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BUILDING ARMIES FOR 7th:
ZOMBIE STOMP 2000
South Mississippi Gamers
Dawn of the
It's that time again, time to learn a new edition. Sixth, unfortunate for it, pasted away while still in it's prime. That might have been a good thing, after all, we had a meta dominated by this 'star and that 'star with crazy combos and 2+ rerolls. Seventh, while not a giant leap in rule changes, does attempt to even out the playing field again, albeit by throwing everything but the kitchen sink into the game! That is why I refer to 7th as 'Choosehammer'. Each gaming club, group of friends, tournament organizers or whatever can go through the rule book and pick out the things they like and don't like and play their games accordingly. There is so much to choose from here, everything from maelstrom missions, unbound lists, unlimited detachments, super-heavies, stronghold, a psychic turn and so much more. I have also noticed that they cleaned up some rules and redefined others to make things more streamlined in order to improve game flow. All in all I like what I see. We just need to have an adjustment period to figure out what parts we personally like and what parts we don't and weed them out.
New rule, it's called Objective Secured.
With the new edition comes new rules and Objective Secured is one of the biggest new rules we got this time around. For those not in the know, Objective Secured allows Troops in your Battle-Forged army to not only score (like every other unit now, btw) but it allows Troops to control objectives even if an enemy unit is within scoring range of the objective, unless the enemy unit also has this special rule. So let that sink in for a moment. This means that if you are running a Battle-Forged army and at the end of the turn you have a lone Guardsman (a troop) with say ten Chaos Terminators (non-troop) within 3" of the same objective, that lone Guardsman has just thumbed his nose at the terminators and scored that objective this turn. As you can see Objective Secured has huge potential when wielded correctly on the battlefield, especially in those critical late turns and during Maelstrom missions. Also note, as a bonus, dedicated Troop transports also benefit from the Objective Secured special rule!
Zombies, why zombies?
If you are a fan of zombies or The Walking Dead you will probably already like this army list. However, the idea behind this army is not to excite the zombie fans but to take advantage of Objective Secured. Here, let me show you the list and maybe you can see what I am talking about?
PRIMARY COMBINED ARMS DETACHMENT:
Chaos Space Marines
SORCERER -- psyker mastery level 3, spell familiar, terminator armor, melta bomb, force axe
Mutilators x2 -- mark of Nurgle
Chaos Spawn x5 -- mark of Nurgle
Chaos Land Raider -- extra armor, dozer blade, dirge caster
Chaos Space Marines
Plague Marines x5 -- meltagun x2, Chaos Rhino
Plague Marines x5 -- meltagun x2, Chaos Rhino
Plague Marines x5 -- meltagun x2, Chaos Rhino
Plague Marines x5 -- meltagun x2, Chaos Rhino
Total = 1999
Now hold on a minute, zombies not in the Typhus detachment?
Typhus's special rule about creating Plague Zombies says he can nominate any Chaos Cultists in the same army. So I am assuming 'army' means any and all the detachments on your army list. But those Plague Marines? Yes, they do have to be the same detachment as Typhus.
Granted that this is more likely a finesse list and it may take some time before you get the proper feel of utilizing large, lumbering zombie squads. That said, this list has a total of 12 units with the Objective Secured special rule. Your main focus for taking this army is to use your large number of durable troops and control the objectives your side and center. Push with your vehicles and marines and take at least one objective on their side of the board.
Between the hordes of zombies and the tough-as-nails Plague Marines you have numerous and very durable Troop squads -- every single one of them with Feel no Pain and Fearless. Try to place your objectives in ruins to make your Troops (especially zombies) even that much more durable.
The Troops, your bread and butter.
Not only do Plague Marines have Feel no Pain and Fearless but they are toughness 5 and have blight grenades for defense. And lets not forget about the Rhino they ride in, vehicles are harder to kill in 7th and dedicated troop transports have Objective Secured making them twice as valuable now. MSUs will be making a come back in a huge way.
