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Battle Report: Chaos Space Marines vs Ultramarines and Knights

The forces of chaos lurk in the shadows - their mission clear. They've come to steal vital intelligence about the Imperium from under the noses of the elite guards. Even from this side of the ruined city, the towering knights can be seen: their watchful gaze sweeping left and right, seeking out the enemy.

"Forward," growls Abaddon, and his forces leap and slither into action. The worshippers of the corpse god won't know what's hit them...

The armies line up before deployment.

So this is a brief report on a game that my friend Tom and I played the other day at our friendly local gaming store. We used the Mad Gaming Terrain that I've been working on, and bought a couple of 2000pt lists. As you'll see from the photos, neither of the lists is painted - sorry about that. We didn't have time to play a full game, and only got three rounds in, but it was great fun. The terrain really helped - it was atmospheric, great for blocking line of sight, fantastic for cover, and the fact that we could go in and out of buildings, use walkways for height advantage, and so on made the whole thing feel fantastic.

Buildings and walkways make the battlefield varied and fun

The armies: Chaos Space Marines vs Ultramarines

We both bought fun lists, and included a variety of soupy elements - so mine was a Knight Crusader which I'd just finished painting and wanted to try out! We hadn't previously agreed on rules, so I ended up bringing four detachments instead of three - whoops. Tom was good about it though, although I could see the smoke starting to come out from his ears when he saw the knight (he hates them).

The full lists are at the bottom of this post, if you want to see just how uncompetitive we both are (we both prefer narrative play to anything else...)

Mission: 'Supplies from above' (Chapter Approved 2018, p.52).

Four objective markers are placed, and then deployment happens under the new rules (roll off, one person picks their area, the other deploys everything first). Each battle round, the objective markers move (with players rolling off to see who controls this movement). You get a VP for each objective you control at the start of your turn, and points for Slay the Warlord, First Strike, and Linebreaker.

Deployment: Vanguard

I won the first roll off, and randomly got the vanguard deployment map (the one where you're on opposite diagonal corners). There's quite a big gap between the two zones, which didn't really favour either of us (although probably it was better for me with a slightly shootier army).

I spent 3CP on the "Sally Forth" stratagem, thinking it would be good to protect my knight as I assumed Tom would go first. I was right about that - he chose to take the first turn, and I rolled a 3 so didn't seize the initiative - but I think now I would be a lot more aggressive with the knight than I was. He could have soaked up the firepower (particularly with the 'Ion Bulwark' warlord trait, and the 'Rotate Ion Shields' stratagem which would have given him a 3+ inv save against shooting). This has been nerfed, now, but it was still OK when we played. Without him on the table, I took a beating, as you'll see below...

Before the knight arrived, everything went chaos's way

Round 1

I won the roll off on all three objective markers, and got to move them out of hiding and towards my line.

The chaos forces responded quickly, moving into place to unleash hell on the marines. Practically everything came out of hiding, and got into a position where they could get a bead on something. One unit, the Red Corsairs marines, moved across the whole table using the 3CP stratagem 'more where they came from.'

Tom rolled really well with his psyker (getting an 11 to smite), and took out two of my eliminators straight away. This is a cheap unit, from the newish shadowspear box, but they're great at picking on enemy characters from afar. No wonder Tom targeted them - and this was a great start for him.

At the other end of the table, his venomcrawler fired at my hellblaster squad, who were in cover. He managed to kill one of them. But this small loss was compounded by the sheer power of the havoks, who easily tore through the rest of the squad, leaving nothing behind but twisted power armour and blood.

Still reeling from this early onslaught, the marines faced yet more losses. The shooty hellbrute stomped into position, and released a volley of fire against one of the razorbacks. The armour withstood it, but the unit was badly damaged, with only 6 wounds remaining. The other razorback, behind a building along the line, faired no better: losing a massive 9 wounds to lascannon fire from another unit of havoks. Horrible things.

Thinking that the razorback with 6 wounds was vulnerable, Tom used the 'endless cacophony' stratagem for 2CP, and fired his hellbrute at it again. This time the dice gods were with the Imperium, and none of the promised damage came through.

Still, the marines were reeling when their turn began. They did their best to recover and cause some losses, but without their knight ally they were struggling. However, the razorback which had been wounded by the hellbrute took its revenge - killing the hellbrute with one volley of lascannon fire. The winged demon prince suffered, too, having come a bit too far forward - he lost all but one of his wounds to fire from the badly wounded razorback, some intercessors, the bikers, and the remaining eliminator. The bikers sensed his weakness and charged, hoping to chip away that last wound. They failed, but their death was glorious as the demon lashed back.

The demon prince runs forward

Round two.

Tom was in control of two objectives at the start of his turn, so gained two victory points (to add to the one he'd already got for first strike).

His first target was the suppressors (another shadowspear unit), who had moved into position on the top of a hab block, ready to fire out across the battlefield. The Red Corsair marines fired on them, and five wounds came through. This should be easy enough to save, I thought, as I rolled the five ill-fated dice. Five ones and twos. Two suppressors dead.

This was not going well for the marines.

The venomcrawler spat at the remaining suppressor, and killed him outright - another unit gone. The most badly damaged razorback finally fell to havok lascannons, but didn't explode.

