2012 saw what most Chaos players had been praying to their heathen gods for many years: a new Codex, far better than the plain rag we had for 5th Edition. Whereas the older 'dex was boring, had little imagination and was lacking in creativity, the new one completly opens up new and creative ways in which to personalise your Legion. In this article we will analyse the individual units of the Codex from a competitive viewpoint, helping you to make the best choices when equipping your Sons of Darkness. Enjoy!
Now, Chaos has a variety of playstyles in which to specialise. You want to go for close-combat madness? Load up on Berzekers and Mutilators. Fancy plenty of Dakka? You have Obliterators and Havocs for that job. Whatever your playstyle, the Codex suffers from the same problem as it's rival, the Space Marine 'dex: the army is good at all roles, but excellent at none. With few exceptions, you won't have the long-range firepower that Guard have for example, you won't be able to match the Eldar's psychic potential unless you field Ahriman. Despite this however, the army is a good all-rounder, and can take on any of these specialised forces with ease. With that in mind, let's move onto the individual analyses.
The grading system I have used is based around a competitive viewpoint, with the following labels:
Highly Competitive: These are the units to take in tournaments. While some may reek of cheesy play, others can be game-breaking if used correctly.
Competitive: Such units are good, but they lack a certain something to put them in the top lists.
Semi-Competitive: Skilled players can put these to good use. While they don't particularly excel, they don't suck either.
Casual: If you're playing tournaments, or you're otherwise "play to win" rather than "play for fun", then avoid these units. You may decide to take them for fun: maybe you like the models, or fancy trying something new, but if you want to win, I'd recommend staying clear of these ones.
Let's start off with the special characters, with the biggest, baddest guy to walk the stars in over 10,000 years.
Abaddon the Despoiler
The meanest, biggest bastard the Imperium produced is still revelling in his defeat during the Heresy, trying in angst to conquer the galaxy. At least the new codex has given him a bit of a boost, and by bit, we mean "one of the best characters in the game" boost. An impressive statline combined with some immense close-combat potential means that very few opponents are going to be able to face off against him.
This discussion by Labmouse concluded that the only things that are realistically capable of beating Abby in a fight are equally-costed monstrosities such as the Swarmlord and Ghazzy, and cheesy gimmicks such as Heroic Sacrifice and the Tesseract Labyrinth. It would be an insult for him to be bested by anything lesser to be honest.
Combat-wise, you have a choice of two melee weapons, both with high potential. You have the Daemon Sword Drach'nyen, a +1S, Ap2 Daemon Weapon, or the Talon of Horus, a x2S, Ap3 Lightning Claw. In some cases remember that the Ap2 might not be the best option, particularly as you still have the 1/6 chance of him fluffing up and wounding himself, except in this edition, he is reduced to WS1 for the phase in addition. Despite this, he still lacks capacity against high-value armour, so keep that in mind before you go charging blindly into a Land Raider, but with a possible 13 Attacks*, there is going to be little capable of standing in his way.
Remember also that he gives Preferred Enemy (Space Marines) to all friendly units within 12". Considering the popularity of the Emperor's lapdogs, you'll find him giving your guys a huge boost against them, regardless of what chapter they belong to.
+ 1 for 2 Specialist Weapons
+ 2 for Rage from MoK
+6 from Drach'nyen)
All this comes at a price however: costing a whopping 265points, you frankly won't be seeing Abaddon in lower point games, and if you do, he won't have many friends around him. I would consider taking him around the 1500 point mark: (My personal list revolves around him and a unit of 15CSM as an escort. Pricey, but packs a big punch when it arrives). On a small note, remember that Blood Angels gain Hatred against him due to the Talon of Horus. It's only a small drawback but one which could be considered nonetheless when going up against Sanguinary Guard for example.
Conclusion: A real game-breaker, a close combat monstrosity held down by his inflated points cost.
This guy also took a boost in the new codex. A reasonable 160 points gives you a guy with good CC potential and some pretty decent tactical advantages. He has the profile of a Chaos Lord, exact in every way, equipped with a Power Axe, Heavy Flamer and 4+ Invulnerable save. His Tyrant's Claw is a Lightning Claw with +2S and Armourbane, meaning that he can pose a threat to all but the toughest infantry and armour.
The Hamadrya is a curious addition. Not only granting him two additional S4 attacks, but just as before, Huron gains some psychic potential from this little gremlin. Unlike before however, the psychic potential is much more random. You randomly choose one power from the Biomancy, Pyromancy or Divination disciplines each turn, with the power available for that turn only. While you can get some good powers out of this it's too random to be relied upon. You could find yourself getting Iron Arm one turn when you're nowhere near combat, and getting Smite the next when you actually are in combat and would have been better off with Iron Arm. It does give you a slight boost against Deny the Witch though, which should be kept in mind.
Huron's main advantage however comes from his Warlord Trait, allowing up to D3 units to Infiltrate. This is huge as it allows you to reduce casualties by deploying your CC-orientated units closer, ready for a turn 2 assault. If you can get 3 units Infiltrating then it puts your opponent under a hell of a lot of pressure.
Conclusion: He's a good character given his points cost. Lacking in the psychic element due to the sheer randomness but on the whole a reliable character.
Let's see here. Stats of a Chaos Lord apart from -1WS, that's ok I guess. Standard loadout for a Sorceror, Not bad. Psyker Level 4? I'm getting more interested. 3 Witchfires per turn? He's sounding better and better! With a guy like this lets see how many points you have to set aside...
When I saw this I was a bit shocked too. For only 35 points less than the powerhouse that is Abaddon, you have a guy who's not particularly excellent in combat. Sure he can hold his own against most things, but a vanilla Lord or Sorceror equipped to the same points value can have so much more potential. Anyway lets have a look at his pro's. First of all he's the first ML4 psyker in the game, and one of only 2 along with Fateweaver. His ability to manifest up to 3 PSAs per turn means that whatever's in his way is going to suffer a lot. His choice of 4 disciplines also leaves one drooling at his psychic potential.
However, that's where I really draw the line with Ahriman, as his best asset is ultimately his worst. With up to 4 powers manifesting per turn, your chances of Perils is dangerously high. While it won't kill you outright there'll be many situations where your plan is thrown off course by an unfortunate Psychic Test. Deny the Witch also has a chance of throwing a spanner in his works.
Conclusion: Not the best in combat but a very good psyker. While an unfortunate roll can leave him in trouble I'd still consider him. On a lighter note he can also Infiltrate D3 units just like Huron, but if you take him with this in mind, why not just go for Huron for 70 fewer points?