For Chaos Space Marines you just can't get any better than the Plague Marine MSU. They might be a little pricey but they deliver the goods, plus you can give them 2 special weapons. I opted for the meltaguns just to deal with all the new vehicles we are going to be seeing on the table, including some super heavies. Your Marines are flexible, use them to capture objectives on the other side of the board, pop vehicles or run interference.
Your Plague Zombies are where this list can shine. They are rich with useful options; objective controllers, tarpits, weak melee assaulters or even use them as screens. Tarpitting is especially good against monstrous creatures and walkers.
Leaving a unit or two of zombies in reserves to walk onto objectives is good tactical sense to spare them a couple of rounds of targeting. Camp zombies on your home objectives for a rock-solid anchor and send the rest forward. You can even form an advancing undead wall across the table to block enemy ground units from advancing.
Be careful, because your opponent can just as easily turn the favor and tarpit your zombies. Also, while large zombie packs can dish out a lot of attacks in melee they won't produce very many wounds versus T 4 or better. Their true value lies in the ability to survive and never fall back -- not as offensive units. There are exceptions when you do want to attack, such as when you are wanting to tarpit a unit or swarm attack an objective's defenders to utilize Objective Secured.
With a unit so slow (zombies can't Run) you will want your zombies to control your side and the center of the board. Let your Marines do the heavy lifting on the other side of the board. If needed, the zombies can lumber their way to the other side but take into account how long it might take!
Chaos Spawn, because why not?
With the Hellturkey nerf stinging the Chaos ranks, the old reliable Chaos Spawn shines even brighter at the Fast Attack slot. And with the mark of Nurgle your army's Spawn are T 6 beasties. This unit will give your otherwise troop heavy army some tactical utility.
I think most Chaos players are familiar with these guys, run them into cover to get some saves and then pounce upon the enemy. In a pinch these guys can pop vehicles, tarpit, hit the flanks or delay enemy units like champs. Don't worry if they don't survive long, they usually don't. Threat them like a one shot missile, one with a very large warhead, and ram them into closest target that will likely cause problems for your game plan.
And now for the STOMP part of the list, Typhus and friends.
This is it, this is your Typhus mini-deathstar. Use it to attack the lynchpin of your opponent's army and control the game. Every model in this unit is 2+/5++ and thanks to Papa Nurgle they are T 5 (except the Sorcerer).
Remember when you saw those two Mutilator's in the army list and you said, 'wha-what'? Mutilators come in at about the same price as 3 Nurgle terminators but they bring an extra wound (4 instead of 3). These guys are the bodyguards of Typhus and the Sorcerer so use those wounds. They can also bring a big punch with dual powerfists making them a threat to vehicles and even super-heavies. However, their main reason for being is to soak up wounds for the HQ. I don't like that they are Slow and Purposeful, but hey, you can't have everything.
The Sorcerer is a force multiplier bringing buffing powers and a Force weapon to the party. Use this guy to buff himself and Typhus or to debuff the enemy. Originally I gave the Sorcerer a mark of Nurgle but after good advice from Chaos Pat I removed it to get the Spell Familiar. He will be benefiting from majority T 5 anyway and the Familiar is just too good not to have. With that Familiar you are twice as likely to get important buffs manifested.
For psychic powers the Sorcerer starts off with Force and then he has three powers left to generate. I suggest Biomancy. It can make your already hard-hitting unit into a truly nasty one. Iron Arm, Enfeeble, Warp Speed and Endurance all nicely compliment your mini deathstar's objective which is too beat face in hand to hand combat. Telepathy isn't bad either, it is a good option with Psychic Shriek, Shrouding, Invisibility and Hallucination. Remember you can't be using these powers while embarked in the Raider but you can manifest them on the same turn after you disembark.
And finally, Papa Nurgle's favored son, Typhus. He packs a lot of good stuff, perhaps the best being Manreaper. Now you are fighting with two AP 2 Force weapons in your big unit, and one being a Daemon weapon. You can slice through a lot of enemy flesh with those apples. Typhus's psychic powers must all come from Nurgle's Powers (decent enough) but I'd rather let the Sorcerer have all the Warp Charges to cast buffs.
