July 28, 2013 by crew
Whether you’re a Warhammer 40,000 veteran or just getting started in the hobby, the Dark Vengeance box set makes for an excellent purchase. Upon opening the box you have everything you need to start playing; a rulebook, dice, reference guides and two opposing forces totalling forty eight miniatures. One of the key selling points for this set is its astonishing value for money.
However, for your transaction, you get two equally matched forces, not two full sized armies. How do you go about transforming a few plucky units into a ground shaking, enemy quivering, battle group?
I’d like to say that I’ve been faithfully playing Warhammer 40,000 for the past few years but sadly that would not be true. First starting the hobby in 2008 I chose the Imperial Guard as my army of choice. For the most part I enjoyed using them and even to this day I can still be found with a smile on my face lining up my green and khaki painted warriors, standing tall and ready to be fodder for any cannon that looks their way. However, the drudging and repeated merciless slaying of my soldiers caused me to become somewhat idle with the franchise and, for a period of time, stop any sort of table top conquest all together.
It was the suggestion of a friend who said we should try something new (not being brave enough to try Warhammer Fantasy, DreadBall or actually anything really that new to us!) and we ultimately settled on the Dark Vengeance box set and agreed to split up the armies thusly. He would commission the Dark Angels and I would lead the traitorous Chaos Space Marines.
After just a few games with the Chaos Space Marine force I decided they would be a perfect army for my play style and I wanted to expand the twenty-eight models issued to me into a grand scale army at the standard competition strength of 1000 points. The easy option would be to just check the rulebook (thankfully provided in the set) for how well the Imperial Guard and Chaos Space Marines can ally together. The result being surprisingly well. They are classed as ‘Allies of Convenience’, the second best possible type of alliance; however I wanted a sole Chaos Space Marine force. So where did I start? By analysing the units I already had of course!
As I wanted this army to be competition legal it had to abide by the official Warhammer 40,000 army building rules. Primarily this means each army must contain a HQ unit and at least two troop selections.
The HQ choice is covered by the Chaos Lord Kranon the Relentless and, as the lore of Warhammer 40,000 dictates, he will represent me on the field of battle. Quite frankly I couldn’t have chosen a better representative. Not only does he have a commanding battle stance which would happen to represent me quite well, his statistics and special abilities match those of an excellent leader.
For starters he has outstanding combat statistics. A weapon skill of six and a ballistic skill of five mean that in both hand-to-hand and ranged warfare Kranon is lethal. He’s also a stubborn foe for your opponents to deal with due to his three allocated wounds, initial armour save of three plus and on top of that Kranon has ‘An Aura of Dark Glory’ providing him with a five plus invulnerable save. These statistics when grouped together make for an excellent leader worthy of commanding the Chaos force.
Next required by the army building rules are two troop choices. These are also thankfully provided in the set as Chaos Cultists. The Cultists are weak and generally have rather mediocre statistics. They remind me too much of Imperial Guardsmen and in fact they share many of the same traits. However, for what they lack in… pretty much everything, they more than make up for with ferocity and sheer numbers.
The last two units provided in the set are optional in the eyes of the army building rules but are the corner stones of the Chaos Force. Firstly Draznicht’s Ravagers are a unit of Chosen Chaos Space Marines. This makes them more deadly than your average Space Marine as they receive improved weaponry and have an increased ability to stay alive. I chose to use this unit to bear the main bulk of the fighting once the cultists had been expended.
Finally comes the Helbrute, the centrepiece of the Chaos Army and box set as a whole, a model that I think cannot be left out of selection no matter what the situation. It is a beautifully sculpted piece with rather impressive statistics and powerful weaponry able to vanquish even the most stubborn Dark Angel.
To sum up the Chaos force, the units vary widely meaning they cover all bases and most aspects of warfare. The set contains a mix of light and heavy infantry as well as a ferocious leader and a feral walking vehicle. Most of the units are optimized to fight in hand-to-hand combat and thus charging at your opponent plays to your advantage. The units contained in the set are for the most part poor at ranged warfare and sacrificing the opportunity to assault to have a few pot shots at the enemy, to me at least, doesn’t seem worth it. The only exception to this would be the Chaos Cultists as they are far too fragile to send into hand-to-hand combat and would be better off providing covering fire for their bulkier comrades and the Helbrute.
