Warhammer 40K Chaos Space Marine Obliterator Tactics

Remember when Obliterators were 0-1 and if you played Iron Warriors you could take TWO units AND a Basilisk?

Over the many editions of Warhammer 40K Obliterators have been one of the better Chaos Space Marine units- able to match their weapon to the target, put the hurt in the assault with power fists, and try to tie up units with the combination of armor save and invulnerable save.

If you were playing a Chaos Space Marine list and were lacking in an area, perhaps due to a very focused themed list, you took Oblits to fill it out.

They were also EXCELLENT hunter-killer units because they could deep strike in, and hit the target with the appropriate weapon.

I’ve used them in my Death Guard list for years…

… but now in 8th?

Well they still have multiple wounds per model, which when taken in a group make them quite survivable, BUT…

…with the flesh metal guns 24″ assault 4, S6+1D3+AP+/-1D3+1D3+D6…

The equation is an exaggeration, but essentially you get something random when they shoot, and you can’t reliably count on them anymore. These guys are like the new Ork looterz and freebooterz- roll a fist full of dice and hope for something good.

Even the assault on them got nerfed.

Why Games Workshop are we going back to the chaos narrative of random = you never know.

8th edition 40K simplified many things, many things for the better, but this was just a random simplification for what?

So are they a dead unit?

If you are a competitive player YES- havocs or a predator are better for the points.

If you are a lolz player or more narrative, then target priority is KEY for these guys- fire them on multiwound models and hope for the chaos dice gods to bless you with the random.

Wish I didn’t feel so harsh about them.

On the hobby side, check out my most EXCELLENT friend ROB’s Dark Mechanicus creations HERE. He runs a number of custom built Dark Mechanicus oblits in many of our narrative games together.

My Berzerkers of Skallathrax give him slaves taken in battle, and in return he gives my warband new technological terrors.


4 Replies to “Warhammer 40K Chaos Space Marine Obliterator Tactics”

  1. I’m going to have to disagree with your assessment of obliterators. There are 3 factors that can change how effective obliterators are in a CSM army. The first is the legion trait. Alpha legion is helpful as obliterators like to do things at standoff distance. Black legion, night lords, Renegade chapters, and word bearers are mediocre on obliterators. Emperor’s children force you to be Slaanesh (see below about marks). Iron Warriors is relevant to blasting targets in cover. Unfortunately for fritz, world eaters are an active hindrance to obliterators as all units must be Khorne (also see below).
    Marks are the biggest factor as they decide the support options. Khorne adds nothing to the unit’s ranged attacks. Nurgle and Tzeentch are helpful keywords to have. Slaanesh gives the unit access to the 2pt stratagem endless cacophony, which lets them shoot twice in a turn.
    With all of this in mind, what can be done to increase the unit’s effectiveness on the table? The simple answer is a lord deep striking in with them turning 8 hits into 10.7 hits because of rerolling 1s. The next option is veterans of the long war, which adds +1 to all wound rolls, which is always helpful unless you are already wounding on 2+ (remember, you pick the obliterators to shoot, rolls stats, decide to use veterans or not, and then pick the target). Additionally, this lasts for the entire phase, so it works if they shoot twice from endless cacophony. Now we get to sorcerers, prescience is the go to option here changing 8 hits into 10 hits on average (combine with a lord, 11.7). All 3 of the god psychic powers can increase the unit’s durability quite substantially (statistically, miasmas of pestilence is the best of the 3).
    With all of this in mind, obliterators are bad in fritz’s world eaters because the legion trait doesn’t help them, Khorne is the worse mark for them, and world eaters can’t have sorcerers. For other legions, it depends on how much they want to support the unit.
    Bonus round, obliterators get even more support options if you’re willing to step into the demon’s codex (as they are demons themselves). Nurgle demons have a power that can heal them, a greater unclean one can revive casualties, Epidemius’ tally buffs them as well, and Horticulous Slimux can heal them. Tzeentch has a psychic power that adds +1 to their wound rolls (combine with veterans, wounds everything in the game on 4+ or better), and the changeling can give them a 6+ to ignore wounds.

  2. Going to have to agree with Jack on this one. Oblits are only marginal(good but not awsome/autoinclude) in a word eaters army. They are very strong in all other chaos armies.

    Jack, I disagree slightly on some things. Oblits are pretty good in a nightlords army. You have a stratagem to give them -1 hit when targetted that can stack with the nurgle buff for -2. That is pretty brutal in cover. Oblits are also powerful in a Black Legion detachment with Abaddon giving full rerolls.

    Fritz you gotta do a bit of mathhammer on this one. Oblits are substantially better than havocs.
    If you consider the middling weapon profile of str 8 ap -2 and 2 dmg, oblits are doing 40% more wounds to a rhino than lascannon havocs are for about 30 points more. So for 30 additional points you get more damage output, 2+/5++, deepstrike, 9 wounds total. This is a no brainer even for word eaters.

    1. Night lord strategem, or you could just be alpha legion and get the -1 all the time over 12″. As for abbadon, doesn’t he have better thing to be doing? Like stabing people. I’m not saying you can’t keep him back, but I’m saying you probably shouldn’t. The strength of havocks is having the range to engage tarhets, while still holding the back field objectives.

      The reason I say not to bring them in world eaters is the points could be put toward something that benefits the armies assault plan, deepstriking terminators for example are more in line with the stab people plan.

      1. Night Lord devotees I dont think like being Alpha Legion.

        Where I play there is a guy that runs Abaddon and 3 units of oblits. That dishes out a ton of damage.
        Right now Im using Oblits with a renegade army that has a similar stab people plan. They perform well and are a magnet for enemy firepower. That takes pressure off my advancing horde of possessed marines and berzerkers. 195 points worth of rhino would probably be better though.

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