Friday, October 19, 2012

Kharn the Betrayer Ideas

Kharn. He's some man for the skulls.
I was in two minds about my next article but I reckoned that I'd run with more thoughts on Special Characters before moving onto units and army builds. Next up is another of my favourite feens and arguably most iconic of all Chaos Marines: Kharn the Betrayer. Or Betrayer the Betrayer if you are able to read Arabic, according to some.

I've been a fan since his short story by Bill King featured in Inferno Magazine #1 was included in White Dwarf (the one with the kill-count ticking away in his helmet's visor) although there's a resident gamer in my group that is an uber-fanboy of Kharn, but his blushes will be saved and he'll not be named, but you know who you Daire.

So how best do you help Kharn collect skulls for his perpetually angry patron?

Like the other fancy guys in the new book, Kharn has been given a boost from his previous incarnation so that he's much more of a bad-ass than he was before, although this has been tempered by him being forced to issue/accept challenges and to roll on the Eye of the Gods if he wins said challenge. He also unlocks Khorne Beserkers as Troops and any unit he joins gets re-rolls to hit when in the 1st round of combat thanks to his Warlord Trait of  Hatred Inkharnate.


He still has his 'I hit my friends on 1's' Betrayer rule-hangover from the previous edition but it probably wouldn't be Kharn without it. Thankfully the odds of him bagging someone from his own team are quite low even with the 6" threat range of Betrayer, thanks to Hatred. Hitting everybody on 2+ is a solid upside to this and when combined with his I5, AP 2 and Armourbane in combat its clear that he can tear his way through most things in the game. That's all before you include Furious Charge, Rage (7 S7 Attacks on the charge) and his Plasma Pistol for AP 2 precision pew-pew.

With subtlety thrown completely out the window its arguably best to keep things simple and make straight for  the enemy lines and ram Kharn down their throats. I could make this a short blog post and leave it there but it might not be that helpful, seeing as there's plenty of stuff the enemy can do to keep Kharn from rampaging through his lines like sacrificing some pleb Sergeant-equivalent every turn while killing the delivery system and leaving him stuck in the open to suck Plasma or some Instant-Death dealing weapon because while he might kick seven shades of shite out of most things he cannot take much punishment before he falls over seeing as he's only wearing Power Armour with a 5++ and doesn't have Eternal Warrior. 

Knowing that he needs someone/thing to lock down any challengers so he can do his thing against the plebs in the enemy unit and not have his attacks wasted also means that he might be an idea for him to buddy up with another IC as well as a unit champion, it might be a case of putting all of your eggs in one basket which is normally a solid thing to avoid doing. If you're going to run a cheap Khorne Lord then maybe having just the Lord is the way to go? He can do the same job with a better save and potentially more attacks and allows Berzerkers to be Troops, so is Kharn worth the difference in points?

Here's a comparator:

Chaos Lord with Mark of Khorne, Axe of Blind Fury (even if Colin hates it), Sigil, Plasma Pistol, Veteran of the Long War
155 pts.

D6 + 3 AP 2 attacks every turn, with 2 for Rage and 1 for Counter-Attack when charged, a 4+ Invul save, Plasma Pistol and re-rolls to hit against Space Marines and only punching himself and not his buddies seems like a good deal less but he doesn't get a 2+ Deny the Witch roll and an 'F U' to Force Weapons Instant Death ability plus Hatred against everything via the Warlord Trait, which for 5 points seems like a good deal to buff any unit Kharn joins, plus you don't have to worry about punching yourself or missing in a horrendous round of combat dice rolls.

So, instead of a single Khornate loony why not run a super smash-brother to double-up on collecting skulls (even if Kharn trusts no-one)? Kharn and his mirror cost just over 300 pts but you can probably afford to swap the Pistol out for a Juggernaught to give him a handy boost to his stats and to his threat range, which is a far better course of action than packing a gun that can blow up in your face - you're already running enough risks with the Axe he's carrying. Again, here are a few theme lists to run Kharn and his buddy Nage in.

