Friday, March 14, 2014

Building a Winning Chaos Space Marines List: A Treatise of Bryan's CSM

Last treatise was about Eldar.  This one is about everyone's favourite Heretic: Chaos Space Marines.  Enjoy.

JJ typing, you have a lot of CSM, Chaos Space Marines, and you're pulling them off the table faster than putting them on.  You want to share this marvelous experience with your opponent.  The reasons for doing so are legion: you're tired of being his punching bag, you want to win a trophy, you don't want to sell your army for 5$ to players adjacent to the table you're playing at.

Here's Bryan's Plague Marine CSM list.  Weird that Plague Marines are part of a winning list?  Was thinking the same.  I firmly believe for every player that is regularly cleaning other players clocks with a certain type of army, there's another player using a similar army and losing horrendously.

The list:

two 30 zombie packs
three 9 Plague Marines two plasma guns
two 2 Obliterators

No doubt this looks like a similar list to what many see on the field.  As many of us know.  It is never the list.  It is how it is played.

Now for Bryan's tictacs.  Yes, those little white breathe mints you use to win 40k games.

One of Bryan's tactics is to make a V with his Plague Marines.  At the point of the V is the Sergeant.  When the squad takes wounds he's the first to go.  Why?  Bryan hates the obligatory challenge chaos characters have to perform.  Great thinking.

Bryan's CSM are a hammer.  The whole army is used as one unit to achieve immediate and long term goals.

His deployment is also top notch.

The three Plague Marine squads are equal distance apart.  This allows him to move squads into useful positions with minimal effort.  Doesn't have to spend a lot of energy to get a squad somewhere.  Each corner has two Obliterators  These provide angles of fires the other squad can't hit and support each other if they need it.

Two 30 zombie packs provide intervening cover save for weapons that will lunch Plague Marine armour saves.  The spacing Bryan does with his zombies is something I have yet to master.

Typhus is usually alone and joins squads when he wants to.  Defiler will also be in a corner, hanging out with a pair of Obliterators, to take advantage of its battle canon range.

When Bryan moves the army it effectively looks like a wave of models moving with ebb and flows.  Gently swinging from one side to the other.

Wish there was more to describe about his army.  It is extremely straight forward, rather simple to use and quite effective.  That can be attributed to Bryan's ability to quickly pick up 40k, he's only been playing for a couple of years, and adapts quickly to what happens on the table.  I wouldn't say this is a auto-win net list.  Though its the closest I ever found.  Of course if someone were to net list this army they would change little parts of it to fit with their play style.

The simplicity of the army is a great indicator to what Bryan knows is needed on the field.  There's moving 5+ cover saves, troop squads that fire has to be concentrated on to remove, hard to displace units, an unit that can be swapped out for something else that fits his fancy and of course an awesomely painted HQ.

slainte mhath


  1. Do you believe the fact he uses plague marines are critical to the success of this list. Or is it more to do with his deployment ane tactics. I am a huge fan of the Blood God and I want to run a CSM and Berserker eavy list.

    1. Brian, great question.

      Out of those two choices, I'd say deployment.

      While Bryan's list has a clear theme. I think it would be great to swap out parts of the Nurgle army to make it a Khorne army then test it on the battle field. Should you do so please let me know how it turns out. Think it would be a great read.

  2. Honestly, the biggest part of having the PM's in the army is the fact that I would then get dual 5+ saves. One from cover and one from FNP. Using another squad is possible, yet you would still have to take typhus to make the zombies possible.

    The entire army is based around giving the whole army maximum survivability due to cover and FNP.

    1. Bryan, thanks for providing more detail about the tactics of your list. Deeply appreciate it.


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