Monday, December 8, 2014

40K TACTICA REVIEW: Chaos Space Marines - Maulerfiend


Chaos Space Marines

Version: 7th edition WH40K. 2012 CSM codex.

After playing a game against Chaos Pat he asked a question that neither of us could immediately put a finger onto an answer. I was intrigued. The question was, "Everyone seems to be using the Maulerfiend again, why are they good now?" The Maulerfiend is one of my favorite models so I was determined to figure out the answer. I knew they were better in 7th and it had to do with an improved ability to survive. Then it hit me, the new vehicle damage table was more favorable to the Maulerfiend because it cuts the chances of being made useless by a penetrating hit in half.

How the Maulerfiend got it's Mojo back.
Here is what I mean, take a look at the 6th and 7th Edition Vehicle Damage Tables and compare.

Disclaimer: What follows is probably elementary for 40K experts, of which I am not, and I hope to enlighten some players that are still learning the ins and outs of the game like myself.

6th Edition / 7th Edition

1. Crew Shaken / Crew Shaken
2. Crew Shaken / Crew Shaken
3. Crew Stunned / Crew Shaken
4. Weapon Destroyed / Crew Stunned
5. Immobilized / Weapon Destroyed
6. Explodes! / Immobilized
7+ Explodes! / Explodes!

First, before I begin, know that a result of Immobilized is just as bad as Explodes for the non-shooting Maulerfiend. In 6th edition a roll on the table resulted in removing the Maulerfiend as a threat (assuming the Invulnerable roll fails) on a roll of 5 or 6 (33%); for 7th only on a roll of a 6 (17%). As we can see the new table cuts the chances of reducing a Maulerfiend to uselessness by half; so now your opponent has to work twice as hard to take out your scary assault walker - this is huge!

OK, MathHammer over, you can wake up now.

  • Type: Vehicle (Walker)
  • WS/BS - Daemonic Vehicle norm, one worse than a Speez Marine Dreadnought.
  • Strength - Walker norm. Don't worry, it gots Power Fists for S 10 hits.
  • Armor F/S/B - Dreadnought norm. Pretty average, what you'd expect for the cost.
  • Initiative - Having one less than a Dreadnought stinks, this means you have to be more cautious when picking your fights against high Strength opponents because you could get punked before hitting back.
  • Attacks - Dreadnought norm, but get an extra attack for having two power fists.
  • Hull Points - Dreadnought norm but It Will Not Die can restore lost HP.
  • Two power fists - Maulerfiends hit hard at S 10, AP 2. And you get an extra attack for having two melee weapons.
  • Demonic Possession - Allows you to ignore Stunned and Shaken results on a 2+. Pure gold! You can't stop a Maulerfiend unless you blow it up, remove all the HP or Immobilize it.
  • Two Magma Cutters -Brilliant if you want to slay vehicles and it helps against Monstrous Creatures. Essentially gives you one free Melta hit at Initiative 1 on a single model you hit during melee. Note, the free hit is not against a unit but a model you had hit, so that limits the cutters usefulness a bit but it is very good against targets with Hull Points and multiple Wounds.
Maulerfiends make any fast assault unit even better.