Kharn the Betrayer
Blood for the Blood God!
The universe's biggest psychopath. For onlt 160 points you have a Chaos Lord with WS7, S5 and an extra attack. This guy can take on most small squads and commanders and come out on top. Blessed with a Power Axe without Unwieldy and which always hits on 2+, he can easily munch through any MEQ squad with 7 attacks on the charge, and can even take on medium armour with S6 Armourbane. The BS5 Plasma Pistol is also a nice addition, with the occational Precision Shot potentially granting a roll on the Boon table.
Obviously he has a chance of wounding his own guys, but to be fair, load him up with basic CC-based troops and the losses due to betrayal shouldn't be anything to be too concerned about. However, one of his key downsides comes from his compulsion to issue challenges. The fact is that this makes him vulnerable to the hidden Power Fist/Claw in the challenge, and with only a 5++ save, he'd get ID'ed pretty easily if the fist survives to strike. In short, I'd consider taking him with a squad of CCW Chaos Marines (probably wouldn't bother to go for the Berzekers) and send them forward in a transport. Land Raiders would work particularly well for this task due to their Assault Ramps.
Conclusion: Close combat monster. Vulnerable to Instant Death, but with the sheer number of Ap2 attacks, it's unlikely that such models will survive long enough without an Invulnerable save.
As always, we cannot forget the enormous mass of inflated tissue and disease. No I'm not talking about Katie Price, I refer to the Host of the Destroyer Hive, although I'm a bit confused as to which one's more diseased.
Anyway. Typhus is relatively unchanged from his previous incarnation. Terminator Armour, T5 and Feel No Pain means he's not a pushover in combat, and with a S6 Ap2 Force Weapon, he can really dish out the damage himself, even if he strikes at I2. Should he be dramatically outnumbered, he can unleash a S4 Ap2 5" Blast over himself, bound to rid him of any pesky hordes.
He's also a considerably powerful psyker, being ML2, the second highest after Ahriman. While he must generate both his powers from the Nurgle discipline, there's a good variety of effects you can take, such as giving enemy weapons Gets Hot. How does an Ap2 Large Blast with Poisoned (4+) sound? Personally I'd go for Weapon Virus and Gift of Contagion: while it can give your target Shrouded, it's a small downside to the overall effects.
Apart from his combat potential, he gives good bonuses to the army as a whole, allowing you to finally take the Plague Zombie army that we've always dreamt of. Now that the FAQ has allowed the Zombies to take more than 10 guys in a unit, you can easily create a cheap unit that's tough, hard to shift off objectives or equally as good as tying up hardy opponents.
Conclusion: Good in combat, dishes out plenty of damage and the Zombies are not to be taken lightly.
Lucius the Eternal
Finishing off the four main powers we have that old trickster, Lucius the Eternal.
I'll be honest, I really like this guy. He has a good backstory, a fantastic model, and his stats are pretty decent. Just like Kharn and Huron, this guy's 160 points, and again you get stats similar yo a Chaos Lord except with WS7 and I6. Equipped with a Doom Siren and Power Sword, this guy can make mincemeat of any MEQ squad, but where he really shines is in challenges. His Duelist's Pride repaces his attacks with the opponent's WS in such challenges, so even with a Tactical Squad Sergeant, he's getting 4 attacks basic, but with no way to improve it due to 2CCWs, this forces you to go after the higher-WS opponents in hope of more attacks. I6 allows him to strike first against all but the fastest DE characters, (who coincedentally have the highest average WS values), and should he fail to kill them, any save he does pass afterwards reflects a S4 Ap2 wound back to the striker, which can be huge against the squishier opponents. Even then you're wounding SM Captains on 4+, bound to take off a wound or two.
Unfortunately however, this guy falls into the same pitfall as Kharn, in that as he must issue and accept all challenges, again he's vulnerable to Power Weapons and Fists. With only a 5+ Invuln save, he won't last for long against any low Ap weapons or dedicated CC units such as Assault Terminators. With this guy you have to go for the middle when it comes to choosing opponents. Don't go for too weak ones like basic infantry, it's a waste of time that can be filled by other units. Don't go for the big hard hitting squads either, as they're usually packing ID-causing weapons. You have to find that sweet spot. In the case of MEQ for example, I'd avoid Tac Squads and Termies, and go for Assault Marines or Commanders. As you'll be safe from other damage when in a challenge, you can pick off certain models such as the Commanders, putting a large dent in your opponent's tactics.
Conclusion: Very good in combat, suffers from the same problems as Kharn however. Use him against individual CC-orientated models, not large CC-based squads.
Rounding off the special characters we have Fabulous Bill. To be honest, I've never used nor seen this character used even before 6th Ed came out. I suppose looking at his profile tells us why.
Again, coming in at about 165 points (GW really likes this 160-170 point margin don't they?), his stats are pretty lacking compared to the other similarly-pointed guys. It's above modest I'd say, but nothing there to make you look twice.
Standard loadout for a Chaos Marine: Bolt Pistol, Power Armour plus a couple of unique toys, namely the Rod of Torment (giggidy) and the Xyclos Needler. These weapons are unusual to say the least, the Rod, while causing Instant Death, has no Ap value, instead relying on Bile's S5 only, and the Needler, while being 2+ Poisoned, is only Ap6. It seems that these gadgets are amazing in one aspect, and pretty lacking in the other, which brings them competly down in general. I suppose with S5 and 6 attacks on the charge you could do a fair amount of damage against TMCs or Commanders, but if you fail, you're going to suffer. A lot. No Invulnerable save at all (although he does have FNP) means that the payback is probably going to kill him in 1-2 rounds of combat.
However, he gives a nice little perk to your basic guys: A single unit of basic CSM can be upgraded with +1S and Fearless. This is a nice improvement as you previously had to pay for this upgrade, with a chance of it backfiring and killing a few guys, although the other results were in fact better than +1S. I can't really justify paying 165 points just for this upgrade and a mediocre CC character. I suppose you could then give them MoN to make them S5 and T5 but why not just go for Plague Marines in that case?
Conclusion: Pretty lacking. His bonus to a squad of CSM is nice, but not nice enough to justify 165 points.
If the unique characters are out of your points budget, or you just fancy more personalised characters, then don't despair! You have many more choices to choose from, some more competitive than others.
The Chaos Lord when taken just by himself is far from a competitive character. While he's only 65 points basic, his loadout is no different from a standard CSM trooper. However, the sheer number of possible upgrades soon fixes that, turning him into a very competitive option. His statline is rather generous to say the least: WS6, I5, 3 wounds and attacks, he's capable of holding his own even without the stats boosts provided by marks.
