Editor's Note: This army was made before the 7th edition Warriors of Chaos book.
Writer's Note (9/2009): Here's a link to the 7th ed. Warriors of Chaos profile, so long good 'ol HoC...
The beginning of my chaos army dates back to the final days of the ah-so-silly whfb 5th edition. I was looking to start a melee oriented army and chaos fit the bill pretty good with it's impressive characters and elite troops. I was quickly taught that the game was all about hero-hammer, though, but luckily the much improved 6th edition was just around the corner. The Ravening Hordes list was a great starting point for chaos players as it was full of underpriced choices (altough this didn't necessarily made any opponents very happy), and thus I got myself several units of old hunchback knights and warriors that I for some bizarred reason thought looked pretty neat. Fast forward to the hordes of chaos book and we shall see the base of my current army/armies forming up with the improved model line and plethora of options due to mixing chaos books and such.
I personally don't mind too much taking different god-specific troops in a single army, altough at least visually basing forces around just one of the chaos gods leads to very nice results. I kinda like the idea from 5th that different warbands band together and form a loose coalition who is lead by one strong-willed champion of chaos. The example list I discuss in this article is based on this on that idea, as it brings together a crazed former officer from the empire, unruly beast entourage and a delirious chaos sorcerer with his allies :
Cult of the Brass Star - Hordes of Chaos armylist - 2250
Overlord Rafael von Strumm - Undivded Exalted Chaos Champion (General)
Shield, Great Weapon, Armor of Damnation
Jirga The Hexxer - Exalted Chaos Sorcerer of Slaneesh
Level 4, Chaos Steed, Power Familiar, Dispel Scroll
Siobyll the Anointed - Exalted Chaos Champion of Slaneesh
Steed of Slaneesh, Berserker Blade, Enchanted Shield
Kargull - Undivided Bray Shaman
Level 2, Braystaff, Chaos Armor, Spell Familiar, Dispel Scroll
Von Strumm's Despoilers - 24 Marauders
Full Command, Shields, Light Armor
The Heralds of Von Strumm - 5 Marauder Horsemen
The Lost Order - 6 Knights of Khorne
Jirga's Coven - 5 Chosen Knights of Slaneesh
Standard Bearer, Musician, Warbanner
Kargull's Beasts - 2x5 Chaos Warhounds
The Hunters from Drakwald - 15 Beast Herd
Full Command, 5 Gors with 2 Hand Weapons, 10 Ungors with Shields
Kargull's Crusher- Tuskgor Chariot
Winds of Chaos - 5 Screamers
Hexxer's Experiment - Spawn of Slaneesh
As you see, this is a army with both magic tricks and combat power, altough the former leads to heavy investment in characters.
The Workings of the army
The basic idea of the army is to get some slaneeshi magic going on so I can punish the broken enemy line with my heavy hitters. Combination of fast stuff such as the flyers and the heavily armored guys should pose a problem for opponent even if I don't get spells through all the time. Short unit-by-unit commentary follows:
The general will usually stay in the marauder unit and spread his leadership around. Having a solid ranked unit with a fighty character offers a decent anvil and I can usually support these guys with some neat spells the bray shaman has (such as steed of shadows or bear's anger).
The hero on a daemonic mount will usually go for hunting fragile stuff or he'll lend a hand to the knights at breaking points. The Mage on the other hand forms the base of the battle plan as the movement-controlling and disrupting spells are handy for directing enemies to poor positions, altough the heavy pricetag means that I need to be extra careful with him.
The brayshaman will usually accompany the beast herd who are a good support unit and can drive away annoying marchblockers with their 360 los. The biggest advantage about these guys is that they can go through difficult terrain more easily. The shaman is actually decent in close combat (for a mage anyways) as he can opt for great weapon or a 2+ armor save.
The knights are the workhorses (ha-ha, pun!) of the list as they are the main hammers. It often comes to their accomplishments if I win or not, altough I can certainly stack those odds to my favour in several ways such as using magic to weaken the enemy or getting favorable charges by using cannon fodder units such as warhounds to divert stuff.
The marauder horsemen are usually used for diverting/harassing stuff with their fast cavalry status. The strength 5 on charge means that they can also fight pretty well if situation demands and they get to charge. They are fragile though, so I need to watch out for shooting & magic missiles.
If I'll get the chance, combined charges from chariots and knights are pretty scary altough I often use chariots as counter-charge threat or as a backyard watchers as it's hard to keep up with knights all the time.
Pretty much every hordes of chaos army needs some quality warmachine hunters and the screamers are excellent in thit role, especially as they are daemons which can autobreak warmachine crews due fear and not get stuck in. The slashing attacks and good durability (for flimsy flyers anyways) are a great bonuses too. They aren't cheap, though so it usually pays off not to throw them heedlesly into melees.
The spawn are great at tying up low-strenght troops if they don't get hit by a stray cannonball or such. The unpredictable movement value can be either a boon or curse altough the slaneeshi mark will help with this a lot. Besides the tarpit-ability, these guys can work pretty well at diverting stuff and ambushing scouts and such due to the funky movement.
The hounds are a pure cannon-fodder unit. I'll usually use them as diverters or tablequarter-holders and won't shed a tear if they are lost in the process.