soul Blaze. Crap here really.
Master of Deception: Infiltrate d3 infantry units. Note the key word there, infantry. So, no first turn charges but you could very easy put an army in someone’s face quickly or flank.
Hatred Incarnate: Warlord and unit have Hatred. So, saves you points on Veteran’s of the Long War. Otherwise useless also.
Lord of Terror: Fear, another yawn unless you have something that can modify leadership.
Exalted Champion: Reroll on the Boon Table, limited prospects here unless you plan to engage in challenges.
Marks of Chaos
Mark of Khorne: Rage (extra attack) and Counter-attack special rules. This is a great mark to give to general CSM units that are not Bezerkers, they are a slightly cheaper option with ranged ability unlike Khorne Bezerkers.
Mark of Nurgle: +1 Toughness (no longer unmodified!) a great choice for a Biker Unit, Obliterators or Characters, makes them tough as hell to instant kill now. Even the basic CSM benefits well if you are cost cutting and don’t care about the other perks that a Plague Marine gets. Havoks are another that would allow you to take some punishment and still stay in the fight no matter what.
Mark of Tzeentch: +1 to invulnerable save or 6+ if none. Obliterators and Characters stand the most to benefit from here. A simple 6+ to a standard CSM is just a waste when there are better marks to pick (unless you can roll 6’s like crazy).
Mark of Slaanesh: +1 Initiative. What? Wake me up here! This goes best on a few select items, one thing I can say NOT to waste points on is giving them to a Chaos Space Marine. Why? 13 points base and 2 for the mark, 2 more points and you get Fearless instead of spending 1 more point for Veterans of the Long War for that +1 Leadership.
What do you think?