As for upgrades, there's not much you can go wrong by to be honest. You have a nice choice of ranged and CC weapons. The first thing you want to do it upgrade him with a Power Weapon or Fist before any other upgrades, unless you have one of the Artefacts in mind. I'd avoid giving him a Combi weapon: you want your guy to be assaulting, not double-tapping. Power Weapon and Plasma Pistol makes a cheap Lord at 105pts, yet he's not bad considering his stats. However, obviously we want to upgrade him a bit more than that so here's some common loadouts encountered in the competitive environment:
- Power Fist, Lightning Claw, Sigil of Corruption - 130 points. Very respectable loadout. He's a threat to anyone with the Lightning Claw and Fist, yet he keeps the bonus attack from Specialist Weapons. This guy maintains the balance between cheap and effective.
- Axe of Blind Fury, Mark of Khorne and Juggernaut - 145 points: This guy is a monstrosity in close combat. Upgraded to Cavalry, his threat range is dramtically increased, and with a possible 12 S6 Ap2 attacks, he's on the same level with Abaddon when it comes to damage output. The only downsides is the AoBF's Blinded rule, reducing his stats to WS5 and BS4, and with the risk of it backfiring and wounding himself, but they're negliable drawbacks when considering the advantages.
- Terminator Armour, Murder Sword and Mark of Khorne - 155 points: Ultimate character hunter. Find the biggest character in the other army and hunt! Get in a challenge with said character, and you're suddenly S8 Ap1 Instant Death. I'd recommend the AoBF variant over this guy but it could be very effective depending on how it's used.
Conclusion: Boring and ineffective initially, can be upgraded to vastly improve his combat potential. Even if you're tight on points, you'd want to put aside at least 150 for this guy. Highly Competitive
Before I took Abaddon in my 1500 point list I was considering a Sorceror. One of these guys properly kitted out can inflict serious damage amongst enemies with poor psychic defences such as Tau or Guardsmen. Not as damaging or resilient as the Lord I regret to announce, yet he's still no pushover. Personally, I like to keep this guy as cheap as possible. Upgraded to ML2 with a Spell Familiar comes out as 100 points. With this you still have your Force Weapon yet you can still manifest a multitude of different powers. The Spell Familiar in particular: I wouldn't leave home without this guy. Allowing you to re-roll failed Psychic Tests is a huge gem when going up against Eldar or Tyranids in particular. Even when you're against the armies with no particular psychic defences, how many times can you remember where you've failed a Psychic Test at a critical moment of the game? This guy fixes all those worries.
As for specific upgrades, I'd avoid ranged weapons. Chances are you'll roll a Witchfire, and either that or your ranged upgrade won't be firing for half of the game. Because this guy only has 2 wounds, I'd avoid investing too many points into him. I'd say that the Familiar and ML2 is probably good enough. If you have spare points you might want to splurge on an extra Mastery Level and Sigil of Corruption. As for specific marks, I'd avoid Tzeench full stop. Ironically, the Tzeenchian psychic powers are probably worse. If you had to go for a mark, I'd probably say go for Nurgle. Slannesh is nice but the powers are a bit "all or nothing", whereas with Nurgle there's a good balance between the powers regardless of what you get.
Conclusion: Good psychic possibilities, let down a bit by his stats. Keep this guy cheap and cheerful. Competitive
This guy can get really expensive, really quickly. Costing a minimum of 155 points if you want to run him as Slannesh, he's pretty useless as he is. When upgraded properly however, he can be a massive threat. Since this guy has very few options I'll analyse each one individually:
- Daemon of Khorne: I'd avoid this, he's already S6, doesn't really need Furious Charge on top of that. Casual
- Daemon of Tzeench: Probably the best mark in my opinion. Allowing you to re-roll saves of 1 when combined with Power Armour is the equivalent of a 2+ save in essence. Highly Competitive
- Daemon of Nurgle: The Shrouded bonus is nice, but Slow and Purposeful really puts a dent in his mobility. With a guy like this you want him to be in combat as soon as possible. Semi-Competitve
- Daemon of Slannesh: The 3" bonus to Run moves is pretty good, but as most people give their DPs wings it's just unecessary. Also you're a S6 Monstrous Creature, the Rending bonus is of little benefit unless you're going up against Land Raiders, and even then you can just Smash them. Semi-Competitive
- Mastery Levels 1-3: Available to all but Daemons of Khorne, I could see myself using possibly a single level, but with three costing 75 points, it's too much to really dedicate into an already expensive character. Semi-Competitive
- Wings: Expensive at 40 points, but you get all the bonuses of FMCs. Why should Tyranids have all the flying fun? Highly Competitive
- Power Armour: I'd say yes to this one. For only 20 points your save goes from - to 3+. Combine it with the Tzeench upgrade for major resiliance against small-arms. Highly Competitive
As for the rest of the armoury. you're limited to just Chaos Rewards and Artefacts. The only good upgrade I can see in these categories is the Black Mace. S6 Ap2 Fleshbane Daemon Weapon with additional bonuses if it kills a model. It's expensive at 45 points, but frankly there's no better unit in the codex for this upgrade.
Conclusion: Very good character, albeit very expensive. I'd keep him relatively cheap and take Daemon of Tzeench Wings, Black Mace and Power Armour, coming in at a whopping 265 points, you'd rarely see powerhouses like this in games of less than 1250 points. Competitive
Warpsmith and Dark Apostle
I've decided to combine the Warpsmith and Dark Apostle entries into a single analysis, since I have very little to say about either of them as they're both pretty awful choices.
So Chaos players have finally been blessed with a corrupted Techmarine. Trouble is, he isn't actually that good. That, and the model looks like it'd snap with a faint breeze. Stats-wise, they're kinda modest, and that's being generous. I'm far from impressed with this guy. His Master of Mechanisms rule is quite nice, being able to make an enemy vehicle's weapons Get Hot, but is it really worth blowing 110 points on such an effect? Chaos has far easier ways to deal with tanks than hoping they blow themselves up, although it'd be quite nice to see a guy crap himself when his Leman Russ Punisher kills itself via Gets Hot, but on anything else, you're not going to be taking off more than one HP even if you're lucky.
As for armoury choices, he's really spoilt for choice(!) Possibly the only thing I could see him taking would be the Burning Brand, but you've most likely taken it on your Lord or Daemon Prince. There's not much else to say about this guy; he's an OK force multiplier but not much else apart from that.
