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Running Chaos Space Marines


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#1
HCMistborn

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I plan to run some post heresy Sons of Horus as Black Legion, what is the best way to run Chaos Space Marines?

#2
Slan Drakkos

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I plan to run some post heresy Sons of Horus as Black Legion, what is the best way to run Chaos Space Marines?

hmm....it all depends on what sort of approach you want to got with. What do you value in an army? Speed/mobility, durability, close combat ability, psychic powers, or flexibility? Once you answer that, we can have an easier time helping you plan your army.

#3
HCMistborn

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I'd like them to operate similiar to Sons of Horus in the heresy series, a speartip strike followed by close shooting infantry and finally assault. I'm looking for a non-mutated look, outside of possessed and a few daemon engines. I'd like to run Abaddon as well.

#4
Dr_Ruminahui

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Are you looking for gaming tips, what units are strong, what are good synergies?  Or are you looking from a background or story perspective as what units or models work in that sense with the force you have described?

 

And are you talking about "chaos space marines" generally to refer to the codex, or more specifically about the chaos space marine troop choice.  Because if it the latter, be warned that chaos space marines, like most power armoured troop units are not doing so well this edition and as such are now usually being passed over for other options.


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#5
HCMistborn

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Well, I currently have 5 cataphracti terminators un painted, and want to buy Burning of Prospero cause I love Tartaros and Mk3

#6
Redtoof

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I’ve heard of people having success with big blobs of Marines (2 or 3 squads of 20) moving up around Abaddon combined with some fire support units like Havocs or predators. As mentioned regular Chaos Marines are not the most optimal choice but they aren’t absolutely useless and Abaddon will probably get the best out of them.
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#7
RolandTHTG

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For the "Speartip strike" effect, combiplasma termis still pack a punch when they come in, even if it has to be delayed until turn 2 now. 

1-2 combiplasma termis, a couple blobs of marines with abaddon, and havoks/predators/Forgefiends in the backfield would probably be a good start for your collection. 


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#8
battle captain corpus

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Cannot emphasise enough how much I enjoy running Abaddon with blobs of Black Legion marines and Cultists! :D

 

I struggled to get him to work but personally I have found this great. Also, make sure you play to our strengths! Mixed units with close combat weapons AND Bolters works well with our Black Crusader rules ;)

 

Congrats too, Sons of Horus and Black Legion are a great army in 8th, you're in for a great ride! :)

 

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#9
Closet Skeleton

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Terminators are garbage right now. Convert your cataphracti into obliterators or wait for chapter approved. Havoks in termites are better in pretty much every way and upgrading those to chosen might even be acceptable if you insist on thematic point sinks.

 

Best way to run CSM troops seems to be 2 units of 5 with plasma gun, combi-plasma/chainaxe sergeant in a rhino with 2 combi-bolters. Real power weapons are good but the chainaxe is just so points efficient that its worth taking even if you don't know if you're going to get into combat.

 

I've had some experience with 20 man squads and they're just too expensive to support properly.


Edited by Closet Skeleton, 18 June 2018 - 06:01 PM.

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#10
HCMistborn

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I want to play them as close to the decapitation strike and close assault specialists they were as a legion
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#11
Redtoof

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Terminators are overcosted and vulnerable to plasma but they are probably more usable now than they have been for about a decade. 8th Terminators are way better than 7th Terminators. Outside of top table competitive play you can definitely make them work and if/when they get a points drop I think they will be pretty solid.
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#12
40kChris

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I want to play them as close to the decapitation strike and close assault specialists they were as a legion


The update to Chosen was nice. Now you can have Bolter, bolt pistol, chainsword Chosen again. Back in 6th/7th I used plasma Chosen squads but I just relegate them to being Havocs anymore. It’s cheaper points wise.

Berserkers with an Icon should be an option for you. Khârn is still a beast. If you’re looking for close assault specialists then going World Eaters would probably be better.

Possessed can work, MoS with an Icon of Excess means their Death to the Flase Emperor rule can be more efficient and don’t need a character to baby sit them either. If you use Demons they can benefit from Herald auras.

