Thursday, 1 September 2016

For the Emperor? Using Emperors Children in Epic 40k

If you've read my previous battle report involving the Emperors Children you would already be aware that I'm a big fan of chaos marines and really appreciate what this new list brings to the table. Probably the biggest advantage to running the EC over the more generic black legion is that this list has far more flexibility. Bear this in mind as you read because in my mind EC is unique to the other cult marine lists (e.g World Eaters or Death Gaurd) because you can run a very themey noise marines style list or you can run it as just a more flexible version of a more generic Black Legion style list with some differences apparent in areas like daemons and war engines. 

A big thanks to my mate Kenny for providing pics of his awesome EC army

Emperor's Children Core choices
Absolutely my favourite part of this new list is in the standard core marine option. My big gripe with Black Legion has always been here. In Black Legion you would spend 825 points buying 3 core options, these are central to unlocking access to support formations and the only real way to boost activation count to reasonable levels. For standard Astartes this isn't a problem because their list is way more flexible in this respect. The problem for Black Legion then is that you spend your 825 points but all you get are 3 units of essentially tactical marines with no transport that really can't do much. All marines are solid in engagement but only if they have the transport option to get them there, chaos ones can use daemons but that adds to the cost, drop pods are an option but that's a cost etc... The limited number of tactical formations you see in Loyalist formations really reinforces this significant weakness to the Black Legion. 
      Now for Emperors Children this isn't so big a problem because the core formation is both smaller and cheaper by 50pts. So in that example above you buy those 3 formations and already you are 150pts ahead, which could easily be another activation or points you can spend to get yourself some flexibility. Maybe you will use those 50 points to buy transport options to give the unit more flexibility. Alternatively you might invest in a couple of noise marines so that you can park your supreme commander on a base of fearless troops, or invest in some havoks to make a garrison with extra bang for your buck etc. I also love the option to throw in a DP and then load that unit into a thunderhawk. You will see most of these options in the build I'll put below and in the battle report I did earlier. Overall the point being that e flexibility here is magic so experiment. 

Elite formations
Chosen - an absolutely fantastic unit, great for activation padding and fantastic for babysitting objectives whilst the more important units run forward and do more important killing activities. That's even before you factor in just how far you can spread 4 scouts across the table to grab multiple things or use them for blocking terminators and other shenanigans. In my mind these are a 1+ unit and combined with terminators you should be filling very available slot that you generate with core marine formations. 

Chaos terminators - These guys are an essential unit for loyal Astartes and my feeling is they bring a lot to chaos marines too. The big problem for Black Legion has always been a lack of reliable delivery system. Emperors Children are lucky because they get thunderhawks again which means their value goes up massively in my mind and is another reason why I rate Emperors Children far higher than Black Legion. The only risk you have to be conscious of is that while on the ground the chaos thunderhawk is far more vulnerable because of the lack of BM resilience that loyalists get. 

Noise Marines - whether you include these or not will ultimately be decided by how fluff oriented you want to be. If you don't care too much then the termies and chosen are both much better options tactically. Especially when it's so easy to drop noise marines into the core marine choices too. 

Support choices 

Armoured Company - Personally I'm not a huge fan of predators and land raider formations in Chaos Marine armies. The small unit size, especially for land raiders makes them extremely vulnerable to being broken and then picked off despite their armour. I do like small units of predators which can be good because they are fast and can throw around a few blast markers or bring pain to light vehicles etc.

Raptors - kind of nyah to me. On balance base contact engagement is far riskier than FF engagement because the extra distance to make BC is tricky and proximity to the enemy will inevitably lead to higher casualties as you expose yourself to more return fire. I'll stick with standard marines and FF engagements or termies for BC hits, these guys add nothing to the list in my mind. 

Bikes - similar to raptors in my mind, not a bad unit but not one that adds anything to the mix that you can't achieve easily with other choices. The option to include daemon summoning is about the only reason I would experiment with bikes. 

