Note: we'll be discussing cards that are specific to the Chaos faction, and we are excluding cards that are available to Chaos based on the allies matrix (despite the utility of the Ork Kannon, Rokkit Launcha, and many Dark Eldar cards), although those cards will come into the discussion when talking about good combos for the top 5. We also aren't discussing the warlord signature cards.
So let's dive right in and talk some cards!
5. Rotten Plaguebearers - recently released in the Gift of the Ethereals warpack, this unit immediately went into my Chaos decks. Generally I find that this card scares away Void Pirates and Rogue Traders, and can even do some damage in a fight if Zarathur is around. Because he can trigger his action at any time, it becomes possible to stall in the deploy phase, giving you more intel on what your opponent is planning to do. I've had great success with these guys, and at 2 cost they're a bargain.
4. Promise of Glory - those cultist tokens are critical to getting our expensive Possessed, Soul Grinder, and Bloodletter units into play. In my first game for an OCTGN league that I participate in, at one point I managed to bring in 2 Bloodletters in one deploy phase for the cost of 4 resources! Sacrificing tokens and certain army units allowed me to bring in 10 resources worth of Bloodletters for 4 resources. Awesome!
3. Tzeentch's Firestorm - This card is great on a few levels. First, it has two shield points, so if you're playing against the Eldar and getting crushed on resources then it still has value. Second, the cost of the card can be customized to suit the task at hand. Third, it's an action that isn't specific to any single phase of the game. My favorite play for this card is to use it to snipe Eldar Survivalists/Guardians after my opponent has passed, disrupting his command-phase antics (or at least forcing him to waste a shield card).
2. Bloodletters - "Area Effect" cards are, in general awesome, but the Bloodletter might be the best one in the game. 5 resources is a steep price, but there are ways to reduce their cost and their stats are too great to ignore. 4 attack and 4 hit points is solid enough, but their "Area Effect (3)" stat is incredible (and effectively becomes "Area Effect (4)" with Zarathur). Oftentimes this will make the Bloodletters a target for some of your opponent's nastier events, but that can help take the pressure off of your other units and/or force your opponent to make a move that you have planned for. Dictating the battle is a huge advantage on its own.
1. Warpstorm - The card that non-Tau players often fear the most in the Chaos arsenal. I have a feeling that this card is going to lose its value as the game goes on and good attachments become more prevalent, but right now this card puts the fear of the Chaos Gods into all non-Tau opponents. Dark Eldar are especially vulnerable to a good Warpstorm play because of their fragile units and lack of good attachments. When I play with Zarathur I often consider playing this at a planet where he is present, otherwise I'll drop this on an opponent's HQ at an opportune moment. This card can sway an entire game in an instant, and has given me plenty of great moments.
Soul Grinder - this was competing for the 5th spot. Lately I've found that opponents have too many ways around the Soul Grinder to make it worth the 6 resources. I still generally include two copies in my Chaos decks, but it doesn't deliver the value of the top 5 cards.
Khorne Berserkers - These guys are fairly cheap for the stats that they bring to the table, and get stronger as they get damaged. They're a great target for Rune-Encrusted Armor, and can soak up indirect damage dealt by the always-useful Ork Kannon. This unit isn't too flashy, but wins out on value.
A lot of people I play against are surprised to learn that I don't include it in my deck. The main reason is that it's super expensive, and more often than not players won't trigger the Y'Varn ability. On top of that, there are too many player cards out there that can neutralize it without breaking a sweat. I'm talking about Doom, Archon's Terror, Exterminatus, Indomitable, etc.
So am I crazy? Is my list completely wrong? Let me know in the comments, or reach out to me on Twitter @PIflamesofwar. Thanks for reading!
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