Double power scourge Helbrutes could also be a thing with decent Cultist screen in front of them to get somewhere. Just one dishes out a 11, I think... not in front of my book, attacks.

CC Contemptors and Leviathans are scary.

Personally I go for Oblits over Predators for the mobility of dropping them in a back line if I can.

I think BL is better for minimum sized shooting units so the extra LD helps them stay around, the trait is good on constantly moving Cultist blobs with a Lord for rerolls but something like Renegades is better for assault being able to move-advance-charge which makes a unit like Possessed super mobile.

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#13
Trevak Dal

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Regarding the chosen faq, so I could have a unit of 5 with power axes, bolters and plasma pistols?

(Yes terminators would be "better" unless you hate how Terminators look like I do. There are only three good sets of terminator models Imo, tantaros, Deathwing Knights and Grey Knights, the rest are variations of stooped and stupid...but are effective and came with my kits so I used them.)

Edited by Trevak Dal, 10 July 2018 - 05:10 AM.

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#14
Scourged

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Almost... The champion still has the odd rules to him, so he'd have to sacrifice the bolter for the plasma pistol. But otherwise, yeah, that squad works now.

I did some playing over the weekend. Took that axe and combi bolter squad I've been painting. They... Were alright. Infiltrated them with a blade of the hydra lord. Between shooting and melee over four turns they and the lord killed 9 intercessors and a primaries lieutenant. Half of that was the lord.

Once it became a five vs five of chosen and primaris, they just slowly ground each other down for three turns until primaris champ finished off mine. So they killed more than they cost, which is always beneficial. But it also cost two command points to do it, so... Eh.

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#15
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I would personally set up a Sons of Horus Reaver Squad as Berzerkers....they even typically used chainaxes. Just take the Reavers straight off of Forge World and add some Khorne Iconography. Dreadclaws work nicely with this as well, since you want a speartip strike.

 

Buy Destroyers and add Plague Marine bits to get your own Plague Marines. Best bet for them in a Black Legion army is probably spamming Plasma Guns and rolling them onto mid-table objectives to hold using their durability.

 

For Terminators, Plasma is generally the thing right now. Mark with Slaanesh to shoot more and benefit from Delightful Agonies. Spartan optional.

 

Bikes benefit a fair amount from the Black Legion trait, since they always advance 6" and shooting after that makes it even better.

 

Raptors are generally good for one particular thing: dropping in with Plasma (Squad of 5 with Plas/Plas/Combi-Plas is solid).

 

Always take at least one squad of regular CSM for the "Let the Galaxy Burn" Stratagem, which can let them reroll all misses when away from Abaddon's bubble. Either use a 10 man squad with 2 Heavy Weapons to stay back and shoot as the rest of your army advances or run a 20 man blob to surge forward (however, the latter strategy REQUIRES significant Psychic/Stratagem support).

 

Predators and Las/Scourge Helbrutes are fun. From personal experience, I can tell you that Contemptors are absolute beasts.

 

There's a user on here, techsoldaten, who runs Cultist blobs backed by dual Heavy Weapon CSM, Helbrutes, Predators, and Abaddon. He tends to do pretty well with that combo.


Edited by GreaterChickenofTzeentch, 10 July 2018 - 10:06 PM.


#16
masterstrider

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I want to play them as close to the decapitation strike and close assault specialists they were as a legion

 

I think what the community is trying to say here is that: the fluff does not match the 8th edition rules in Codex: CSM. You can play them that way, but mechanically, they may not function as effectively as their fluff indicates. 

 

Terminators are not the best in the meta right now. They're over-costed, suffer from mobility issues, an their premier weapon load out (combi-plasma) is fraught with high-risk of exploding and killing the firer.

 

Chicken's post above has the right of it for everything else.

 

Premier units you want, if you want to play to the competitive Black Legion meta right now are:

Tier 1: Cultists (lots of them), Obliterators, Abaddon, Daemon Princes, Sorcerers (foot/jump pack), Autocannon/Las Predators.

Tier 2: Berzerkers + transport, Noise Marines + transport, Bikers, Maulerfiend (melee), Vindicator, Daemon Support (30+ bloodletter bomb and/or pink horror bomb and/or plaguebearer wall)

Tier 3: the rest.

 

Composition and synergies are everything this edition. As someone who is starting out, I would recommend you decide if you want to play 100% fluff, 100% competitive or 50% of each. Then do the following:

100% fluff: buy stuff you like and make a cool looking army.

100% comp: look up the ATC lists that were posted on Competitive 40k facebook post, or search around the net for them. That will give you some ideas as to what the pros use.

50% split: Use the tier list above to guide what you purchase and deploy.

 

Personally, I tend to play 70/30 comp/fluff. I have the following as my core force. I don't run all of it at once, but this is my selection.

Abaddon (fearless aura, +2CP when warlord, reroll aura for Black Legion - epic buffs), 1-3 Daemon Princes (as required), 1-2 Sorcerers (foot/JP as needed), 8-16 Berzerkers (Chain Axe + Chain Swords), 10 Noise Marines (Sonic Blasters), a few Rhinos for transport and protection, 60-90 Cultists (groups of 30-40, or split into 6 x 10 man, as required), 3 x 3 Obliterators, 1-3 Predators, 6 Bikers (stock no upgrades).

 

That has face rolled most people I play against, even without cheesy net-lists. Tactics are very important, so you will need to practice and read up on the forums on the best way to maximise your tactics.

 

Hopefully that helps you.


Edited by masterstrider, 10 July 2018 - 11:42 PM.


#17
Redtoof

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Vindicators in T2? I thought they were considered one of the worst units in the book?
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#18
techsoldaten

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To the OP: I run Black Legion and can share some thoughts.

 

I've run them mainly in 3 kinds of lists: long range, Cultist heavy, and up close. Imagining Cultist heavy doesn't suit your vision, so I will talk about the others.

 

The Long Range list is a gunline, I take 3 Predators, a couple Helbrutes, 3 squads of 10 CSMs, Abaddon, a Daemon Prince, and as many Cultists as I can fit. When I deploy, I cluster everything around Abaddon and don't move until turn 3 unless it's absolutely necessary. Also, I take as many lascannons as possible - 4 on each Pred, 2 on each Helbrute, 2 on each CSM squad, about 24 total.

 

The big strength of this list is you get rerolls to hit on everything within 6 inches of Abaddon and you are immune from morale. Most other armies are not equipped to deal with this kind of firepower, so you have a couple turns to just blow away tanks, elites, etc. The lesser strength of this list is Cultists - use them effectively as screens and no one can charge your other units until turn 3, then you just fall back and let the lascannons do their work. Remember, once you can hit with a lascannons, you have a great chance to wound.

 

The big weakness of this list is objectives. 8th edition 40k puts a lot of emphasis on playing games where you grab objectives. This list is at it's strongest when it's standing still. I play a lot of games where I am simply trying to deny my opponent opportunities to score VPs, which is not natural for most 40k players. Once you've played it a few times, you know when to split off your Cultists to grab objectives, how to use Tide of Traitors for late game scoring, etc. But it takes a lot of getting used to.

 

The Up Close list is a little different. I was playing this at the start of 8th and have recently come back to it.

 

You put 2 squads of 10 Noise Marines in a Kharybdis Assault Claw, you deep strike Abaddon and a Chaos Sorcerer, and you compliment them with whatever you want - I usually take a couple squads of Terminators, a Daemon Prince, a Maulerfiend, and an assortment of Chaos Space Marines, Cultists and Bikers. Land the Kharybdis in your opponent's deployment zone and go to town with shooting while the rest of your forces move up. But the NMs and the KAC are your hammer.

 

I was really down on Noise Marines for a long time but I've come around to using them as dedicated infantry / screen killers. Prescience + Eternal Cacophony + rerolls to hit from Abaddon on one Noise Marine squad means you are getting 64 shots with Sonic Blasters + whatever you get from Blastmasters (plus half that from the other NM squad.) I've had a few games where I wiped out a couple 30-man Guard squads in a single turn, and they like the taste of most Eldar armis as well. While all this is going on, you are charging with your Kharybdis and using the Melta Cutters to eat vehicles.

 

The downside is those Noise Marines do die easily. It's really important to get other troops up to support Abaddon and the Sorcerer right away, one of the pitfalls is you can have them standing by themselves for a turn taking shots.

 

Part of why I like this list post-FAQ has to do with game mechanics, 40k is a game with 5 turns. Everything else is a bonus. You can't land with the KAC first turn, it has to come in 2nd. Your opponent is going to spread out their forces during that first turn, set up gunlines, etc. Letting your opponent set up seems to be the key to making this work, it tells you what to take down. I've had a couple games where I cleared almost everything off one side of the board so that the rest of my army could advance. The beta strike you get with this list is very disruptive, you go from weak to strong and your opponent doesn't know how to respond.

 

That's a couple things you can do with Black Legion, the KAC, the CSMs and the Predators would lend themselves well to an army drawing from a 30k force. I am in the opposite boat, building my SoH forces out after 8 years of doing Black Legion. All I can say is it's fun using colors besides black.


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#19
masterstrider

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Vindicators in T2? I thought they were considered one of the worst units in the book?

 

It's actually really points efficient for 125pts. It's basically a T8, W11 unit that fires D3-D6 S10 Lascannon shots. It either draws firepower away from your other units like Obliterators, Berzerkers, etc., because it can cripple their heavy support, or it gets ignored as people underestimate what it can dish out. Two units for 250pts dishes out 2D3-2D6 S10 Lascannon shots. That's better than most people give them credit for. Their biggest weakness is the 24" range, but this is less of a problem with Black Legion. Keep them near Abaddon for rerolls or use the Blasphemous Machines stratagem to allow them to move and fire without penalty. They are so tough they can also be used as roadblocks.

 

In saying that, they're probably T3, but I found them as a great distraction, giving my elite units a chance to get up the board and into position.

 

@Techsoldaten

Noise Marines are awesome. I've been running 9 in a unit (1 space left in the rhino for HQ on foot) with all Sonic Blasters and Combi-Bolter. 3 shots each + 2-4 for the combi-bolter, Endless Cacophony + VotLW when needed, maybe a reroll or Prescience and they can nuke a screen. Hit them with Warptime and they move 12" + 3" if they exit a vehicle so their threat range is 36-39".

 

I'm actually testing a new unit out, and while it may sound crazy, I think it may work out well. It's 9 Rubric Marines, 8 Warp Flamers + Asp Sorcerer, accompanied by a Sorcerer on Foot with Weaver of Fates and Death Hex. Swap the Aspiring Sorcerer's spell for Warptime. So, the unit now moves 5". Then it advances D6". The flamers are assault 8". Cast Warptime on the unit so they now move 10" + 2D6" advancing for an avg of 18", for a threat range of ~26". Cast Weaver of Fates (+1 invul save) so now they have a 3+/4++ save against all weapons, and a 2+/3++ vs Damage 1 weapons. The unit now puts out 8D6 (28-32 hits on avg), S4, Ap-2, 1D shots, auto hitting, with +1 to wound with VotLW. That will kill a unit of Shining Spears in 1 turn provided you get off Death Hex, or take out a flyer. If only they could use Endless Cacophony...Anyway, I am experimenting with running them on foot to save points on Rhinos, but it's terrain dependent. Without LoS blocking, they'd die pretty quickly. They don't need much to make them really good, but they become a massive target as soon as they leave out into the open. They need dedicated heavy weapons to bring them down, which is a great distraction, allowing your Obliterators and back line vehicles a turn of respite.


Edited by masterstrider, 11 July 2018 - 11:22 PM.


#20
Tokugawa

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Comparing with Basilisks, then you would know there is huuuuge difference between "(doubtful)effective in a book" and "effective in the game".

Vindicators almost always waste their turn1, while other lascannon platforms firing with all barrels. S10? S10 is just a self-deceiving profile. 95% chance,your S10 make no difference with S9.

Edited by Tokugawa, 12 July 2018 - 02:56 AM.


#21
Vykes

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Well, HCMistborn, gotta say I do the exact same thing with my Sons of Horus. Black Legion... pretty fun, usually overlooked and that 'pseudo-assault bolters' tend to be forgotten.

 

I'd definitely mention one thing: the 30K range is an awesome range, but a lot of the Heresy Era units need to be pseudo proxied. But that's not a problem (with reasonable opponents, that is). It actually lends a lot to the possibilities of a Black Legion list without limiting it to straight non-cult troops. (Breacher “Plague marines”, Reaver “Khrone Berserkers”, Seeker “Rubric”... the last seems weird but the munitions work great even if I like my Rubrics as Volkite siege troops and Seeker “Chosen”, Thallax “Obliterators”, Castellax “Forgefiends”, Thanator “Defilers”. Anything can be done... except speeders.. unless you think of them as stimmed up helltalons who just gotta go fast...bleh.)

 

Others have said it well: the good Dr. Ruminahui and Redtoof are right, the power armour is a little more fragile (but read enough 30K books and you get a good feel for being blown to pieces en masse, and we're not impervious in 30K by any means). But honestly, I love the chaos big-squad sizes for legionnaires. They take losses, they take moral losses too, but they do tend to get to targets. With Abbadon around and properly supported, they are surprisingly dangerous. Like Battle Captain Corpus said, big legion platoons! (I run 2-3 platoons of 20, 2 havoc squads as legion support troops with special weapons) and supported by contemptors and/or some decent armour. Again, mine is a heavier line company with an assault element so I run it aggressive with minimal militia/cultist support (just 10 in a 10K army).  

 

The FW indexes aren't always the most efficient but they give us back a chunk of our proper equipment.  We're not some scummy warband of rag tag ragamoffin 'chaos heretic astartes', we're legionnaires of the 16th

 

Just don't neglect the Betrayal at Calth set, mate. The mk.III is awesome (and Warmaster knows I use it too) but missile launchers, flamers, and good ol' proper mk IV is great, too!


Edited by Vykes, 12 July 2018 - 04:22 AM.

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#22
masterstrider

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Comparing with Basilisks, then you would know there is huuuuge difference between "(doubtful)effective in a book" and "effective in the game".

Vindicators almost always waste their turn1, while other lascannon platforms firing with all barrels. S10? S10 is just a self-deceiving profile. 95% chance,your S10 make no difference with S9.

 

Well CSM don't have Basilisks, do they?

 

Vindicators waste their turn 1...right...that makes no sense.

 

I know the S10/S9 distinction doesn't matter that much. That's not my point at all, I was just indicating the weapon profile for those who don't know it.

 

Hrmm, you mention Lascannons platforms being superior. So let's compare other Lascannon weapon platforms and see point for point what we get, shall we?

 

Helbrute: Scourge and Twin Lascannon sits at 165 points. Very expensive, 8W, T7. 40 points more than the Vindicator. Attracts heavy weapons like a magnet.

CSM Troop: 1 Lascannon and 5 marines comes in at 90 points. Cheap ablative wounds for a Lascannon caddy, but also low output and survivability.

Havoks: 3 Lascannons and 5 marines comes in a 140 points. Very expensive, 5W, T4. You get 3 more shots, but then you die to small arms fire or mortars.

Predator: Autocannon + 2 Lascannons comes in at 180 points. 190 points for the quad Lascannon variant. Very expensive, T7, 11W, 70 points more than a Vindicator. Good option but way more expensive. Attracts heavy weapons like a magnet.

Landraider: Quad Lascannon comes in at 356 points. Expensive paper weight. 

 

Are you noticing a trend here? These options are  generally very expensive and many have low survivability or just as much output as the Vindicator for a much higher points cost. I'm not saying the Vindicator is the best vehicle in the world. But it has its merits and I think gets overlooked.