Dark Apostles suffer from the same problem: the idea had lots of potential, but very little has actually come into fruition. Same stats as the Warpsmith with the exception of a 3+ save and swapped WS/BS values, he brings little else to the game. His only decent effect is you get to re-roll Chaos Boon results if within 12" but very few of the Boons are actually bad. Apart from Spawnhood and Unworthy Offering, only 1 (Fragment of Immortality) out of the 27 remaining effects would be bad on a standard Aspiring Champion. You don't need to re-roll Boons 9/10ths of the time. His other effect is only really any good if you plan on running mass Cultists.
Conclusions: Both are pretty substandard combat wise. They have some nifty abilities but none that would actually be of competitive use.
With that out of the way, let's move onto Elites
Well, Chosen are one of the few units that actually got worse with the new Codex. Back in 5th the best use for Chosen was to load them up with 5 special weapons, usually Meltas, and Infiltrate them ready for a Turn 1 crack at heavy armour. I never really understood why they had Infiltrate: maybe if they were Alpha Legionnaires but regular Chosen? Doesn't really seem like the stealthiest unit.
Anyway, that's what's nerfed Chosen slightly; losing Infiltrate. However, I personally don't lament such a loss for two reasons
1. 5 3+ bodies so close to the enemy risks losing First Blood quite easily
2. The addition of the Hull Point system means that up-and-close Melta kills aren't as important in 6th Ed.
Apart from this slight loss, they haven't really changed much apart from the addition of the new armoury opitions. As for stats, you pay 3 points more than a Chaos Marine with an extra CCW for an extra attack, and your CCW is already included. I suppose if you wanted to take a cheap melee unit 10 of these with maybe a couple of Flamers would be pretty nifty, but it's when you start dipping into the upgrades that the unit becomes more expensive.
4 guys can take either a special weapon or a CC upgrade such as Power Weapons etc. The point here is you want to keep them cheap: at the end of the day they still die just as quickly as normal Chaos Marines, sinking 200+ points into such a squad is a hell of a risk. To put it into perspective the Chosen models int the above image are 198 points for a squad of 6 leaving a guy with no upgrades. To me it's just too many points really for a squad that still has to get close to the enemy to dish out any form of damage, otherwise at range they're less threatening than 6 standard CSM.
However, one thing I would consider them for is the standard 5th Ed technique: 5x Special Weapons. 5 Meltaguns comes to 140 points, 5 Plasmas at 165 and 5 Flamers at 115. Taking multiples of such weapons is never a bad thing: 5 Flamers for example would be particularly useful at camping on objectives, dishing out 5D3 Overwatch hits to attackers! Nothing wrong with mixing them up too, such as 2x Plasma and 3x Flamers, giving you the best of both worlds.
Also remember that Abaddon makes these guys Troops instead of Elites. Personally I wouldn't recommend this tactic, as Abaddon is already a very expensive character, you don't want to have even fewer numbers on the field by taking these guys over CSM.
Conclusion: They're still good, but more at ranged than at CC. Load them up with special weapons, and use CC only as a last resort. Semi-Competitive/Competitive
You may be wondering why I haven't gone into the armoury choices. They'll be covered in depth when the Heavy Supports are done.
I'm sure many of you have bought the Possessed kit just to add a bit of variety to your CSM squads, I know I have anyway. Lovely models but the rules themselves are far from as promising. For double the points of a CSM, you have S5, 2 attacks, and the Daemon, Fearless, Fleet and Vessels of Chaos rules. At least the random part of the Possessed is far better than in the previous book, giving you either Shread, Ap3 in melee or +1 attacks and Initiative, whereas the previous incantation of that rule was an absolute joke.
It's a shame really that these guys have such few choices apart from Icons and Marks. Speaking of Icons, I wonder what GW were thinking when they added such choices to the entry, seeing that as 3/5 of the Icons available are fundamentally pointless on Possessed: Soul Blaze is useless as you have no ranged weapons, you already have Fear due to being a Daemon, and Fearless is already included in your entry, and yet they still want people to pay 5pts for such "upgrades". Useless editing there.
I suppose if you wanted to take these it'd be best to keep them as cheap as possible: squad of 5, maybe VotLW and nothing else. If GW could have gone back to the good ol' days where Possessed could choose Daemonic Upgrades such as flight or Rending etc, then they'd be a much more fun and interesting unit, but as it stands, just not good enough.
Conclusion: Superb modelling opportunities, too expensive to be competitive enough. Casual
Well, the Obliterators got a new brother, although it's the brother no-one likes and ends up getting disowned by the family...
15 Points less than an Obliterator, same profile except that the ranged weapons are swapped for pairs of CC weapons. You have the choice of a pair of Power Mauls, Swords and Axes, as well as Lightning Claws and Chainfists. These guys are pretty good in assault, but the only problem is getting them there. Slogging up by foot isn't an option, as they can't Run. Land Raiders are expensive as transports, and Deep Strike is risky as you're spending a turn doing nothing but staring down the muzzles of the gun.
However, many people are expecting me to just label these guys as "Casual" and move on. "Come on Valk, let's hear about the Hellturkey already!" I hear you cry, but no, I'm actually going to argue a case for Mutilators.
Consider the faster units in the 40K game, ones which try to get into combat as soon as possible and swamp you underneath masses of bodies. Orks, Tyranids and Dark Eldar spring to mind. Now, consider spending 55 points on a Mutilator, and leave it. Place it in cover ready to assault anyone going for the objectives. Taking the MoK will give you 5 attacks on the charge from a single Mutilator, which can be boosted to S6 by using the Mauls if you're going against anything less than MEQ.
Also think about the distraction purposes: Spend 55 points on a Mutilator and Deep Strike it right at the backline. You could score Linebreaker, and units like Long Fangs, Aegis Defence Lines and the like risk having to miss a whole turn of shooting to focus on the new threat. Spending 55 points to prevent Quadguns shooting at my flyers for an additional turn is worth it in my opinion. Even Long Fangs are going to have problems against them, with a 2+/5++ save and hearty 2 wounds. If they focus on such a unit, they're not shooting your more valueble units. If they ignore it, you charge next turn, tie them up and go to town in CC.
I think to sum it up the proper way to use Mutilators is not as a CC menace, but as more of a subversive threat. Take a single one as use it as a deterrant or a distraction. Don't expect it to perform miracles but it could do a good job in those roles.
