CSM Traitors Hate: An Honest Look
The new Traitors Hate supplement contents leaked online earlier this week leading to a maelstrom (see what I did there) of hatred (again) from the Chaos Space Marine faithful. I'm going to take this opportunity to break down what we know of the supplement so far and talk about how it can be played at a competitive and even fun level.
First though, why the hate? The overall feel from the community of CSM faithful is that the book does little to resolve the deficiencies in the codex and rather stacks special rules on top of rules which the community feels already slows the army down. On top of that the feeling is that the formations, and the Black Crusade Detachment specifically, are riddled with poor special rules offering little benefit or burdened with taxes (warpsmiths) for an army that already has to pay out the nose for mediocre to just plain bad units.
tl;dr version: Chaos players want a new codex. Traitor's Hate is less than a Band-Aid covering a festering infected wound which is the current codex (now 4 years old).
While I agree with some of the dissention regarding this supplement, specifically the fact that the army needs a new codex (currently the oldest in rotation). I think Traitor's Hate offers some variety and a much needed boost to the army. It's not perfect by any means, but it is a good start.
The Black Crusade Detachment is the core of this supplement and gives the army a Decurion style detachment that while not giving the army free upgrades or units, instead offers us a variety of special rules which effectively enhance rules already present in the codex.
The Command Benefits allow you to re-roll your warlord trait if you roll from the codex chart. Gives you Hatred against all Imperium forces (i.e. Marines, Imperial Knights, AM, etc). and Veterans of the Long War for free. In addition at the start of your turn, you can nominate a character with Champions of Chaos special rule and roll on the boon chart for them and they get the benefit for the rest of the game.
In order to make the detachment you need at least 1 Core choice and 1 Auxiliary choice. The three core choices are a Chaos Warband, which features objective secured for all the units within the formation, as well as the ability to roll twice on the boon chart when required and choose one or both results (which can be used in conjunction with the Black Crusade Detachment command benefit).
The next core choice is Maelstrom of Gore featuring Kharne and 4-8 berserker squads that can add 3" to their charge and once per game at the start of your movement phase can pile-in and get a free set of attacks.
The other is The Lost and the Damned which is a Dark Apostle and 4-9 units of cultists. The Apostle has a zealot bubble of 6" and when a squad of cultists dies they can return on a 4+ in ongoing reserves with outflank.
The one I'm going to focus on in this post is the Chaos Warband.
This is, in my opinion, the heart and soul of this book and the detachment. For years now Chaos players have railed against the codex because of its emphasis on the use of heldrakes and cultists. Chaos marines are useless in the game and really have been since the codex came out. They suffer from mediocre leadership, no ability to auto-rally like their imperial brothers, and are too expensive in general.
The warband is nice within the Black Crusade detachment because it makes Chaos Marines playable again. The entire formation is objective secured and because of the veterans of the long war buff (which can save you a lot of points) all of them have a leadership of 10 while their champ lives. That is pretty damn good if you ask me. The ability for the Lord to get the two rolls on the chart at the start of each turn in addition to winning challenges gives you the ability to make a powerhouse character.
While the other core choices are interesting, the Warband is the best use of the detachment benefits in my opinion.
As to the Auxiliary choices, quite a few stand out. Most are jumping straight to the Raptor Talon formation here because it allows assault off of a deep strike, which is nice, but you do so as a disordered charge and raptors aren't that great in combat anyway. The leadership debuff is nice and I could see some nasty combos happening with the Heldrake Terror Pack.
Which leads to what I think is probably the most useful Auxiliary choice. The Heldrake Terror Pack lets you take multiple Heldrakes with no tax. They automatically reduce the leadership values of units within 12" of them, which can be extraordinarily beneficial. The Merciless Pursuit special rule allows them to make d6 hits on their vector strike to units that have been pinned, are falling back, or have gone to ground. Pretty strong but very situational.
There are some other interesting formations that make up the auxiliary choices, such as the Helforged Warpack, and the Terminator Annihilation Force, but I won't get into them here as I find them a bit too expensive to be viable. You can also fill in your obligatory auxiliary slot with any unit of cult troops such as Thousand Sons or Noise Marines although they get no additional benefit which is disappointing, or with a unit of Chaos Spawn, which is a cheap and effective way to fill out that requirement in my opinion.
I think the Black Crusade Detachment is good, but obviously not anywhere near the power scale of Space Marines. That said, I think Traitor's Hate offers some fresh ways to play the army that allows you to use Chaos Marines and still not get your eyes beat out every game.
I've written previously about the Cyclopia Cabal, and I think they can work very well within this Black Crusade detachment. Here's a list I made which I think highlights some of the better points of the new supplement.
++1850 Black Crusade++
+++Black Crusade Detachment+++
Chaos Lord, Mark of Khorne, Axe of Blind Fury, Juggernaut, sigil
Chosen 2x meltaguns, Rhino w/ dirge caster
2x Chaos Space Marines 1 plasma each, Rhinos w/ dirge caster
Chaos Bikers x6 w/ 2x meltaguns, champ w/ power fist
Havocs 4x Autocannons
++Heldrake Terror Pack++
2x Heldrakes w/ Baleflamer
Chaos Spawn Mark of Nurgle x4
+++Black Legion Formation: Cyclopia Cabal+++
Sorcerers x3 bikes, vets of long war, spell familiar, 1x Black Mace, 2x Force Staff, ML3
The idea here is to run the juggerlord with the bikes and the Cabal together. The sorcerers and the bikers are all unmarked to allow this. Each turn the juggerlord is getting stronger with the boon rolls and he's also objective secured giving you a powerhouse obsec death star unit. I've discussed the Cabal in previous posts and what they can do. It offers you a powerhouse close combat unit with high mobility to supplement your troops and allow them to move around the battlefield to collect objectives and harass the enemy. This is just one example and I'm anxious to try it out.
Traitor's Hate isn't the answer to fix Chaos Space Marines, but there are still plenty of reasons to dust off those chaos models and break them out again. Don't buy into all the hate. The supplement isn't perfect but it makes the army much better than before.
CSM Traitors Hate: An Honest Look Reviewed by Robert Chandler on 9:26:00 AM Rating: