On the subject of making CSMs better: had a long, drawn out game tonight that was more like an argument. We house ruled a couple things to give Chaos more of an advantage, thought I'd share some of what happened while it's still fresh.
He plays Ultramarines and his perspective on NuMarines is similar but different than ones I've expressed in this thread. He agrees NuMarines have all these new toys / tactics that affect fundamental mechanics in the game. However, he still thinks of Marines as costly elite army, each unit lost results in a substantial reduction of power. In other words, they are not a glass hammer, more like a copper one. I shared some of my experiences in previous games with a "standard" Chaos army, and we decided to try something to make the game more fair.
I used my standard Black Legion gunline but I subbed out the Lascannons on the CSMs for Reaper Chain Cannons / Butcher Cannons on the Contemptors, and replaced the Cultists with 2 Jump Pack Sorcerers. I didn't take notes on his list, but it was mostly Primaris units from the Shadowspear and Dark Imperium sets - Intercessors, Suppressors, Eliminators and Infiltrators, along with a couple Redemptors. 80% infantry on both sides.
The house rules were as follows:
- All Chaos powers were changed to Area of Effect. Instead of affecting a single unit, all units in range of the spell (including the caster) were affected.
- We played a mission from Shadowspear, where there was a single objective and Chaos got points for each turn a Sorcerer held it. We changed the mission to add a second objective to the Imperial side, where they got points for holding it. The winner would be the side that had the most points at the end.
Here's how the game went.
- He went first, deploying his Infiltrators near my lines and holding the rest back. He got off some shots on Havocs, costing me 2 Chaincannons right away. The Eliminators and Suppressors mostly fired on the Contemptors, wounding a couple.
- My army moved forward. I played aggressively and didn't leave a Sorcerer on the objective. Abaddon landed at a point just between the Interceptor squads and right near the Daemon Prince. I cast Warp Time - which had a range of 3 - and moved up the Havocs and the Contemptors, along with a Sorcerer. I cast Prescience, which affected all these units. Chaincannons from the CSM squads managed to destroy one of the Interceptors. Chaincannons from the Havocs managed to kill 5 Intercessors. Butcher Cannons managed to catch one of the Redemptors, doing a fair number of wounds. The Daemon Prince failed a charge on one of the Interceptors and took some wounds.
- In his next turn, he used a Stratagem to give a 10-man Intercessor squad the Tactical Doctrine while the rest of his army was still using Devastator. He moved the Intercessors out of charge range, moved up with the Redemptors, and most of the rest of his army stood still. They destroyed one of the Contemptors and 1 of the Havoc Squads, leaving Abaddon exposed. He took some shots from the Suppressors and lost a couple wounds. He tried and failed a charge on Abaddon with the wounded Intercessor squad. It wasn't dire, but I only had one full unit of Chaincannon Havocs remaining (along with the CSMs) and needed them to get some work done.
- In my next turn, I moved everything forward, bunching models up near the Sorcerers to maximize their powers. I got off Warp Time, Prescience and Diabolic Strength, along with a couple smites. This time, the Havocs, Contemptors, Daemon Prince, Abaddon, and a couple CSM squads were affected. During the shooting phase, he lost his remaining Infiltrators and some Intercessors, along with some wounds off both the Redemptors (both were still alive.) The Suppressors and the Eliminators were out of range. Abaddon and the Daemon Prince charged Intercessors, destroying one unit and leaving a couple models from the other.
- His turn 3 went like this: he fell back with the remaining Intercessor, destroyed my Havocs, put wounds on my Contemptors, and managed to kill a Sorcerer with sniper rifles. He charged Abaddon with a Primaris Captain and Lieutenant, forcing me to interrupt to kill the Lieutenant as Abaddon was suddenly on his last wound. He charged the Daemon Prince with a Redemptor, taking it down to a couple wounds before fighting back. The Daemon Prince managed to destroy the Redemptor because he had Diabolic Strength and Prescience, getting wounds on most of his attacks.
- My turn 3 went like this: Abaddon fell back, the CSMs and the Contemptors moved up, the Sorcerers put Prescience and Diabolic Strength on everything, the Daemon Prince but Weaver of Fates on himself. They also cast Death Hex on the Primaris Captain, which allowed the Chaincannons to gun him down. The Contemptors fired on the Suppressors, killing all but one. He also had a Librarian, who hadn't played much of a role in this game. One Sorcerer was able to put some wounds on him with Daemon Shell. The Daemon Prince was still in combat with the Redemptor but didn't have Prescience and Diabolic Strength this turn, so I used VotLW to give him +1 to wound. He killed the Redemptor before he had a chance to strike back.
- By turn 4, he had a Librarian, a Redemptor, a Suppressor, and a squad of Eliminators (I think - the ones with the sniper rifles.) If you remember the mission, each of us had an objective. He was up 7 points to 0, the Librarian had been standing by it the whole game. I had more units but we both knew he could win just by killing the rest of my Sorcerers. In the shooting phase, he destroyed a Contemptor, took a Sorcerer down to 2 wounds, and managed to gun down enough CSMs to create a nice gap for the Redemptor to charge both of the remaining Sorcerers. The Redemptor did manage to charge the Sorcerers but only got one. The Librarian charged a CSM squad. In combat, the Redemptor killed the Sorcerer and the Librarian killed half the CSMs. The remaining models were just outside Abaddon's morale bubble and I lost the remainder of the squad.
- My turn 4 went like this: the surviving Sorcerer flew back to the objective. 2 CSM squads opened up with Chaincannons and managed to do a couple wounds to the Librarian. The Contemptor did a ton of wounds to the Redemptor and somehow it managed to make all its saves. Abaddon charged the Redemptor and the Daemon Prince charged the Librarian. In combat, Abaddon did some wounds to the Redemptor and made all his saves. The DP and the Librarian both whiffed.
- His turn 5 went like this: the Librarian used smite on the DP, doing one wound. The Suppressors shot at the Sorcerer and failed to wound. The Redemptor managed to wound Abaddon, killing him. The Librarian whiffed in combat, the DP promptly killed him.
- My turn 5 went like this: the DP and the remaining CSMs moved towards the Supressors to destroy them. The Sorcerer moved behind the objective, preventing LOS from the Redemptor. The Contemptor wounded the Redemptor, which managed to make all it's saves. The CSMs managed to put a wound on one Eliminators, the DP made a long charge to catch them in combat but died to overwatch. The Contemptor charged the Redemptor to tie it up in combat.
- At this point, the score was 4 - 6. We rolled to see if the game continued and it did. The Eliminators immediately gunned down the Sorcerer. Since I had no way to earn additional points, the game was over. He won.
- The game was close, I might have won had I kept a Sorcerer on the objective. Saying might because the Eliminators could have taken him out at any time. Not sure what the answer would have been.
- Making Chaos Psychic Powers area of effect might be a valid solution to some of the issues posed by NuMarines. Made it much simpler to mount an offense when I could Warptime several units at once.
- I'm really not a fan of chaincannons due to the range. One of the side benefits of the house rules was that I could get them in range. Deadly once they are in position.
- There's ways to optimize around AoE by bunching units around each other. This was a positive and a negative. Having everything in one location meant I had to fight through a lot of stuff to get to the unit that ultimately ended the game.
- As far as the original argument goes, nothing in this game persuaded me NuMarines are anything approaching a glass hammer, fighting Chaos or otherwise. The army remained a threat throughout the entire game. Where I had some sympathy was with regard to massed shooting, Intercessors don't stand up to 60+ shot barrages as well as one might think. Dark Eldar can probably stand up to NuMarines a lot better than other factions.