The marines were struggling, and badly needed the knight to arrive. Up on the rooftop of a hab block in the far corner of the battlefield, the lone remaining eliminator peeked out at the target-rich environment below. Just in time to see a volley of lascannon fire heading his way.

He ducked, covering his head with his hands as the shells landed. One, two, three, four, five of them in quick succession. He rolled with the explosions, and somehow, when the dust was clearing, he sat up unwounded. Ready to fight back.

His morale was boosted further when he heard the unmistakable hissing, clanking, and thudding of a war knight arriving on the field of battle. About time. The knight stormed in and wasted no more time assessing the situation. The hellbrute who was running at the last few troops was swiftly dispatched, and the venomcrawler went the same way moments after.

That's right. One eliminator survived 5 lascannon shots to the face. And the knight, on his arrival, one-shotted a full strength hellbrute and venomcrawler.

The odds were beginning to even out for the marines, and they were level on points.

The knight finally arrives

Round three.

Tom earned another 2 victory points.

The last remaining eliminator finally succumbed to lascannon fire, after making one last save. He ultimately took 6 lascannon shots before dying to the seventh. I think this has earned him a name. I shall name him Larry. Larry the lascannon eating eliminator. (If this name isn't mariney enough for you, think of him as Larenzo or something). He joins the only other named model from my Ultramarine army - Ian the intercessor. Ian survived in one game against enormous odds, and tremendous firepower, so earned his name, which is short for 'Ian-vincible.'

Anyway, back to this game.

Larry finally died, and the phobos librarian who had been bravely hiding behind him was finally exposed. The havoks with autocannon made very short work of him. Below them, the demon prince charged a unit of intercessors who were emerging from the building, and did six hits and wounds. But, led by Ian, they survived - thanks to rolling five 5+ saves. Only one marine fell, and in return they finally killed the demon.

Across the field, the obliterators arrived and fired on the remaining razorback, reducing him to 4 wounds. They chose to charge another unit of intercessors, thinking that they would easily die, but none of them did.

The knight fired on various targets, and had a much less successful round than when he first arrived. However, he began to chip away at various units, and if we'd had time to carry on I think he would have proved his worth. Tom didn't have much left that could deal with him at this point, so he could have had free reign across the board.

At the end of the round, Tom had 5vp to my 4 - I lost one because he had shot me off an objective before my turn began. I suspect the game may well have gone to the marines if it had carried on, but it's impossible to know - and on this occasion, the forces of chaos had the final victory.

Was the knight too late?

The lists

Tom's "Abaddon: A Bad 'Un"* Chaos Space Marine list.

1990pts (at the time), 12CP.

Battalion Detachment Legion: Red Corsairs HQ

  • Daemon Prince with Wings (mark of Khorne)

  • Sorcerer


  • 10 Chaos Space Marines with 2 Reaper Chaincannons

  • 5 Chaos Space Marines with 1 plasma pistol (mark of Khorne)

  • 5 Chaos Space Marines with chainswords (mark of Khorne)


  • Helbrute with fists and combi-bolter (mark of Khorne)

Spearhead Detachment Legion: Black Legion Specialist Detachment: Devastation Battery HQ

  • Abaddon the Despoiler (warlord)

Heavy Support

  • 5 Havocs with 4 lascannon (mark of Slaanesh)

  • 5 Havocs with 4 autocannon (mark of Slaanesh)

  • 2 Obliterators (mark of Slaanesh)

Vanguard Detachment Legion: Black Legion Specialist Detachment: Daemonkin Ritualists HQ

  • Master of Possession


  • 2 x Greater Possessed

  • Helbrute with missile launcher & twin lascannon (mark of Slaanesh)

  • 8 x Possessed

Heavy Support

  • Venomcrawler

*Tom is good at terrible puns

My "It's knight time, marines"* list.

1999pts, 11CP.

Battalion Detachment

Chapter Selection: Ultramarines


  • Captain in Phobos Armour (warlord, with the Sanctic halo)

  • Primaris Lieutenant with master-crafted auto bolt rifle.


  • 5 x Intercessors with bolt rifles.

  • 5 x Intercessors with bolt rifles.

  • 5 x Intercessors with bolt rifles.

Dedicated Transport

  • Razorback with lascannons.

  • Razorback with lascannons.

Spearhead Detachment

Chapter Selection: Ultramarines


  • Librarian in Phobos Armour

Heavy Support

  • 3 x Eliminators

  • 5 x Hellblasters with plasma incinerator.

  • Whirlwind with vengeance launcher

Outrider Detachment

Chapter Selection: Ultramarines


  • Librarian

Fast Attack

  • 3 x Bikes with twin boltguns

  • Land Speeder with assault cannon and heavy bolter

  • 3 x Suppressors

Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment (Imperium - Imperial Knights)

Exalted Court [-1CP]: 1 Extra Warlord Trait

Heirlooms of the Household [-1CP]: 1 Extra Heirloom

Household Choice: House Terryn, Questor Imperialis

Lord of War

  • Knight Crusader with heirloom "Thunder of Voltoris" and warlord trait "ion bulwark"

* I'm not too bad at terrible puns, either.

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