Conclusion: Very...unusual...unit in it's potential and useful roles. Probably the worst thing is the Green-Stuff abortions that GW calls models, but they can easily be kitbashed. I'd rate these guys as "Casual", but my previous argument would put them on the edge of Semi-Competitive. Casual/Semi-Competitive (just barely!)
I love these guys. Brilliant models, and much better than the Loyalist equivalent. Cheaper than a Space Marine Terminator, and plenty more upgrade options. Thanks to the FAQ update your Terminators are no longer illegally equipped, as I'm sure 99% of you had taken Meltas/Chainfists.
The good news is that the squad of 3 Termies armed with Combi-Meltas and Chainfists is still a viable and effective tactic. The bad news is that with the Hull Point system used in 5th, just like Chosen Marines, the close-range Melta is less important than it was before. That doesn't mean however that these guys are ineffective alltogether. You can take 3 as a bodyguard for your Lord for under 100 points, armed with Power Weapons and Combi-Bolters. However, you really want to upgrade them though. Personally, I'd consider loading them up with Combi weapons; at 5pts each they're a bargain, half price compared to the armoury Combis. You'd be a fool really to take anything other than Combi-Plasmas, as Meltas are less important as I said before and Flamers could be useful if you're Deep Striking, but you only really get a single template off, whereas for 110 points, you can have 3 double-tapping Plasmas for one turn. Teleport them behind rear armour and let the plasma do it's job.
As for heavy weapons, you can't really go wrong with the Reaper Autocannon. The Heavy Flamer is nice, and cheap, so I wouldn't dismiss it immediatly, but 2 TL Autocannon shots is effective against all but the heaviest armour, and can even take a swing at Flyers as it's Twin-Linked.
When considering Marks, probably the most optimal choices are Nurgle and Tzeench, coincendentally the most expensive ones at 6/5pts respectively. Since you don't have access to Storm Shields like the Loyalist scum, the 4++ boost provided by MoT will have to do for now really. MoK could be amusing if you plan on taking dual Lightning Claws, giving you 5 attacks on the charge per Termie for only 1 point more than the Loyalist equivalent! With Icons, depending on the Mark you take you're pretty limited. Wrath is not bad for the Lightning Claw setup, Flame is pointless to say the least, Despair could work in certain circumstances and Excess is good, but pretty expensive, and Vengeance is a bit unnecessary since you're Ld9 anyway.
While my personal list currently doesn't have any Termies, I'm trying to incorporate them at higher levels, with that I have the following loadouts in mind:
5 Chaos Terminators
- 3x Lightning Claws
- 2 Combi-Flamers
- 2 Power Axes
- Mark of Khorne
This comes to 197 points, cheaper than a Loyalist Terminator squad even with upgrades thrown in, and is no pushover in combat either. While in this circumstance I'd take the Flamers to lay down a couple of templates before charging, you can't go wrong with Plasmas as you're Relentless.
Conclusion: Great models and rules, highly customisable. While Termicide squads may be rarer now in 6th Ed, the unit as a whole is no less effective Competitive
First of all, I refuse to accept that the ungodly abomination that GW calls a model is anything like what Chaos Dreadnoughts should look like. I wouldn't mind if they even mentioned the Chaos Dreadnought in the fluff, but just cutting it out and replacing it with the absolutely hideous Hellbrute model, I feel ashamed to call myself a Chaos player.
Enough of my moaning, let's have a look at this thing. Standard stats of every basic Dreadnought currently in every Codex, that's fair enough. Bit limiting in weapon upgrades than before, bit of a letdown. His special rule is a bit unusual as well: if a Glancing or Penetrating hit is caused, roll a D3, with you either being Immobilised, gaining Rage, or gaining Fleet and Rage and it must run towards the enemy. To be fair, with mediocre armour, it won't be long before the it's destroyed altogether, so the chart isn't as big a deal. However, it's still damn annoying.
"Hey Kids! You want to take dual CCWs on a super-choppy Dread? Well now you have a 1/3 chance of being Immobilised, isn't this fun!"
As for upgrades, you're stuck with the standard heavy weapon choices such as Heavy Bolter, Reaper, Plasma, Lascannon...oh wait, that's it. You can also take an additional Fist, but would you really for the reason I just gave? Also, seeing as Helldrakes, Defilers, Maulerfiends and Forgefiends have Daemonic Possession, how come this doesn't? I mean, nothing about the model signals that there's anything daemonic about it(!) Even access to the armoury would have been nice, so you could take Warpflame Gargoyles or Dirge Casters, but no, you're stuck with a very basic selection.
Conclusion: I wouldn't bother with this. Some of you might have had successes with it but I wouldn't want to use it considering the random chance of it Immobilising itself for a turn, or having to Run and not shoot. Casual
Compared to the Loyalist equivalent, Chaos Marines are a must-have: 3 points cheaper, can take an extra CCW and still be a point less than a Tactical Marine. Larger squad sizes as well as the ability to boost stats using Icons and Marks. They've lost ATSKNF and Combat Tactics but personally I think it's not that much of a big loss. I wouldn't take these guys in squads of less than 10 unless I'm taking a small squad for support at the back on an objective. I personally run a squad of 15 with Abaddon and another lot of 10 with Bolters for support.
Special-weapon wise, take 2x of the same one, with a Combi for the Champion. Avoid rapid-fire Plasma for CCW squads, put them on the Boltgun units, use Meltas and Flamers for the CCWs so they can shoot and still charge. I wouldn't bother with a Heavy Weapon, maybe a Heavy Bolter as more shots means more chances of Snap Shots getting through, but you still can't shoot and charge, so I'd give this a miss over the Plasma Gun or Melta. Seeing as your Champion must accept or issue challenges, it's worth giving him a better CCW, a Power Weapon or Lightning Claw the optimum choice, although at higher point levels a Power Fist and Lightning Claw could be considered.
As for Icons and Marks, well some are obviously better than others, but it can turn out that the worse Marks give better effects through Icons.
