Gav Thorpe has been taking a lot of flak over the last couple of years regarding his work on the current edition of the Codex: Chaos Space Marines, to which he has responded in a posting on his own blog Mechanical Hamster. Chaos Marines were the first 40k army that I seriously collected and painted after graduating from college and they even accompanied me to my one Grand Tournament in 2004 as a DIY chapter of renegade Chaos Marines. I later collected a fully converted Death Guard army complete with all the Forgeworld goodness not too long before the latest Codex was released. Once I saw how much of my Death Guard stuff was invalidated, as well as all of the Daemonic elements of my Chaos Renegades and most of the organization of the squads too, I lost all of my enthusiasm for Chaos Marines and indeed for 40k in general. However, after reading about all of the criticisms heaped upon Mr. Thorpe and his attempted to respond, I have now decided to collect yet another Chaos Space Marines army. My goal is to collect a Chaos army specifically for the current Codex rather than trying to adapt one of my pre-existing armies to suit the new list. I could reuse many of the figures from my old Tournament army but I would rather start fresh, especially since people were always mistaking them for either Word Bearers or World Eaters. Plus I still plan on painting my loyalists Marines in red so I would prefer to not have my Chaos Marines with such a similar color selection.
I've worked out army lists going from 500 points up to 2000 points so as to help guide me in making useful purchases, although I need to check the warehouse to see just what Chaos stuff I have left over. After spending some time studying the Codex I quickly remembered why I initially did not like it so much as to abandon the game for a time with this book at least partially to blame. I was really excited about the plastic Chaos Terminators finally coming out but all the changes made to Chaos took me by surprise and that was it for the spikey ones. Now that I've come back to look at the Codex with the new attitude and a much more open mind, I still miss the old style of Chaos armies but I can appreciate the new style for its own merits. It seems that Chaos has been purged of much of its most characteristic features from the last few iterations and building an army list is now a rather simple matter. It's unfortunate that the HQ units have so few equipment options and I really miss the customization offered by the old Chaos Gifts which are completely gone. Otherwise I think it is a fairly strong army Codex, although having Possessed Marines determine their ability after deployment instead of before deployment is really annoying. I also now understand why players are frustrated with the psychic power Lash of Submission, but I still plan on using it in my 2000 point army. At least that is one thing that I can easily change to another power once it becomes too abusive to still be fun.
As soon as I can I'll check through my Chaos collection and bits to see what I have ready for assembly. I think I have all that I'll need for my first 500 points although I may be short one Rhino. Of course I also need to settle on how I plan on painting these guys but I certainly still have time to consider that. Right now I'm leaning toward Black Legion for the sake of simplicity, although I would be happy to go with another Renegade chapter if a better color scheme comes to mind. Here then is my inital 500 point list on which I plan on collecting:
Chaos Space Marine Lord (125) Plasma pistol, power weapon, meltabombs
9 Chaos Space Marines (200) Meltagun, Aspiring Champion with plasma pistol and power fist
Chaos Rhino (35)
5 Chaos Space Marines (140) Plasma gun, Aspiring Champion with plasma pistol, power weapon, and meltabombs