Something I frequently forget with Typhus is that he has The Destroyer Hive special rule. Remember it? That once a game S 4 AP 2 ignores cover big blast in melee. Under the right circumstances it might well be worth using Destroyer Hive instead of your melee attacks but watch out for hitting your own guys (or hit them anyway -- we are playing Chaos after all).
Also don't be afraid of challenges with Typhus, you have to do them anyway. Seventh edition now allows extra wounds caused in challenges to flow over into the rest of the combat. In a nutshell, Typhus is your locomotive, going into combat and he can clear house. Just keep him away from S 10, most Walkers and other Force weapons. Typhus loves to have Endurance cast on him if you got that power.
The ride, the Chaos Land Raider.
You must get your stomp unit into combat so what better way than a Land Raider? Extra armor and a dozer blade makes sure it is always moving towards the enemy. And what self-respecting Chaos Raider would ever leave home without a pimp'n dirge caster? That is five points well spent if you can get it close enough to the enemy. Dirge Casters make Tau cry like the sissy fish they are.
If you are concerned for the Raider's health you can escort it with some Rhinos or the Chaos Spawn. The most important thing is to get it to where it needs to go and pronto. Assaulting turn two should be the priority objective, turn three at the latest. You want your stomp unit running amuck in the enemy lines so to help distract from and protect your troops.
Typhus's Warlord Trait, quite frankly, sucks the big one. And all CSM players know this already. This is the reason why I made the Sorcerer the HQ of the Primary Detachment. Now we can use him to roll a good Warlord Trait. And don't forget, Battle-Forged armies get to re-roll the Trait if they don't like the first.
The new rule book has better traits than sixth did, some much better so. And lets not forget that the Chaos Space Marine book still has some good Warlord Traits so don't dismiss them off hand. Infiltrating zombies could be boat loads of fun.
Weaknesses of the Zombie Stomp 2000.
Like all Chaos we can struggle against shooty armies; Tau, Astra Militarum, Eldar, Dark Eldar. Best advice is to hug the terrain and reserve some Troops for later in the game. Try to send zombies forth and tarpit or distract shooty units. Zombies are expendable, better they get shot up than your Marines. The Plague Marines can zoom up and melta any shooty vehicle threats.
Another weakness stems from the list's own strength, with so many Troop choices it leaves you thin with other units. This can limit your tactical flexibility. You will have to use your stomp unit and Chaos Spawn to the best advantage that you can. Granted, your zombie squads are full of tactical options but you can't be committing them all because you want to camp and control those objectives.
Kill point missions. No objectives? Just kill points for victory points? This seems like you are fighting an up hill battle, and maybe you are. But you have all these zombies so send them forward and tarpit the enemy's most fearsome units! Then use the rest of your units to mop up as many kill points as you can.
Your opponent using the new uber power of Invisibility? It is a problem for almost any list. No problem for you, zombie tarpit those units he likes to cast invisibility on!
Options, oh so many but here are some.
Deep Striking Typhus
Don't like sinking all those points into a Land Raider? Take the more risky Typhus delivery method via Deep Striking (or walking up the board). Drop the Land Raider and Mutilators. Add 8 Chaos Terminators each with mark of Nurgle and a combi-bolter (your choice of type). You will then have 34 points leftover for 8 more zombies in existing squads.
Switch out the Fast Attack
Bored with Chaos Spawn? Trade them out for a Maulerfiend with lasher tendrils leaving you with 45 points (11 more zombies for existing zombie squads). Or trade the Spawn out for a Helldrake and pocket 10 points.
I really like this guy for this list, he synergies with the Land Raider and his mechatendrils are no joke giving you +2 attacks, a melta gun and a flamer. You can add a Warpsmith with a mark of Nurgle and Aura of Dark Glory if you remove a Marine squad and their Rhino leaving you with 15 extra points to spend on 4 more zombies.