- Mark of Khorne: 2 Points a model, giving you 2 extra attacks on the charge. 20 points to upgrade 10 guys in this manner gives you 40 attacks for the whole unit when they assault! Competitive
- Mark of Tzeench: Back when it gave you a default 5++ save it was better against things such as Battle Cannons etc, but now seeing as it's 6++ by default, I wouldn't bother. Casual
- Mark of Nurgle: Pricey at 3 ppm, but you can't really go wrong with T5 Marines. Competitive
- Mark of Slannesh: Well the Initiative boost is nice, but unless you commonly go against MEQ a lot it's not worth it, as you strike first against most of GEQ, and you're not going to strike first against things like Eldar and Dark Eldar with just +1 Initiative. It does unlock the Icon of Excess however which is a nice consideration. Semi-Competitive
- Icon of Wrath: Furious Charge and re-roll the charge distance for 20 points. Nice and relatively cheap for what you get. Competitive
- Icon of Flame: Wouldn't bother with this one. 15 points and the 20+ points to give you the pretty crappy MoT just for a possible D3 Bolter hits. Casual
- Icon of Despair: If you've already upgraded your Marines to T5, an extra 10 points to give them Fear isn't the riskiest investment. I'd wouldn't rate it competitive though due to the large number of units immune to Fear. Competitive
- Icon of Excess: Well it's the most expensive Icon at 30 points per squad, so I'd recommend only taking it on larger units so the relative value increases. On a 15 man unit the Icon gives Feel No Pain for the relative cost of 2 points per model, a bargain in my opinion. Competitive
- Icon of Vengeance: Again, pricey at 25 points, and while I suppose Fearless would help in assault to prevent you getting swept, the truth is that Morale check are rarely failed aren't they, at least not enough to justify 25 points. Semi-Competitve
- Veterans of the Long War: A single point per model for Hatred (Space Marines)? Not bad if you're against a MEQ dominated environment. Competitive.
Conclusion: As the mainstream unit of the Codex, the competitive nature of these guys depends on how they're equipped. I'd avoid Tzeench in every circumstance, and take at least 10 guys per unit, possibly 15 if you can make the points. Special weapons should be in pairs and a Combi of the same type on the Champion. Remember that your Precision shots from a Combi-Plasma can potentially get you a roll on the Boon table! Highly Competitive
Well finally we get our Traitor Guard forces. One of the cheapest units in the game along with Conscripts and Grots, the Cultists are actually not a bad choice. With these guys, it's best to go all-or-nothing when it comes to numbers: Go for a squad of 20+ or none at all, with a 6+ save and T3, you can count that any army's basic weaponry (Bolters, Pulse weapons, even Fleshborers) are just going to scythe a row or two down, and then cause the others to run off the board with only Ld8. This is probably the only reason I'd advise taking a Dark Apostle to boost their Leadership to 10, but if you're investing points that way, you might as well go for Typhus and give them Fearless and Feel No Pain.
However, you can get results from fewer numbers. While I've dropped them from my list in favour of more alllied Guardsmen, I had success with a squad of 10. Leave them in cover advancing with the Marines, and use them to soak up Overwatch fire.
As for weapons, I'd definitely recommend spending the extra points to give them Autoguns. Despite the crappyness of the rebranded Lasguns, you can't go wrong with them when used en-mass. And for the heavier weapons, Flamer is far better than Heavy Stubber. Better accuracy, albeit shorter range, and guaranteed D3 Overwatch hits rather than 3 Snap Shots. When going for Marks. They're not worth it in the slightest. Even if you boosted their Toughness with Nurgle, regular Tac Marines would be killing them on 4's with no saves. if you really wanted to take a Mark, go for Tzeench. At least then you'll get your crappy 6+ save against anything. Suppose a 6+ Invuln is better than no Invuln at all.
Conclusion: On the larger picture though, I'd rather just take an allied Imperial Guard force. Same points, but slightly better stats, access to Orders, Special and Heavy Weapons, and can be blobbed up into bigger numbers than Cultists. If you already have Allies, or just don't want to take them, Cultists are worth it, but if you can, just take Imperial Guard instead. Cultists are still effective nonetheless, it's just that the Guardsmen do their job better for the same price. If you want these guys, it's definitely worth going for Typhus upgrade them to Plague Zombies. Semi-Competitive (Cultists) Highly-Competitive (Plague Zombies)
You can't really go wrong when it comes to Berzerkers' purpose: Get pissed off and run towards the enemy. Simples.
For what you get though, these guys are expensive. 105 points gets you 5 guys including a Champion, with additional guys costing 19pts a pop, the standard box of Berzerkers is costing you 238 points for 12 guys that are only slightly better than normal CSM . Even the Chainaxe, the Berzerkers' iconic weapon, is now an upgrade, making your guys even more expensive. It's a nice weapon though at Ap4, but making your guys 22pts each, I can't see it being that popular. WS5 is nice, but as they've lost an attack, they're putting no more damage out than a squad of Chaos Marines, which would cost significantly less with more options.
When used correctly, I can see these guys doing a fair bit of damage. This would include however giving them Icon of Wrath or Chainaxes at least, and a Transport. This just drives their cost up even more, and when compared to other CC orientated units such as Assault Terminators or Nobs, these guys just don't cut it, with only one possible way to get a Power Weapon/Fist, they'll soon be in trouble when they come up agaisnt a similarly orientated unit.
Conclusion: Maybe ok in certain circumstances, but I wouldn't bother with them myself. Could work when paired with Kharn, but that's just more points you're spending on them. Casual/Semi-Competitive
Such a shame that these fantastic models are just plain awful in the rules. I wish they were how they were in 3rd Edition, with 2 Wounds each. Now, they're grossly overpriced with little to show for it. 150 Points would get you 10 Chaos Marines with 2x Flamers or 5 Thousand Sons with no upgrades. In fairness, they have good basic loadouts with 4+ Invulns, Ap3 Boltguns and a Sorceror to lead them but even then, that's a hell of a lot of points to invest in a unit which can't Overwatch with their very good ranged capabilities.
If the Sorcerer wasn't forced to use the awful Tzeench table for his powers, then these guys would be a hell of a lot better. Imagine what damage you could do with Ap3 Boltguns paired with Prescience or Perfect Timing. Instead you're stuck a mediochre Witchfire attack, a crappy Blessing with a range of 2", and another Witchfire that's good against vehicles when the rest of the squad isn't.
There's not much else to say on these ones I'm afraid. In a less competitive environment, I could see a squad of 5 being used for fire support with their Inferno Bolts, but as it stands, they're worth very little.
Conclusion: Wonderful models. Terribad rules. End of. Casual
Plague Marines have remained just as strong as they ever were. 24 Points gets you a T5 Marine with Feel No Pain, perfect for camping on objectives. Frankly, these guys are the absolute best Cult Troops available, even their basic loadout can take on anything due to their Plague Knifes. The only downside to them is their I3, so MEQ will strike first, but with their huge resilience, you'll only lose a few even from a heavy assault. To put it into perspective a standard Tactical Marine only has a 1/18 chance of killing a Plague Marine in combat (without charge bonuses), whereas the Plague Marine is 33% more likely to kill the Tac Marine in return. Yes, the Tac will strike first, but it's only a small drawback.