To Daemon or not to Daemon? 
This one is always tricky too. Daemons can be amazing, they add hitting power and if you are clever can extend your engagement range or add amazing abilities like inspiring exactly where you need it. Of course you could also roll crap and spend a chunk of points on something you don't get value out of... I tend to no worry so much with daemons because anything that takes away from activations in the army are a bad idea to me. But I've seen great use of daemons in conjunction with drop pod attacks and so forth so if you are interested they are worth exploring. 

War engines and spacecraft 
This is definitely the hardest one to decide on because their are so many amazing choices here: 

Questor Titans - a fantastic shooting support unit with great FF value. These guys are brilliant for clearing out light vehicles or infantry blobs and their speed is fantastic for objective grabbing. I usually try to fit one in. 

Subjugator Titan - My original encounters with these units were always in Lost And The Damned lists and even then I thought they were great. When you consider though that in EC the army strat rating goes up to 4 they are even better. Hold them back till the end, run them up the field and prepare for a big hit on something critical and they can be amazing. If there's nothing great to attack just use the battle cannons and the speed. You do need to be careful though because you need to be in base contact to use the snip snips but that of course is inside your own shields... A very tactical unit. 

Thunderhawk - As I mentioned earlier I think these are one of the best differences between Black Legion and Emperors Children. An absolutely compulsory unit in my mind, only real question is if you want to run 1 or 2. 

Spacecraft - Now it starts to get tricky because those first 3 are all amazing options. The basic devastation class cruiser is a solid choice for its macro pie plate and D3TK shot which can be awesome. That said I generally won't invest in one unless I'm focussing on a drop pod build so it's an optional choice to me. The bigger ship I've never considered seriously. 

Hell Talon bombers - Chaos bombers are really awesome choices but I always struggle to fit them in because the Titans and thunderhawk are so good too. That said its worth considering because as a fighter bomber it does allow you some extra AA which otherwise the army is consistently lacking. Couple that with the ignore cover bombing runs and you can do brilliant things with this highly flexible unit. 

Hell blades - just a poor option in every respect compared to the flexibility of the bombers in my opinion. Their biggest issue is their very short range that means you will almost always be copping some return. 

Harbinger - for much the same reasons already outlined this guy will never see a run in my list. Too many points in a unit that can go down with a single crit and just too many good options. 

Knight packs - I've seen lots of players include these and I can see that they are a great unit in many respects. I don't run them because by now you will have worked out there is so many awesome options. If you can get your hands on some of these they are definitely worth exploring. My builds tends to focus on activation count as priority 1 so I usually don't include Knight packs because I want 4 choices from my 1000 points. 

Overall expect your Emperors Children to play out much like every other marines army, engagement is your friend, trying to outshoot most armies will not end well. All marines are a scalpel to an imperial Gaurd sledge hammer and should be played in that style. Your air engagement will often be the moment that makes or breaks the game so don't squander it. Often it's worth holding them back until the last activation of the turn and see what your enemy does, if there's no good opportunity in turn 1 then hold off till turn 2 or even 3. Alternatively that battle cannon on the thunderhawk can be great for sniping off a vulnerable formation, especially small units like Gaurd hydra batteries or Deathstrikes. 
      Also recognise the significance of your strat rating, it might not be as good as standard marines but it's much better than most armies and will give you awesome options to hold back an activation, run up at the end of a turn and pounce with first activation in the next turn. 
      The rest is really up to you and your individual flavour and style. Be aggressive and push for objectives, make your BTS a core infantry unit with fearless guys so it's damn hard to kill and never leave home without a sup com. 

Sample build 1 - is from the bat rep posted up a while back and focuses a lot on ground troops and war engines with some teleporters and a thunderhawk full of daemon prince to be the main hit.