Here is where the Maulerfiend outshines it's Dreadnought counterparts. With so many advantageous rules it is no small wonder that the Maulerfiend finds itself a prime target. In order to get the most out of your 'Fiend you must learn how to best utilize these Special Rules and most important of all - remember to use them! Indeed, remembering these Special Rules is key.
  • Daemon - Grants the Maulerfiend both Fear and a 5+ Invulnerable save. Brilliant! Don't forget to ask for those Fear checks, they could be clutch and it helps Be'lakor get extra Warp Points.
  • Daemonforge - Usable once per game to re-roll failed Pen and Wound rolls. I would recommend you go ahead and use this power the first chance you get because Maulerfiends tend to be big targets. Use it or loose it, basically. Don't fear the chance that you will roll a 1 and suffer a HP, just do it!
  • Fleet - Ahhhh yeah, assault walker gold. Love that they give the Maulerfiend this.
  • It Will Not Die - Could keep your 'Fiend alive longer, that is, if you remember to roll for it at the end of your turn. Many people forget this, including the author, so try to use a reminder like a token on the model or something in front of you. Once you start making it a habit to remember IWND rolls it only gets easier. I can not tell you how many times I have forgotten to utilize IWND and regret it the next turn. One good turn of rolls and you could revitalize your Maulerfiends, negating your opponent's hard work and sending him into despair!
  • Move Through Cover - Hah, move over Difficult and Dangerous Terrain, you are nothing. This is one of the reasons why I love the Maulerfiend - it's mobility is nigh unstoppable.
  • Siege Crawler - A 12" move and not slowed by terrain - combined with Move Through Cover means that the Maulerfiend virtually ignores all Difficult and Dangerous Terrain like it was not there. Also, Siege Crawler comes with the bonus to add +1 to Building penetration; sounds naughty, but humor aside, I have yet to need this bonus but it is there for when I do. This makes me wonder if GW was forecasting that Fortifications were going to be more popular than they ended up being.
OPTIONS: To Lasher Tendrils or Not To Lasher Tendrils?
This option (and the only option) really depends on what your army needs: more ways to fight vehicles or more assault help? It also comes down to personal preference; both options have pros and cons which I will elaborate a bit on.
  • Magma Cutters - Pros: Free. Wrecks vehicles. Helps against multi-Wound models in assault. Cons: No help against single Wound models and hordes.
  • Lasher Tendrils - Pros: Helps the 'Fiend survive longer in assaults, supports other units in assault. Cons: Harder to deal with high armor targets and to a lesser extent deal with multi-Wound models.
In a nutshell, go Cutters if your army needs help with anti-vehicle. Go Tendrils if your army has enough anti-vehicle muscle already. 

It seems a majority of people like to run their 'Fiends with Tendrils. Personally, I like supporting Daemons and/or Chaos Spawn with Cutter Maulerfiends because those guys usually have trouble dealing with high armor values.

  • Be'lakor - He gains D3 Warp Points when an enemy unit fails a Fear check ,which the Maulerfiend could provide. Be'lakor also has Invisibility, tasty to put on a Maulerfiend, but you probably want to use it on another unit (like Flesh Hounds). Still, Invisibility can be powerful when you need it; I have witnessed an invisible Maulerfiend take down Skarbrand (some luck was involved).
  • Fast Assault - What goes together better than The Golden Throne and the Emperor's corpse? Maulerfiends and fast assault units, that's what. By spamming fast units you are only giving the enemy bad choices (as Kevin at 40K Daemons would say). Sure, your opponent can shoot at your Maulerfiends but the Spawn and Juggernaut Lord are going to get through; so maybe he should have shot at those instead and let the Maulerfiends through? See, bad choices.
  • Warpsmith - While this guy can help repair your 'Fiend, I'm not totally bought on the idea. Thor (from Twilight Creative) has stated in a battle report that taking the time to move a Warpsmith over to fix a vehicle can be counterproductive as the Smith and his unit could be more useful elsewhere.
  • Grimoire of True Names - Giggity! A 4++ on my Maulerfiend? Yes, I want some. Team up with Daemon buddies and this delicious scenario can be a reality. Having Emperor Bird-Jerk (Fateweaver) to re-roll for the Grimoire is always a good idea.

The basic tactics for the Maulerfiend is pretty straightforward so I won't insult your intelligence:

Point. Advance. Ignore terrain. Smash.

Anyway, I guess I can elaborate a little?

Pretty easy. Setup to support the units you want to or across from the enemy units you want to smash. If you are looking at an enemy assault army, horde or gunline perhaps think about flanking a Maulerfiend or two on the sides and use their speed to slip behind the lines and wreak havoc there. Remember that 'Fiends ignore terrain so hide them behind (or in) in any terrain, especially Ruins, to help against anti-vehicle shooting. Don't worry about hiding behind models because you already have a 5+ Invulnerable save so use your Maulerfiend as cover for your other units.

Advance & Ignore Terrain
Use the Maulerfiend's advantages and plow right through terrain like it wasn't even there. On your way to a target why not try to end the 'Fiend's turn in Ruins or LoS blocking terrain? Your Maulerfiends are going to be targeted so give them the best chance you can at helping them survive. A Maulerfiend's fast and unimpeded movement can be very surprising to an unknowing opponent so use this to your advantage if they show you a mistake that can be capitalized upon.

