By Noah Beddome
Welcome back to Part 3! Last time, we talked about learning Chaos and building a list. The result of that thought process was the creation of a list I took to Greetings From the Warp in the UK which was basically a pile of Hellforged Dreads, Cultists and Chain Cannons. I went 3/2 there, dropping games 4 and 5 to Alex Harrison and Stephen Box, respectively.
I brought the list back to the US and had a hard run in with Alpha Legion teams again and Ogryn. It was clear I needed a counter-assault element and a better screen.
Chaos Knights Emerge
Chaos Knights ended up unlocking what would become my terminal Chaos build. I had added a Daemon Prince or 2 previously and now with the introduction of Knights the list looked a little like this:
Battalion of Death Guard
- 2x Daemon Priinces of Nurgle with Wings
- 3x 10 Pox Walkers
Vanguard of Alpha Legion
- Lord of Chaos
- 3x Contemptors with Butcher Cannons
I took this list to TSHFT went 4/2, losing to Imperial Knights and Tau. My take aways were that my screen still needed more and I needed some tricks to help keep my Knight from getting shot.
This lead me down the road of the Contorted Epitome - this model and its rules are amazing, almost too good. The model is a psyker, a combat beat-stick, super fast and prevents units within 6 inches from falling back from combat. The ability to prevent falling back combined with a wave of Plague Bearers make a rolling blob that collects our opponent's army and literally shuts off their turn.
I updated the list dropping the Princes, and adding the Plagues and Epitome in a Daemon Battalion and took that to Attack X . I went 4/1 losing to GSC which ended up winning the event. I played against Marines there and honestly they didn't feel so strong.
Over the course of the next few events I kept doing pretty well, only losing out to the winners of the events and feeling pretty good about my performance. What happened next was not unpredictable but changes my plan for the LVO.
The Imperial Fists Codex
An important not here is that I am historically a Crimson Fists player. I have played them since 5th and they are my favorite fluff. Since the new Imperial Fists codex came, they have been a first class army again and we have also seen Marines begin to dominate the meta. Their volume of fire and massed re-rolls makes Plague Bearers not much more resilient than a Tactical Marine.
The Marine Meta
I showed up at another GT and played my first game against an old meta fringe archetype: the Fire Prism spam. The pilot was great but had some bad rolls; the Epitome and Plagues consumed his bikes and he never got out of combat while I moved to round 2 where I played against 3 Chaos Knights and 50 Plagues. I got first turn and was able to cripple his force and win. I roll into round 3 and play one of the most intense and enjoyable games I have ever played. My opponent, JT McDowell, was an amazing player and it came down to the wire. I pulled it off and slid into day 2 undefeated.
My text two rounds were against Marines. Now mind you, only JT has killed all the Plagues at this point and it took 6 turns. I sat down with opponents 4 and 5 with my Plagues, Thousand Sons psykers and Chaos Knights and proceed to get obliterated two games in a row. It was official, we were in a new Meta. Plague Bearers which had previously been the best troop in the game due to how tough they were, were now a liability against Marines.
Basically what the Marine meta looks like is this: if you're not Marines you need to be able to play your game beyond 36 inch range. Marines are nearly impossible to beat within 24-36 inches. Their volume of fire, tactical flexibility, tricks, and mass re-rolls just means they own the 24-36 inch range.
Green Grass and Blue Power Armor
Looking across the way at Crimson Fists and my current hobby project, I figured now was the time to shift. The plan right now is to take Crimson Fists to the LVO and put the Chaos Knights on the shelf for a bit.
I can see a few characteristics emerging in the meta that are going to be important while building a list for the LVO:
1. The environment is hostile to vehicles. That doesn't mean they aren't playable but it does mean they will struggle a little to gain their value back
2. Hit modifier based survivability is not a viable defense against Marines
3. You need to be able to kill vehicles
My initial thoughts have me focussing on an infantry heavy list based on the Imperial Fists codex.
Reflection and Summary
In summary, the Plague Bearer dominated meta is dead and a new age is dawning which leaves me focused on Marines to meet my goal of being top 200 at the LVO. I feel like I did pretty well with my previous list putting up decent performance and getting to 27th place for Chaos on ITC. I learned a ton about competitive play during my first season. Now I am looking forward to a new challenge and painting my Fists!