To be honest, cheap infantry isn't a problem for anyone.
And each Assback kills about 6 cultists a turn, which is about 30 points worth of cultists.
Each shot at cultist is not aimed at more critical units.
Each Razorback equipped to deal with rabble is not super well equipped to deal with tougher targets (1 TEQ a turun)
Once again, it's not about surviving unscathed, it's about saturating and distracting. If the opponent wants to waste shots at the cultists and not touch the tougher guys, that's all fine but bad for board control. It's totally fine if the cultists die, they are meat shields for more interesting units.
If the opponent decides to prioritize juicier targets, you still have a lot of bodies for board control and silencing guns in fall back scenarios.
What I'm getting at, the Chaos Codex just doesn't have the variety of shoots units that the loyalists have aside from a couple of gems. And making them work well costs a hefty amount of command points, which is not the case for loyalists.
(Aside from Chaos Terminators, I don't see a unit that has similar punch to Sternguards or Hellblasters. Devastators are straight up better than Havocs with Signum and Cherub)
Chaos units outperform loyalists at closer ranges (Raptors vs Assault Marines for example if we take the less impressive units), but close range without good delivery mechanisms like pods implies that a lot of casualties will be taken.
Hence having more bodies. And rabble for tactical annoyance
When playing Marines and facing an elite heavy Chaos player, it's almost a godsend. Yes units are cool, but if he has as many models as me, my army is at an advantage just for the straight up better shooting. I will kill lots of his models at range and blunt his assault so by turn 3 he is not a threat.
If he outnumbers me by 50% or 100% with some shenanigans, I will probably kill as many models but get rekt once he reaches melee. Especially if he forces me to deal with pesky annoying cultists.
Sometimes units don't have to get their points back by pure killing power. Sometimes they just need to do enough to enable other units to do their job. Multiple big blobs of Cultists are extremely annoying for most things. Multiple damaged Cultists blobs less so.
Also AssBacks would kill ~7.8 Cultists since there's most likely at least a Captain nearby in a non-UM army and battleshock would kill another 2-7. So more like 10-11 dead Cultists from a AssBack unless it's against Iron Warriors with the right Warlord trait. They do that 2-3 times and have killed enough Cultists to get their points back.
Of course if the Marine player could just shoot at Marines he would do that instead (~3 dead Marines) but that just means the cheap Infantry is even less of a problem because it wasn't even worth to shoot at. And again, they're cheap. It's not like the Marine player loses anything by taking some of them. He still has more than enough points to include other units.
I don't see how Cultist help you at all against a tough Marine list. The Marine player doesn't have to get near so covering area to prevent reserves won't do much and other than acting as puffer for characters they are pretty much to be ignored most of the time. Cultists have their uses but they won't change the outcome much against a tough Marine list.
Edited by sfPanzer, 22 October 2017 - 06:06 PM.