The KharnNage Horde approach:

Kharn
160 pts
Nage
Mark of Khorne, Axe of Blind Fury, Sigil, Veteran of the Long War, Juggernaught
175 pts

30 Cultists
130 pts
30 Cultists
130 pts
15 Berzerkers with Icon and VotLW, Meltabomb on the Champ
325 pts
3 x 10 CSM with BP/CCW, 2 Meltas, VotLW
3 x 160 pts

3 x 5 Spawn
3 x 150 pts = 450 pts

No long ranged guns here, just a wall of dudes running forwards with Spawn to lock stuff down on Turn 1 or 2 to allow the 6 decent scoring combat units to get stuck in. Kharn goes with a unit of Cultists, Nage with the other while the Zerks and CSM rush forward as well but you can have a unit hang back to cover objectives if you need to. Cultists: a decent combat unit? They are with Kharn or Nage in there. One reason there are so many units is because you want to avoid multi-charging with anything with Rage so that you lose its benefit in the first round to throw out as many attacks as possible to offset any losses you suffer, because this list will bleed. Thankfully, 2/3 of the army is Fearless and the rest is Ld 10. You've got a few Melta weapons to tackle tanks, 2+ saves and multi-wounders on the way in but there is just about enough Kraks and high S attacks to take out car parks should you need to.

Fast-moving armies will be a balls to deal with but you should have enough guys to cover the middle of the board very quickly and corrale them into a formation that suits you before you hit them with everything: Spawn are quite good at this as they've got a potential 24" move and charge range (usually 20" rounding down but they do have Fleet and ignore cover when charging) and with T5 and Fearless they can actually win a lot of combats on their own against weaker combat units. They're a bargain for 150 pts. You do have to be careful that they don't all get wasted fighting against something that will chew through them despite their T5 as they don't have any save unless they roll it on their random chart, and in this list they've no psykers capable of throwing buff powers like Endurance or Invisibility onto them.

The same can probably be said of the Zerkers - they're expensive and scoring so they'll probably be targeted early on so their numbers will be thinned enough so they don't do too much damage when they it and can be dealt with through either a mass of bodies or a more elite combat unit. This is why Kharn and Nage run with the scrub units - they've basically got 30-odd wounds until they get stuck in, they can take a pounding from Overwatch fire and it also prevents you from putting all of your eggs into one basket so that if one unit is lost all of your combat hitting power isn't gone.

Lowriders

Stick loads of feens/eses/whatever in bouncy rides and drive straight toward your target.

Kharn
Nage on his Jugger

8 Zerkers with Icon, VotLW, Champ has Mutation and Meltabomb
183 pts
Rhino with Dozer
40 pts
10 CSM with MoK, VotLW, Melta
180 pts
Rhino
40 pts
10 CSM with MoK, VotLW, Melta
180 pts
Rhino
40 pts
24 Cultists
106 pts

7 Bikers with 2 Plasma guns, Icon, VotLW, MoK
221 pts
5 Spawn
150 pts

5 Havocs with 4 Autocannons, VotLW
120 pts
5 Havocs with 4 Autocannons, VotLW
120 pts

5 Havocs with 4 Autocannons, VotLW
120 pts

This puts out much more firepower than the last one thanks to the Havocs and Bikers. The Bikers are Zerks are running as 8-man units to keep the theme but also to give them durability. Kharn runs with the scrubby Cultists, which are there to draw fire while the 3 Rhino squads get into position and take some of the heat off the other non-mounted units. The fast units can head down a flank and tie stuff up/demolish it with the Havocs covering the Rhinos as the move 18" turn one and then set the Marines up for a charge.

There are a few more builds floating around in my head such as one that involves Huron leading the army and  putting Kharn in with some Infiltratring Termies while Huron holds the centre with all the scrubby Marines and shooty elements to back them up, as well as a Dark Apostle backing Kharn up and helping him to re-roll his Eye of the Gods rolls to buff him into something even more terrifying, as well as running Kharn as the sole HQ backed up with more Elite units belting forward. There's also the idea of running an Undecided ML 3 Biomancy Sorcerer to throw buff and debuff powers around to make Kharn & Co. more dangerous.

To be honest, I've actually found that while Kharn is one of the best HQs in the list he's also the hardest to run a Khorne-teamed list when Allies are factored in because much of the Khornate Daemon army simply isn't as good as it was before because their weapons are largely all AP 3 and they've got hardly any guns to back up the sprint across the board. When it comes to running an Undecided list he's quite cheap for what he does and when the army is loaded up with cheap Nurgle thingies it's something to be reckoned with but I'll leave that for a later post.

