Editor: Gregory Vettese (@GregoryVettese on Twitter) is a longtime friend whom I recently roped back into playing Warhammer 40K CCG games through Whereby. As a Chaos specialist, I asked him for his thoughts on playing the Heretic Astartes in the card game. Enjoy!
A few months ago, Derfington mentioned he uncovered his Warhammer 40K cards while cleaning his home during the COVID-19 lockdown. That brought back memories, as we were Warhammer fans, we used to play both the tabletop game and the card game together in the early 00’s. When Derfington showed me his blog, I was intrigued, but when he shared a YouTube video of him opening packs, I was hooked. I did not remember much about the gameplay, except that Flamers were good and for some reason I did not have any in my 2002 deck!
Original Deck: 2002 Era
Fleet: Chaos (60 Cards and 56 flags)
My initial thoughts:
- What was I thinking by having 35 assault units and no transport! There should be at least 1 Land Raider or Rhino.
- I could use more Squad Pyrus because I like the reaction that locks units.
- Squad Xenris is initially attractive, but dumb. It is easily blocked and probably won’t hit high firepower on anything useful.
- Pink Horror Swarm is strange. It doesn’t give card advantage, but it can remove anything. At least it is a fast blocker with a high die roll and 3 armour.
- Loreleis should be cut, as it is a singleton of not a particularly strong card.
- Unsure about Plague Marine Terminators and Dark Reavers. Plague Marine Terminators work against Emperor’s Children and are d2.
- I’m unsure what to think about Tzeench Pink Horrors in an infantry-heavy deck.
- I could add a few non-flag units, character, Flamers, Bunker Complexes, and a Great Unclean One.
Current Deck 2020-09-21
I removed the singleton cards in my original deck and added Tzeentch Flamers, Bunker Complexes, and Chaos Obliterators. The deck is balanced between shooting and assaulting. It is designed to punish the opponent’s rolls, and leverage reactions to rally, charge, or infiltrate, shoot with Chaos Space Marines, and protect them with a few high-speed blockers. During deployment I want to setup combos like Bunker Complex and Tzeentch Flamers (for reaction charging) and/or Chaos Space Marines/Perdition’s Fury/Plague Marine Terminators to shut down enemy shooting. There is nothing wrong with doubling up on the Bunker Complex to force a second roll to shoot.
As Chaos units lack armour boosts, I deploy units to give my opponent tough choices, e.g., kill the Traitor Space Marines and risk infiltration from Khorne Bloodletters or kill the Khorne Bloodletters and rally the FP3 Traitor Space Marines? Due to these reaction synergies I tend to do better in large battles rather than small ones. It is a relatively high-rolling deck, so D6 damage units hit hard, and I am not afraid of 5+ tests. Unfortunately, my deck is vulnerable to Vindicators specifically and Avatars in general. Show me a deck that is not afraid of the Avatar.
I use the Chaos fleet card ability to replace deployment hands that have too many weak units with good rolls or command lines like Juggernauts of Khorne, Black Horsemen (unless blocking is needed), and Renegade Space Marines. I should be running Great Unclean Ones with all the roll modification I have. I tried Chaos Land Raiders for three games, but I was not impressed with them; I do not think I have enough infantry assault units. I want to like Chaos Bikes or Raptors more. One weakness revealed by my games with Derfington is the low playability of most command hands. Also, the superior survivability of loyalist Space Marines is enviable.
The Case Against Flesh Hounds
I looked at the archived old Sabertooth Games forums and I found a discussion I participated in about Khorne Flesh Hounds. My verdict then is the same as now: they are bad, especially without card drawing support or lots of Greater Daemons. And even then, I am skeptical of a non-flag unit with die roll 2, armour 2, and only the ability to 2 infiltrate assault units (which would require an assault-based deck to make it worthwhile). No command line can forgive the art.