Thursday, 29 June 2017

Rise of the Chaos Terminator

One of the nice things about 8th Edition is that units that previously got left on the shelf are getting a  bit more tabletop time. Of those, possibly one of the best examples is Chaos Terminators, though if you were a bit of a meta-hound in the latter days of 7th Edition you might need to do a bit of work to fully reap the bounty.

Late in 7th Ed, the Traitor's Hate and Traitor Legions supplements added the Terminator Annihilation Force formation- several squads of Chaos Terminators led by a Terminator character who could shoot immediately after Deep Striking as well as getting bonuses vs a marked target. It was a fun formation, if very expensive, and to maximise its effectiveness I made my three squads of Terminators all with combi-weapons.

Fast-forward to 8th Ed and whoa mama. With the advent of combi-weapons that now fire more than once, the humble Chaos Terminator has become a serious force for destruction, to the extent that I'm considering adding another unit with combi-flamers to the three units I already have, two with plasmas and one with meltas. It's not just the fact that you can Deep Strike units who are all effectively armed with special weapons without error, however, it's the support you can give them.

Chaos Sorcerers in Terminator armour are the special sauce that makes their fellow Terminators so nasty, due to the way they nicely deal with two of the major problems the Terminators would otherwise face. Firstly, we all know that a problem with deep-striking meltas is the 9" distance limit preventing you getting that re-roll on the damage. Admittedly five meltaguns should do plenty of damage anyway, but the Sorcerer has the perfect tool for the job in Warptime, which allows the target to make an extra move. Not only does that get us into melta (or indeed, flamer) range, but it can also be used to improve the chances of an Assault straight out of Deep Strike, allowing the Terminators to make full use of all those extra weapon options they have.

Plasma Terminators, on the other hand, live in mortal fear of killing themselves with their own guns if they decide to Overcharge them. Since you no longer get to use their save against a Get Hot, most players will be very wary of doing it with such expensive troops except in the most dire of situations. To the rescue again comes our Sorcerer, this time with Prescience, which gives a unit a flat +1 to hit. As per the designers commentary, that means that not only do the Terminators now hit on a 2+, they can't overheat. Zounds. You can also keep a friendly Daemon Prince nearby to let them re-roll 1s to hit, and since re-rolls are applied before modifiers, that stacks with Prescience, but some might consider this overkill.

Now I should point out that so far I've only played 8th Ed with Power, so obviously the fact that my Terminators are tricked out to the max has been nothing but an advantage. With points values, the cost per-unit probably makes things less efficient, but this is still a beautiful set of synergies that screams to be tried out. Here's an example of a 75 power setup:

Vanguard Detachment: Sorcerer in Terminator armour, 3 units of Chaos Terminators

Battalion Detachment: Daemon Prince, Dark Apostle, 3 units of Cultists.

This list is by no means totally optimised- you'd probably do better with a second Sorcerer rather than the Prince and it only actually uses 74 Power- but it still generates 7 Command Points and satisfies the Tactical Reserves rule. I tried it out in our FLGS introductory 8th Ed tournament (which was Matched Play with Power) and it was pretty decent, going 3-0.

The best part of all this, though, is that Chaos Terminators now have access to a set of dirty tricks which the Loyalists don't, which is nice to see. We can expect some Primaris Terminators to redress the balance any time now, I'm guessing!

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