Daemon buddies
Seeing as the Khornate Lesser Daemons are a bit sucky you can always run a skeleton crew of them and load up on killy stuff. Here's something that might cause lots of problems, even though some things are expensive.

Kharn
160
Daemon Prince with Wings, MoK, Axe of Blind Fury, Power Armour
255 pts

30 Cultists
130 pts
3 x 5 Zerks
3 x 105 pts = 315 pts
3 x Rhino with Dozer
3 x 40 pts = 120 pts

5 Spawn
150 pts

2 x 5 Havocs with 4 Autocannons
2 x 115 pts = 230 pts

Bloodthirster with Unholy Might, Blessing of the Blood God
275 pts
8 Bloodletters
160 pts
Khorne DP
Wings, Iron Hide
185 pts

The Troops hide except for the Cultists carrying Kharn who bolt upfield with the Spawn and 3 Flying Monsters with the Havocs providing cover fire. The Letters drop in and hide somewhere or get stuck in if they can. They're only there because you have to take them and I'm not onto totally cheesy lists yet (I'd probably take Plaguebearers instead).

If you really want you can always drop something and shovel in more Berzerkers and throw them forward but they need to be protected from fire and the Flyers really do need support as unlike many of the other ones (e.g. Flyrants) they are unable to shoot something when they show up so they need supporting firepower to peel open tanks to allow them to get at the squishy units inside. They are resilient enough to survive being downed and subsequently shot and when they get there they throw out a huge amount of attacks between them - in particular the CSM DP, as he's got D6 + 6 S 9 attacks with AP 2 on the charge so there's no real need for him to bother with Smashing anything when he gets stuck in. They'll buy time for Kharn to arrive and get chopping while the Spawn cockblock potential counter-charges or units that want to bog down the support from arriving.

So there's another article with a few more thoughts on the CSM characters. Next up will be Lucius, then Typhus before I come back with some thoughts on Ahriman, as I've got to use him in a few games lately.

Comments and crits welcome as always.

9 comments:

  1. Awesome post even if you didn't give me credit for Nate (class name though). Just a few points; Nate should probably run with the spawn as they can both run (if needed to) and more importantly fleet together. The Khorne daemon prince also cannot have the axe of blind fury (he doesn't have the mark of Khorne, he's a daemon of Khorne) but he's probably better off with the black mace as he makes it AP2 (see smash USR) and keeps its awesome Cursed special rule (for anti horde) plus the bonus attacks for it being a daemon weapon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nate? Who in the blue hell is this Nate guy you've mentioned twice? Nage is the dude above.

      The DP: Ugh. He can't have the Axe? That's a pity. I'm not sure its a good idea to pack even more points onto the DP tbh so he might just run nekkid and hope for the best. It does seriously hamper his killing power though. I reckon that might get FAQ'ed to be less nonsensical ala Plague Zombies being capped at 10.

      Or you could just plough the points into more killy units, in the case of the last list its probably best to buff the scoring units as you've only got 4 small squads and some Cultists.

      Delete
    2. Wow: literally minutes after I finish typing this I come across the new CSM FAQ.

      http://www.games-workshop.com/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m2710181a_Chaos_Space_Marines_v1.0a.pdf

      It turns out I can have the Axe on Blind Fury on a DP of Khorne. Boss.

      And even better, Typhus can add more guys to his squads of Plague Zombies. Class.

      Delete
    3. Nage, my bad. I wonder why they scraped 5 points off of the Hellbrute? Plus wheeeeeeew zombies!

      Delete
    4. Its because the HB was 100 pts in non-English editions of the codex. I'm just happy they've fixed Typhus and the Termies weapon options tbh.

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Now I am both intrigued and confused John. To what does your cryptic comment refer to? :)

      Delete
  3. These would be hell of a lot of fun to play.
    I really want to see more combat on the board, all the shootimg is so much better crap is annoying me!
    Kharn is welcome to meet my nids in the field

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well I'm glad that you reckon they'd be a laugh to play Mike - that's more what I would expect from a theme list, as opposed to a more balanced list that would feature more shooting.

      Your Nids giving you a taste for munching stuff up close now? How have they been working for you so far? Nids are one army that Kharn wouldn't be too fearful of challenging, bar Lashwhips and Iron-Armed MCs.

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