#23
sfPanzer

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24" is much more of a problem than you give credit for.

It forces you to deploy them last to position them anywhere near their targets, they have to move before they can shoot which reduces their damage output and moves them closer toward the opponents advancing troops and once their targets are gone they struggle to find other proper targets if the opponent spread his armor over the board a little bit.

In a game where killing stuff turn 1 is so devastating you can't really afford to have a limited target selection and reducing your damage output with your "long range" anti-tank.


Disclaimer:

If my posts appear rude to you, I apologize. It's not meant to be rude in any way, it's just the way folks are in my country. It's really more about being direct than being rude. I know how it's perceived in the english speaking community and I already try to tone it down but I barely notice when it's too much since it's normal for me.


So yeah, I'm really not rude it's basically just cultural differences that act against me here. Again, I apologize.

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#24
AHorriblePerson

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I think the discussion is getting a little bit off-topic.


If you want to run post-heresy Sons of Horus as Black Legion inspired by the lore, there are a couple of unit recommendations that I can make:

-Tactical Space Marines. The SoH relied on them a lot, as pointed out in HH book 1 iirc. I'd say that hasn't changed. I'd recommend fielding them in 5-man squads, 10-man max, as you want them to take objectives and maybe put a dent into enemy infantry or vehicles with plasma guns or lascannons. Don't drop too many points into them in an army list - most of the strengths of a CSM army (and of the Sons) lie in other unit types than troops.

-One of the SoH's prime units were the Reaver Assault Squads. I'd say that there are two good ways to represent them: Vykes and GreaterChickenofTzeentch proposed Khorne Berzerkers, and they're absolutely right: They're the close combat specialists, and ten of them can dish out 61 attacks a turn. You're in need of dead space marines? It's probably a good idea to field them.
The other option are Raptors, as the Reavers were also known to use jump packs. I think they'd be a good unit for representing the continuous assaults that precede a Sons of Horus decapitation strike. Let them jump into the fray, soften the enemy up with a few well-placed plasma shots, and pick out your next target.

-After the heresy, daemonic possession ran rampant through the whole legion, though there were daemon hosts among the marines of the sixteenth already in form of the Luperci - Possessed make a lot of sense as assault troops in a post heresy SoH army.

-Terminators are another big unit for the Sons of Horus/Black Legion. A unit of them with good equipment arriving in the enemy's back line can be a real problem if they attack the right target, essentially peforming the precision strikes the legion is famous for.
Alternatively, you could use Obliterators. The virus that created them ran rampant through all the legions - I'm sure that the Sons weren't left untouched. In some ways, they're improved terminators and can perform surgical strikes just as effectively, if not better. Heavy infantry, tough characters and small to medium-sized vehicles seem to be the targets they perform best against.

 

-Helbrutes are good heavy support, as are Hellforged Contemptor Dreadnoughts. I'd say that the former are best used staying back and shooting, while the latter can also be a cause for your enemy's concern in close combat, as he tears vehicles and walkers apart while being able to take a beating. Considering that the Sons of Horus were one of the most well-equipped legions during the Great Crusade and the Horus Heresy, it makes sense that they'd have a few of them.

-If you're looking to field tanks, I'd say Predators are a decent choice. This is not only because of their good weaponry, but also because one of its best attributes is flexibility, something very important for SoH vehicles. Hellforged Sicarans from Forge World are basically improved Predators, so there's another idea.
Of course, you should have a few Rhinos in your arsenal. Wether you're transporting units to objectives or some Berzerkers into the melee, you want two or three to keep your marines from getting picked off.

-Using Abaddon might be an odd choice, as he wants to see his old legion dead and buried. But in the end, it's your army and you can do whatever you want.

Again, I'm looking at your question from a standpoint that puts the lore first, with a little bit of consideration of the meta thrown in there. If you want to assemble a hard-hitting and super-effective army, masterstrider and a few others can give you great advice. I hope that helps.


Edited by AHorriblePerson, 12 July 2018 - 03:16 PM.

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