Thursday, October 4, 2012

Typhus and Zombie Plague Armies from the New Chaos Codex


In Apocalypse, Typhus and friends had a formation that consisted of Plague Zombies.  This has now been translated to the new Chaos Space Marine codex in a specific format.

With Typhus, the chaos cultists can be converted in to plague zombies.  This has advantages: fearless and feel no pain being chief among them.  That said, there are disadvantages: slow and purposeful and the inability to take optional upgrades that would usually be open to regular cultists.

One of the problems that has already been flagged with the wording of Typhus' rules concerns what counts as "upgrades".  Specifically, whether increasing the number of zombies in a unit counts as an optional upgrade.  I don't see that this counts as an option.  An option is usually taken as being one of the listed equipment swaps (and so forth).  Hence, huge blobs of plague zombies seem feasible!

For under 1000 points, one can now form the core of an army from Typhus and hundreds (well, perhaps up to 200 and something anyway) plague zombies.  This is quite incredible really!  Even if the plague zombies are weak, the feel no pain rule will keep many alive for long enough to get in to close combat to cause headaches, and to go to ground on top of a valuable objective.  Not too many armies have the firepower to take down more than one hundred models ... and even in close combat, death star units can only take out up to tens of models in close combat per turn.  Take thunder hammer terminators: a squad of 5, at worst, would take out 10 per turn.  Against several tens of zombies, they're going to be locked up, tarpitted and whittled to death eventually (yes: even terminators roll 1's for saves, despite recent experiences!).

Depending on points limits, this leaves room for several fast attack, heavy support and elites choices (perhaps alongside some plaguemarines, or Nurgle daemon allies as well?).  Building such an army feels appealing to me -- I've not done such a "horde" army in a while.  And making it competitive seems like a neat challenge -- so I'll try to post a speculative army list once the codex is actually released.  Is this flavour of plague zombie army speaking volumes to other people as well?  Or is it simply my Nurglesque mind that has been corrupted?!

5 comments:

Ian Logsdon said...

Sadly it seems that RAW, the option of buying more than 10 zombies isn't there. FAQ will have to clear it up, but till then, I'm not looking at typhus. I even built a counts as typhus model, but I don't see myself playing him right now. That said, running 105 zombies and 3 7 man or 14 man squads of plague marines sounds purely awesome. I'll need to decide on whether the Mantic zombies are worth it before I buy that list though.

Charles said...

I have been playing with this idea for a while, Even hoping that the zombies are mentioned as being nurgle models so I can toss Epidimus into the list and get super zombies out of the deal.

Rau said...

I think you’ve gotten a bit carried away with their usefulness. Firstly, as fearless models they do not have the option to go to ground on objectives, so they’re not getting any bonus saves there. Secondly, assuming a combat deathstar can only deal with 10 a turn is a crazy statement. A SoB Battle Conclave of 5 DCA’s and 5 Archoflagellants get 15 Str 4 and 25 Str 5 attacks on the charge all hitting on threes. That unit would cost 150 points. Even with FnP, that’s still a lot of dead zombies. Orks will do exactly the same to them, as will Nids. Even a 10 Grey hunters would likely nail ten guys plus, and there is no way they can be considered a ‘combat death start’. Also, you have to remember there are TWO combat phases to every complete turn, thus even 10 a turn means you’re likely to be dead in under two turns against any unit with medium combat ability, especially considering casualties from shooting whilst moving into combat positions, and the crazy damage template weapons will inflict on such large blogs.

Bar FnP, they’re no more durable than a combined infantry platoon with a commissar (Giving Ld 9, Stubborn and re-rolls) who will generally be getting better cover than the Zombies thanks to ability to go to ground and accept orders, and also have the option to stock up on heavy/special weapons, AND can be fielded in bigger units if desired, AND can run to get to objectives unlike their slow and purposeful zombie counterparts.

The Plague zombies are a nice fluffy touch, but people thinking they can fill their troops sections with them and expect to win many games should really speak to some Guard players on just how squishy T3 I3 5+ models are in combat, regardless of unit size. Fluffy, handy upgrade if already taking cultists and Typhus, but definitely not a template for list building, in my opinion anyhow!  If you want cheap scoring blogs, two allied Guard Inantry platoons still offer a better tactically choice, and offer just as exciting conversion opportunities.

Rau said...

I think you’ve gotten a bit carried away with their usefulness. Firstly, as fearless models they do not have the option to go to ground on objectives, so they’re not getting any bonus saves there. Secondly, assuming a combat deathstar can only deal with 10 a turn is a crazy statement. A SoB Battle Conclave of 5 DCA’s and 5 Archoflagellants get 15 Str 4 and 25 Str 5 attacks on the charge all hitting on threes. That unit would cost 150 points. Even with FnP, that’s still a lot of dead zombies. Orks will do exactly the same to them, as will Nids. Even a 10 Grey hunters would likely nail ten guys plus, and there is no way they can be considered a ‘combat death start’. Also, you have to remember there are TWO combat phases to every complete turn, thus even 10 a turn means you’re likely to be dead in under two turns against any unit with medium combat ability, especially considering casualties from shooting whilst moving into combat positions, and the crazy damage template weapons will inflict on such large blogs.

Bar FnP, they’re no more durable than a combined infantry platoon with a commissar (Giving Ld 9, Stubborn and re-rolls) who will generally be getting better cover than the Zombies thanks to ability to go to ground and accept orders, and also have the option to stock up on heavy/special weapons, AND can be fielded in bigger units if desired, AND can run to get to objectives unlike their slow and purposeful zombie counterparts.

The Plague zombies are a nice fluffy touch, but people thinking they can fill their troops sections with them and expect to win many games should really speak to some Guard players on just how squishy T3 I3 5+ models are in combat, regardless of unit size. Fluffy, handy upgrade if already taking cultists and Typhus, but definitely not a template for list building, in my opinion anyhow!  If you want cheap scoring blogs, two allied Guard Inantry platoons still offer a better tactically choice, and offer just as exciting conversion opportunities.

jabberjabber said...

Hi Rau -- I take your points. But there's still something appealing about a huge plague zombie horde creeping toward the enemy that appeals to the Nurgle player & collector in me. But yes -- sitting down and doing the math-hammer is something I need to consider more carefully before expending the dollars for such an army!

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