As for upgrades, you really can't go wrong with 2x Special Weapons. Just like regular CSM, take two of the same, popping out 4 Plasma shots for 150 pts with the added protection of FNP from overheating, they're probably one of the best platforms to get reliable Plasma, but Melta is still a viable option, but personally, you might as well spend the extra 10pts to upgrade them to Plasma. It's also worth giving your Champion a Power Fist/Axe. He's already I3, reducing him to I1 isn't going to be that bad. Icon of Despair, well if you've a couple of points leftover after the list I'd say why not, but it's not really anything especially important for this unit.
Conclusion: Quite frankly, unless you're running a Monogod list for fluff reasons, there's no excuse to take any of the other Cult Troops over these guys. If you decide to take Thousand Sons instead, congrats! You win a free concussion! Highly Competitive
These guys are fun, often overlooked, and quite powerful given the right loadouts. The cheapest of all the Cult Troops means you can really go to town on their fun Sonic Weapons. I'll skip the individual analysis of each weapon as they're all Highly Competitive. 3 Points upgrades your Boltgun to Salvo 2/3 and Ignores Cover, while 30 Points gets you a S8 Ap3 Blast.
The thing about these weapons is how many of what to take. Give all the Marines Sonic Blasters to begin with. If the squad will be CC-orientated, ignore the Blastmaster and take the Doom Siren instead, otherwise you'd be wasting the S8 profile in favour of an Assault 2 Heavy Bolter. The Doom Siren is a must have in such circumstances, even on static support squads. Not only is the actual attack nice but the power it has during Overwatch fire is definitely worth 15pts.
I think in the long run though it's not worth taking them above the 5-strong basic unit. Take 5, give them all the Sonic Weapons available and use them for support rather than offensive capabilities. Taking the extra CCWs and loading them up with a Doom Siren in a Rhino would be a fun idea, but regular CSM can do the job just as well.
Conclusion: A fun and reliable unit. Can get pricy in terms of Sonic Weapons when taking more than 5 in a squad, but that's all you need really with a S8 Ap3 Blast and 4 Salvo 2/3 Boltguns all ignoring cover. Best used against weaker armies that rely on cover or other similar wargear, such as Kustom Force Fields or Venomthropes. Competitive
Good choice for 35 points. Carries 10 guys and comes with the basic loadout: Combi-Bolter, Searchlight and Smoke Launchers. Take multiples of them if you do decide to go for a mechanised assault. Some players have argued that one can simply load out a Rhino with as much weaponry as possible and just use it as a fire-support vehicle rather than as a transport. 67 Points will get you 2 Combi-Bolters, a Combi-Flamer/Plasma/Melta and a Havoc Launcher all with Soul Blaze (which in itself is pretty crappy but it's only 5 points). Park it in some ruins for a cover save, and if you don't move you can fire everything at full BS. Not bad really when you think about what 67 points will get you elsewhere in terms of weapon variety.
Conclusion: The trusty Rhino has always had a part in anyone's army. I think the low armour and unreliability of it reaching it's target would bring it down a bit in my opinion. Best used in conjunction with heavy armour acting as a distraction. Semi-Competitive/Competitive
If my memory serves me well, back in 4th Edition, these guys could get a 2++ save via Turbo-Boosting with Mark of Tzeench. Despite losing such as perk in 5th Ed, they've been granted a massive boost with the new bonus Toughness system in 6th, so now your Bikers aren't Instant Death'ed by S8 weapons. Doesn't make much difference with your standard Bikers, but taking a Lord with MoN and a Bike gives you a T6 Lord, equivalent to most armies' Monstrous Creatures, requiring an average of 54 Boltgun rounds to put one down.
90 Points gets you the basic loadout of 3 Bikers with 2 Meltas, can be upgraded to Plasmas for an additional 10 points, good for hunting armour with the extra survivability given by T5. You'd be a fool to not take Mark of Nurgle on these ones. Toughness 6 means they can easily zoom around with Meltas, popping armour, and relying on T6 and a 3+ save, or a Jink save if hit by low-Ap weapons. Taking 2x Plasmas and a Plasma Pistol on the Champion will give you a reliable TEQ hunter, with 5 Plasma rounds at 12" for 115 points. It might be worth getting a couple of additional Bikers in the unit to soak up rounds. As for other Marks and Icons, I can't really see any of them being as useful as MoN, the extra 10pts for Icon of Despair is a nice addition if you happen to have the points spare.
If hunting TEQs isn't to your liking, use them as a bodyguard for a Chaos Lord. Give the Lord a Bike, Mark of Nurgle, Power Fist and Lightning Claw. Comes to 230 points including the Biker escort, but this gives you a T6 Character with a S8 Power Fist or S6 Lightning Claw. Frankly he can go up against anything but the hardiest characters such as the Swarmlord of Ghazzy.
Conclusion: Fast, hit hard, and leave no evidence behind: bit like a risky round of browsing porn. Highly Competitive
My favourite unit out of the entire Codex, Raptors have been doubly-blessed with new rules and some fantastic new models. If you want to keep them cheap, 115 points will buy you 5 Raptors with 2 Meltaguns, which frankly is excellent at arriving behind enemy armour and double-tapping Melta down the chimney! Unlike the Loyalist counterpart, the Assault Marine, note that Raptors do not give up their CCW to take a Special Weapon, so you're still getting your bonus attacks regardless of how they're upgraded.
I really don't leave the Malestrom without these guys. To put it into perspective, I'll list the successes I've had with a unit with 2x Meltaguns, Plasma Pistol, Lightning Claw and Gift of Mutation:
- First Game: Deepstrike, blow up a Battlewagon, killing 6 out of 15 Burnas in the explosion, which are then mopped up by my Vulture. The squad then goes on to claim Linebreaker
- Second Game: Deepstrike. Mishap and get delayed. Arrive again and scatter out of 2D6 Melta range, but still manage to blow up an Annihilation Barge despite it still having Quantum Shielding.
- Third Game: Deepstrike. Critically damage a Leman Russ leaving it with just a Heavy Stubber. The squad is then wiped out except the Champion who goes onto contest an objective through assaulting the unit and surviving until the end of the game.
- Fourth Game: Deepstrike. Destroyed a Vindicator. 3 Remaining guys are charged by a 12-strong squad of Blood Claws. Champion is the last one left, survives for two more rounds until he kills a single Blood Claw, causing the rest of the unit to break, and run straight off the board!
