Last week, I posted my wishlist for Codex Crimson Slaughter and voiced my discontent about its actual content. Now that I have the book in hand, I think I should have a closer second look at it.
Is actually alright, telling the story of a chapter that got disrespect from its ‘betters’ from the First Founding Chapters and as a result decided to cut all ties with other Marines and do their own shit, then took a wrong decision and got punished for their refusal to co-operate with other chapters. The idea of them having to kill to quiet the voices of their victims is quite nice, though it is similar to the Butcher’s Nails the World Eaters Legion suffered from. It is not Shakespeare, but decent for a 40k story.
On the whole, this book follows the Chaos Space Marine Codex list, with only a few modifications. Some people on the Interwebs already try to argue that it can only ally with Chaos Space Marines as Battle Brothers, but I personally think that it says nothing that invalidates the other allies choices such as Daemons and so forth.
This section is a first world rant, as I am mostly going to discuss things it gets for free compared to Codex Angry Marines.
First of all, Possessed Marines are a Troops choice and get a slightly better chart with either Shrouded for them and their bus, turn into Beasts or 3+ Invul and Rending. However, they are still Possessed and at least 6 points too much per model. Heck, they are so bad they make Warp Talons look good in comparison. But a 26-point model that can be gunned down by basic weaponry is just too much. I wouldn’t even compare them to 25-point Honour Guards which outperform them so hard it isn’t even funny, but even 15-points Chaos Space Marines are much better because they actually have a gun and are not forced to charge into combat to do anything. Not that they are good in close combat either with their paltry 2 attacks each. And to actually get there, you either need to buy a Rhino and disembark in round 1 for a mere 6 inch speed boost or invest 220 points for a Chaos Land Raider that can’t even fire its guns when it moves. So for them to be efficient, you need to invest almost 480 points for a unit that is still not that good. Again, it is an additional option but a silly one.
All your guys have Fear for free. Sounds good, but once you eliminate everyone who is either Fearless, a Daemon or has ATSKNF, you are down to Eldar (barring the Seerstar who is Fearless or units in 12″ of an Avatar), Dark Eldar without 3 Pain Tokens, Tyranids out of Synapse Range, Orks in units under 10 models, Necrons with Ld10 and Guard or Tau, unless there is a Marine in the unit. So in essence only guys that fold to a Marine assault anyway and have a high enough Ld to ignore it most of the time in the first place. Still, it might save one or two Marines per game, but it is nothing to write home about, especially with most players still playing Marines.
Most Chaos Artifacts are not that good. The ones that are can be found below.
Only characters and Cult Marines can get the Veterans of the Long War upgrade. Which makes sense as the Crimson Slaughter chapter has not fought Marines for as long as the Legions. However, it drops regular Marines to Ld8-9 without the safety net that ATSKNF is. Luckily my Bikers usually have a Fearless Chaos Lord leading them.
You can upgrade a single Chosen unit to gain Preferred Enemy for the cost of a meltagun. I thought: ‘Great, give them 4 Plasmaguns, Infiltrate next to some dudes and rapid fire them into the Stone Age without risking getting hot.’ Then I realized that Chosen can no longer Infiltrate and I was a sad little panda. I guess I could buy them a Rhino and hope nobody notices the 200-point super fragile unit until they can shoot, but if that works, I probably would have won anyways. Maybe this can make close combat Chosen work, but again, you need a 220-point Land Raider to make that work and I am not sure that is the thing to do.
They can ally as Battle Brothers with Chaos Space Marines. This means you get access to the 4th Fast Attack and Support Slots as well as the third HQ Slot that Chaos definitely benefits from. It costs you access to Daemons, but I can see it being a viable option for that reason alone.
The Warlord Chart has fewer clunkers than the CSM one that has Preferred Enemy Marines (bad if the other guy is not a Marine), Soul Blaze, Fear and a re-roll on the Mutation chart as poor results and Infiltrate and Hatred as good ones. This one has its weaker ones too, like dealing d6 S3 hits to all models in contact with the Warlord or gaining Rage and Furious Charge but having to charge if within 12 inches, but it also has Hatred, with Super Hatred against Dark Angels, Shrouded (amazing on Bikers), -1 Ld in 12″ plus -2 to fear checks in 12″ or Crusader (underrated as it adds d3 to your Sweeping Advance rolls).
Two Artifacts are quite good, one being a 2+ armour with It Will Not Die for the cost of 2 plasmaguns, the other one giving you Hammer of Wrath and Mark of Khorne (so to say) for one plasmagun. But the real gamechanger is the Balestar of Mannon that gives your Sorcerer a re-roll to all Psychic tests AND more importantly access to Divination, aka the one psychic discipline that is better than the other 4 combined for the cost of a plasmagun and a meltagun. This alone would make me consider running the Crimson Slaughter as allies to my Nurgle Riders.
The final verdict
The big selling points GW tries to push, such as Super Chosen and Possessed Marines are probably not that great and not getting VotLW is painful, but as you in essence get everything else Chaos Space Marines get and some small free bonuses, it might be worth it. I’d have wanted the changes I mentioned last week, but it looks like a fun little variant if nothing else.