Sunday, April 10, 2016

40k Flashback - Third Edition Chaos Space Marine Codex

I am a member of Hall of Veterans. While I don't play 49k anymore I really enjoy the material these guys put out and am happy to support them will a monthly stipend.

Recently they released a YouTube video on the 3rd Edition Chaos Space Marine codex. You can watch it here:

It goes through what was unquestionably in my mind the greatest army book Games Workshop ever released. CSM 3rd Ed was released in 2002. Written by Pete Haines, it was so good it went through at least three printings (there was a rumoured fourth but I always felt that was just a re-release of the second printing). I had all three of them as the book got a lot of use. In the Dunn household there were two Death Guard armies, the Emperor's Children, Word Bearers, World Eaters (Jack's), an Iron Warriors army (regular readers know it isn't finished) and Thousand Sons.

The video is a real walk down BITD-land. It goes through the various Daemonic Gifts even mentioning the difference between Daemonic Speed and Daemonic Flight (Silly Hilly!!!).

There will be a second part in the next fortnight.

It was great to bathe in the nostalgia of a time when Plague Lord Cothrax and Noise Lord Challis Drant strode the battlefields like colossus winning six Games Workshop Grand Tournaments between them (including the only ever Australian Grand Tournament). On their path of destruction they destroyed the myth of Haakon Ironwolf consigning him to little more than a side note in their glorious tale.

But check out the video. Reminisce about the Dark Blade, wallow in the goodness that were Combat Drugs and relive the glory days of the Shattered Legions.

And then go and curse the name, Gav Thorpe!


  1. Out of curiousity, was this quite a powerful army book, relative to the other 40k books available at the time? I know you enjoyed the unique flavour and character that each of the Legions had, but do you think your liking for it was affected by how strong it was?

    1. It was a strong book but there was a large amount of Peer Comp that smoothed that out.

      I'd say it was behind the Eldar Codex (certainly in non-comp environment, non-comp Dark Eldar would destroy it - as they would any Power Armoured list.

      It was outshot by Tau so terrain density was impt.

      Uncomp'd Iron Warriors was about the worst as you got extra Heavy Slot.

      But you never really saw Uncomp'd 40k in was very much the Rogue Trader era.

    2. Well it's a pretty special army book when you've got seven completly different armies from it, with scope for more if they'd appealled to you.

    3. 'It was a strong book but...'

    4. The book was nowhere near as strong as some of the early 3rd books. It would get it's clock cleaned by:

      Dark Eldar with multiple Ravagers, Lord with Drugs and shadowfield, minmax DE Dark Lance squads backed by wyches

      Eldar Star Cannon army of Doom,skimmers with CTM, multiple squads of Swooping Hawks,,,,and let's not start with the Phoenix Lords esp Baharroth

      Blood Angels and Space Wolves in the days of assaulting directly from rhinos, Wolf scouts, Long Fangs, Death Company with free power fists etc

      Where it was useful was in comp'd events where top taken off lists and once rhino rush was banned.It also introduced some new weapons e.g. Defiler which allowed a lot of the CSM to reach out and touch somebody.

      For me the big plus were the Index astartes special rules which allowed you to build characterful but diverse armies that generally played to fluff. For instance:

      Emperors Children - noise weapon squads and havocs backed by Daemonettes

      Death Guard - a brick of an army with Plaguebearers/Nurglings, and walkers

      Word Bearers had full range of daemons - Screamers, Daemonettes, Bloodletters and PBs led by Dark Apostle with Dark crosius

      Iron Warriors - generally the most abused as you could give up a FA choice for extra Heavy Support. They also had Basilisk option. You used to see Daemon Prince plus min max Las/plas squads with Basilisk, Havoks, etc

    5. I don't think anyone would ever doubt the Codex in question allowed you to play characterful armies (e.g. sacred numbers). The Cult armies having Fearless was pretty awesome, and the less we talk about summoned daemonettes on steeds near an Icon the better!

  2. Hopefully a new one comes out soon the latest BL and CS supplements don't really improve things from the details released so far. Considering CSM are THE 40k bad guys the lack of a decent strong codec is surprising

    1. I always thought that the Orks, Dark Eldar, Tyranids or Necrons were the bad guys and chaos marines were just spiky versions of marines created so GW had an explanation as to why two ranges of the same models were fighting each other.