Unfortunately, the Warpsmith does not come with an invulnerable save. Originally I had him with a Sigil of Corruption until Chaos Pat corrected me because Warpsmiths can't take special wargear. So a 5++ from Dark Glory will have to do. Warpsmiths can bring some depth to your game plan with nice abilities for your vehicles, an option to curse enemy vehicles and you can make any one piece of terrain have a -1 to cover saves. He is also rocking a Power Axe so he can slice through armor like the best of 'em. Throw this guy into the Raider with your Stomp party and go to town!
More Zombies, never enough zombies!
Go all out zombie hoard. Drop the Chaos Spawn and add a zombie unit of 35. And add 7 more zombies to some existing zombie squads.
Want even more zombies? Drop the Land Raider and Mutilators to give you three more zombie units of 18 each. Mix and match with the number of zombies in your squads to how you like it but don't go under 10 or over 35. Without the Raider, Typhus and the Sorcerer will have to walk up the field with a big group of zombies. Keep another group of zombies close for them to join incase their zombies get thinned out.
Maximum Zombies go!
See the very last section of this article. I wouldn't look if zombies give you nightmares.
More Options, slimming down the Zombie Stomp for 1850 and 1750.
For 1850 either remove a Plague Marine unit with Rhino or the big 34 zombie unit plus 3 more zombies from other units. If you remove the Marines it leaves you 25 points to spare for 6 more zombies.
For 1750 remove a Plague Marine unit with Rhino plus a 25 zombie unit. This leaves you with 35 points to spare for 8 more zombies.
Collecting all those zombies.
Don't don't feel like green stuffing some cultists or guardsmen? Luckily you have some options for zombie models. I present thee with several of such options.
Games Workshop Zombies and Ghouls
Sticking with GW, the Warhammer Fantasy zombies from the Vampire Counts army is a good source of zombies. They come 20 per box and look good but you will need to find round bases. The price is a little steep at $35 a box. A big plus is that they are plastic, you don't want to be lugging around 80 or so zombies that weight a ton.
Also from the Fantasy range is a box of 10 Crypt Ghouls. To me these guys are three times cooler looking than the Fantasy Zombies. However, you pay extra for that coolness at $25 a box.
Mantic Games Ghouls and Apokalypse Marines
Mantic Games, another British company, has a box called Ghoul Regiment that looks pretty much like zombies. They also look pretty danged cool, they are plastic and come 20 to a box. Comes with square bases, so again, you must buy round bases. The cost is good at 15 pounds which currently translates into $25.
Also from Mantic Games comes this gem, the Zombie Apokalypse Marine box. This sweet deal comes with 35 awesome looking zombie marines for the price of 25 pounds (currently $42). These models are absolutely great. They look like undead zombie guardsmen. Mantic Games calls this kit a 'veteran conversion kit'. But don't worry, a 40ker wouldn't even break a sweat putting this kit together since it is an all to familiar type of set up; multiple sprues with lots of different ways to put the models together. And as an added bonus this box kit comes with round bases. However, I am not certain if they are the correct legal sized bases for 40K infantry.
Wargames Factory Zombies
For the best deal there is the Wargames Factory Zombie Horde (male) box that sells for $22 and comes with 30 miniatures. That is roughly 74 cents per model. I'm not sure if the box comes with bases, I don't think it does. The zombies in this set are all modern day civilian types. If you use these guys you could make it as if Typhus raised a bunch of zombies from the planet's dead civilian population after Nurgle's blessing (diseases) killed them all.
Last, but not least. I leave you with this. Hold on to your hat.
OK, I admit it, I just had to know the maximum amount of zombies I could conceivably cram into a 2000 point Battle-Forged army. Here is your answer. . . . .
The MIGHTY ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE 2000
Primary Detachment: Chaos Space Marines
Secondary Detachment: Chaos Space Marines
The author is a member of South Mississippi Gamers and plays three factions: Astra Militarum, Chaos and Space Wolves. He is no expert at 40K and probably never will call himself such. That being said take this article for what it is, a conversation about a game that we all enjoy to play and discuss.