The total points value of the Chaos force totals around 550 but differs via opinion. This is because many of the units are exclusive to the Dark Vengeance set and thus do not have a specific points value meaning calculation is down to player assumption.
I chose to use 550 points as the baseline, meaning I had 450 points to spend on improving my army. When it comes to forming an army, 450 points is a lot of breathing room, so I chose to go all out in my attempts to make this Chaos Space Marine force the bane of my adversary’s existence.
I made two additions to the force. Firstly, I chose to add a Chaos Space Marine Land Raider to the army. Not only is it a unit to be reckoned with when it comes to fire power (anyone who disagrees can talk to its twin-linked Lascannons) but the tank can also transport up to ten models directly to the front line. There is however an ulterior motive for adding this tank to the force, that being it instantly becomes the biggest thing on the battlefield and thus is an excellent distraction for my other units. The Helbrute was my main concern, a model which would normally be targeted and destroyed by the heavy weapons of the opposing soldiers, as it has a weaker armour rating. The icing on the cake is that the Land Raider has an all over armour rating of fourteen meaning that it can sit centre-field all day taking knocks without a scratch (I hope!). All the while your unnoticed infantry is flanking out-wide ready to raise some hell.
The second addition to the battle-group was two units of Chaos Space Marine Raptors.
This elite group of assault infantry symbolise everything the Chaos force does. With their ability to deepstrike onto the field, they can get right up in the enemies grill instantaneously, letting them use their close combat weapons to full effect. Having two squads of this type of unit equates to ten traitors, more than enough to punch holes and wreak havoc amidst your enemy’s forces.
In conclusion, the Chaos Space Marine units are excellent at close combat and the Dark Vengeance box set lets you sample this style of play well. When it came to adding to this already amazing array of troops, I had to follow the vein of hand-to-hand combat and I added units which were designed specifically for this style of play. I also chose to add a tank to the roster in order to assure that heavy support was never lacking and so my weaker troops could have some protection on the battlefield.
If you don’t own Dark Vengeance or are completely new to the Warhammer 40,000 hobby I recommend you buy the set. As soon as you open the box you have everything you need to field an army and with a few additions, you really will cause Chaos.
Below I’ve included by army list for you all to take a look at. Any suggestions and changes are welcome!
HQ: Chaos Lord Kranon the Relentless with power sword, plasma pistol, frag and krak grenades. Kranon’s ‘Aura of Dark Glory’ provides him with a 5+ invulnerable save.
Troops: Chaos Cultists
- One Chaos Cultist Champion with two close combat weapons
- One Chaos Cultist with flamer
- Eight Chaos Cultists with a close combat weapon and an autopistol.
Troops: Chaos Cultists
- One Chaos Cultist Champion with shotgun and close combat weapon
- One Chaos Cultist with heavy stubber,
- Eight Chaos Cultists with autoguns.
Elites: Chosen Chaos Space Marines
- One Chosen Champion with power maul, bolt pistol, boltgun.
- One Chosen with lightning claws.
- One Chosen with power axe, bolt pistol, boltgun.
- One Chosen with power fist, bolt pistol, boltgun.
- Two Chosen with close combat weapons, bolt pistols and boltguns.
- All models have frag and krak grenades
- One Helbrute armed with multi-melta and power fist.
Heavy Support: Chaos Space Marine Land Raider
- One Land Raider tank armed with two sponson-mounted twin-linked lascannons, one hull-mounted twin-linked heavy bolter and smoke launchers.
Fast Attack: Chaos Space Marine Raptors (x2)
- One Raptor Champion with power sword and plasma pistol
- One Raptor with meltagun
- Three Raptors chainsword and boltpistol
Total Points: 965
Now what should I do with the spare thirty five points?
Miniatures Painted by Worthy Painting
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