The last example was a bit of a fluke, causing the unit to run off the board, but my point remains clear: the main purpose of these guys is to arrive, pop some armour, and any additional damage they cause is an added bonus. Taking a cheap unit as described above with just 2x Meltaguns means that even destroying weaker armour like Basilisks, Fire Prisms, or Ghost Arks allows you to make back the points spent on the unit.
As for Marks and Icons, I think you're spoilt for choice to be honest. None of the Marks are more than 3ppm, so with the exception of Tzeench (again!), you can't go wrong with whatever one you choose. Rage and Counter-Attack, or Initiative 5 for 2ppm, or Toughness 5 for 3ppm, frankly I'm torn between MoK and MoN but, like today's teaching, "there's no wrong answer".
Icons, well I'd avoid these. Wrath is a bit naff since you already get a charge bonus from your Jump Packs, Flame is downright crap, you already have Fear which renders Despair useless, Excess is very expensive, and same goes for Vengeance really.
Conclusion; Brilliant unit, massive boost from the last Codex, and can do a hell of a lot of damage given the right circumstances. I'm already planning to take a second unit of 2x Meltaguns, judging from the success I've had with the first. Highly-Competitive
It's a massive shame that the Talons got such awesome models, yet the rules let them down so much.
I won't say much about them as most of the basics has been covered in the Raptor entry. These guys are good in combat, and that's about it really. Twin Lightning Claws basic, with no other wargear besides from Power Armour and Jump Pack. GW has really let these guys down by not giving them Frag Grenades, or even some sort of Assault Grenade equivalent:
Hey, we're Power-Armoured Daemons with Twin Lightning Claws! Watch us go shread up that unit of Marines in the ruins. LOL JK, now we're Initiative 1!! :P
However, I won't just piss over people's Cheerios like I did with the Hellbrute: These guys can actually be useful if used correctly. I see them being used the same way I outlined an alternative use for Mutilators: Deepstrike them near targets of opportunity, with the key priority being distraction. His Long Fangs or Heavy Weapon Teams are either going to have to shoot you or risk being assaulted next turn. Reducing enemy units to WS/BS1 via Warpflame Strike is a nice addition, but it's not something to be relied upon, since MEQs are passing the test 2/3rds of the time, although it'd be particularly useful against lower Initiative armies such as Necrons and Tau.
Unlike the Raptors however, all the Marks available to Talons are actually useful. I'd go for MoK or MoN in these circumstances, although MoT is more useful with this unit, increasing their Invulnerable save to 4++, which can then be combined with an allied Grimoire of True Names for a 2+ Invulnerable save! Risky, and pricy, but equally scary.
Conclusion: Fantastic models, but let down a bit by their lack of Assault Grenades and relatively higher cost when compared to Raptors. Casual/Semi Competitive
Spawn have had the biggest boost in the entire book. Back in 5th they were pure tripe, with the only reason to get the models would be for the Boon of Mutation power. Now, you'd be a fool to think they're just as bad.
30 Points for a 3 Wound, S5, T5 Beast is not to be taken lightly. Sure, they have no save, but 3 wounds should be enough. The sheer number of attacks, possibly 8 each on the charge, can put a dent in any unit regardless of how CC-orientated they are. Assault Termies can't even inflict Instant Death on you, while you're putting out an average of 3/4 attacks per turn, wounding on 3+.
When considering upgrades, you're stuck with just Marks, I'm afraid. Again, Tzeench is still pretty awful in this instance, although a 6+ Invulnerable is better than no save at all, albeit very slightly. The best Mark to go for here would be Nurgle. 108 Points would get you 9 Toughness 6 wounds. Even with no save, it'll take approx. 27 Boltgun shots to drop a Nurgle-Spawn. Combine them with a Nurgle Lord on a Bike and you have an insanely tough unit with plenty of close-combat potential.
Conclusion: Run them with Nurgle Biker Lords. Spread the wounds out to avoid casualties and just kill things in combat via sheer number of attacks. Competitive
While the model may look like a terrible Tonka Toy, the Helturkey is pretty much the best unit in the entire Codex. You have a Flyer with AV12, a 5+ Invulnerable and It Will Not Die! This thing is hard to destroy, full stop. When combined with the ability to Vector Strike and a S6 Ap3 Flamer with a 360 degree firing arc, it's no surprise that the top-tier lists in competitions commonly field 2 or even 3 of these beasties.
Considering that the Heldrake has a boring BS3, it's best to take the Baleflamer. As I said before, the most recent FAQ gave it the ability to Torrent any unit within range regardless of firing arcs, etc. Nothing short of TEQ can hide from this thing if you take the Baleflamer.
Your Sternguard Veterans hiding behind an Aegis Line for 2+ Cover? Well I'm killing you on 2's with no saves!
Oh, your Nob Bikers have a 4+ Jink save? Hahah, nope!
Use it to clear models off objectives, or to dislodge units from pesky 2+ cover. Avoid TEQs as you're just wasting firepower that can be put to much better use elsewhere, and models with high Invulnerable saves, just let volume of shots bring those down. If transports are used frequently, well just Vector Strike the metal box, and with 2-4 S7 hits you're bound to do significant damage against all but the heaviest transports, and then just roast the nicely-bunched occupants with the Baleflamer.
If you do go for the Baleflamer though (you'd be an idiot not to, let's be honest), you do leave yourself vulnerable to enemy Flyers despite what the artwork above would tell you, instead relying on your Vector Strikes against such foes. To me, this isn't much of an issue, as you're bound to have plenty of weapons to scare off Flyers, and the Helturkey is already resilient enough to withstand the firepower from anything that isn't a Storm Raven. Never bother with Jinking: you already have a 5++ save, and doing so will prevent you from firing the Baleflamer in the next turn.
Update: After a discussion with fellow Chaos players, I feel that I've put too much a harsh image on the Hades Autocannon, so I've decided to come back to it. The Hades is a 36", 4-shot S8 Autocannon, which even at BS3, can do considerable damage to light armour, including Flyers. A Heldrake with a Hades can easily provide pretty adequate anti-Flyer support, but while the Hades is good, it competes with the much more effective Baleflamer, which doesn't rely on the Heldrake's below-average Ballistic Skill. If you're against a Flyer-heavy army or a TEQ-dominated force such as Deathwing, then the Hades is a better choice, although in all other circumstances I'd be going for the Baleflamer.
Conclusion: Monstrously resilient, to put it simply this thing is one of the best, (some would call it broken) units in the entire game. Top-Tier