6 Chaos Marine units, Stalker, Replace 2 chaos marine units with 2 Noise Marine units, Chaos Warlord (Supreme Commander)

6 Chaos Marine units, Chaos Marine, Daemon Prince

6 Chaos Marine units, 2 Chaos Marine, Sorcerer Lord

6 Chaos Marine units, Sorcerer Lord, 3 Rhino

CHOSEN [145]
4 Chaos Space Marine Chosen, 2 Rhino

CHOSEN [125]
4 Chaos Space Marine Chosen

Chaos Lord, 4 Terminator

Chaos Lord, 4 Terminator





Sample build 2  - Is from a mate of mine who has a proven history as an outstanding build designer and player. He shares some of his thoughts here: 

This list was designed around manoeuvrability with little hitting power deployed initially.
The Tactics revolved around a turn 2 drop. Space Ship was nearly always deployed for turn 2 carrying 2 units of Chaos Marines ready to assault/support their brothers in a big hit on where I expected their bts/big thing to be positioned in turn 2. This worked surprisingly well as I could predict my target based on how they deployed objectives and how I manoeuvred my models in turn 1, could steer my opponent. Once landed I'd set the havoc unit within 15 of the enemy before retaining with the second unit spawning ablative daemons and killing the target.
      The Termies were thrown at a vulnerable big hitter - artillery or titan, but these were my least successful unit. Without their Codex Astartes brothers rules or higher Strategy rating, they were invariably destroyed by being broken and chewed - a thunderhawk pickup, dropping the wasted daemonic pact, and better target selection - I could have made them work. Ideally this unit would have done better if I placed them near my drop podding units or near the path of some supporting units.
      My retinues, depending on my chances of getting the Strat roll would happily race straight at the enemy at the end of turn 1 or 2 - swamping my opponent with targets, hoping to win strat and roll over my enemy before having my drop pods come in to protect their flank.
      The predator squad was to give a mobile gun platform to threaten enemy armour - good speed combined with 6 twin lascannon shots would see them race into the right place each time. One of my better units.
      The Scourges are a fantastic unit with great killing potential - which equals a big target on their head. Considering the lion share of my activations are 1+ initiative, the 2+ and invariable blast marker gave me the dreads when looking to activate them. Best use of this unit is of course their firefight and speed. With 2DC and FF 3+, I caught a number of opponents out by running an engage with them and then positioning them close enough to support my next engagement.
      Finally, my air support. The Hellblades are puss compared to the much more tactically flexible Helltalons. Considering I had no AA deployed, they did a great job, but had to play conservatively against opponents with superior fliers or AA.
      The best tactic with this list, is to run units in mutually supporting pairs. Always keep in mind to have 2 units in supporting range of each other. Unit one preps the enemy and moves within supporting fire fight range and unit 2 rolls in for the engage. Keep this rolling and you'll beat your enemy in no time.

Emperor's Children (4.0) 

6 Lesser Daemon 

RETINUE [390] 
6 Chaos Marine units, 4 Rhino, Daemonic Pact, 2 Chaos Marine, Chaos Warlord (Supreme Commander)

RETINUE [255] 
6 Chaos Marine units, Chaos Lord, 3 Rhino

RETINUE [305] 
6 Chaos Marine units, 6 Dreadclaws, Replace 4 chaos marine units with 4 Havok units, Sorcerer Lord

RETINUE [330] 
6 Chaos Marine units, Replace 4 chaos marine units with 4 Noise Marine units, 6 Dreadclaws, Sorcerer Lord, Daemonic Pact

CHOSEN [145] 
4 Chaos Space Marine Chosen, 2 Rhino

Chaos Lord, 5 Terminator, Daemonic Pact

2 Emperors Children Predator, 2 Emperors Children Land Raider

4 Hell-Scourge

3 Hellblade Interceptors

2 Helltalon Fighter Bombers



  1. Great write up Steve! Kenny's pink trouser bandits do look the business in those pics.

  2. Awesome looking army and a great article. Isnt the Hell Scourges unit more expensive than 300 points? I think they are 90 points each.