Stay away from S 10 units unless you have support from some of your other units. Throw Spawn or other road bumps in the way of enemy S 10 units if you can so your Maulerfiend can get to it's preferred targets. Or, if you wish, use the Maulerfiend as a road bump, you won't be out a great many points if you do this.

Prime targets for your 'Feinds are T 5 or less chumps with multiple Wounds, can you say squish? Vehicles are tasty treats, just be cautious of high armor values unless you have Magma Cutters and don't forget that Daemonforge can help you re-roll pens and wounds. Stay away from hordes as they can tarpit you. Of course, you can do the same to them if you need to. Having a Maulerfiend tarpit Flesh Hounds is a great example of this.

The Maulerfiend went from often ignored to a contender for the Heavy Support slot. All it took was a little love on the vehicle damage chart. The proof is in the fact that Maulerfiends are making a comeback at gaming tables and they are almost always the opponent's first targets for destruction. I'd run at least a pair because of this, a single Maulerfiend will rarely live to see the middle turns.

The 'Fiend feels priced about right. If your opponent really tries he can usually take out a Maulerfiend so, IMHO, the thing is not under-priced. I like the price tag on the Maulerfiend, it feels like I can spam them if I wanted to. Hell, it is almost automatic that I include 2 or 3 Maulerfiends in my Chaos lists these days. Plus, when one dies, I don't feel like I lost a big investment, in fact, I feel like my 'Fiends are taking the heat off of the rest of my army.


Maulerfiend Rush 1500 

Combined Arms Detachment: Chaos Space Marines
  • Chaos Lord of Khorne - Juggernaut of Khorne, Mark of Khorne, Sigil of Corruption, Axe of Blind Fury, Ichor blood, melta bombs.
  • Chaos Space Marines x5 - melta gun, ---> Chaos Rhino
  • Chaos Space Marines x5 - melta gun, ---> Chaos Rhino
Fast Attack
  • Chaos Spawn x5 - Mark of Nurgle
  • Chaos Spawn x5 - no mark
Heavy Support
  • Maulerfiend - Magma cutters
  • Maulerfiend - Magma cutters
  • Maulerfiend - Lasher tendrils
Allied Detachment: Crimson Slaughter
  • Warpsmith
  • Chaos Marines x5 - melta gun ---> Chaos Rhino
Heavy Support
  • Maulerfiend - Lasher tendrils
Maulerfiend & Daemon Rush 1850 (Khorne)

Combined Arms Detachment: Chaos Space Marines
  • Chaos Lord of Khorne - Juggernaut of Khorne, Mark of Khorne, Sigil of Corruption, Axe of Blind Fury, melta bombs.
  • Chaos Space Marines x5 - melta gun, ---> Chaos Rhino
  • Chaos Space Marines x5 - melta gun, ---> Chaos Rhino
  • Chaos Cultists x10
Fast Attack
  • Chaos Spawn x5 - Mark of Khorne
  • Chaos Spawn x5 - Mark of Khorne
Heavy Support
  • Maulerfiend - Magma cutters
  • Maulerfiend - Magma cutters
  • Maulerfiend - Lasher tendrils
Allied Detachment: Chaos Daemons
  • Demon Prince of Khorne - Wings, Armor, Greater Reward x2
  • Bloodletters x10
Fast Attack
  • Flesh Hounds of Khorne x20
Be'lakor Option 
To add Be'lakor: drop CSM x5, drop one Chaos Rhino and drop Demon Prince.


  1. The maulerfiend is a favorite model of mine from an aesthetic point of view. I do not currently own one, but it is my next scheduled purchase for my mono Khorne forces. I appreciate the review. It was clear, easy to understand and made sense. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hey, thanks for the comments, it is much appreciated. Always nice to hear other people are enjoying Khorne as well, even though it isn't so popular right now.

  2. One use you should include is as Knight hunters. A Maulerfiend with Lasher Tendrils drops an Imperial Knight to one attack, which is not that dangerous. So a pair, one with Cutters and one with Tendrils can actually do very bad things to a Knight. Or you run two with Tendrils and some characters on Bike with Fists or Bombs with some ablative Bikers, hope one Fiend survives until turn 2, then double whammy the Knight.

    Knights being so popular makes anti-Knight units very powerfzl too.

    1. Ah, I had forgotten about the Knights. I agree with you completely. Oddly my local meta is devoid of Knights so they are not really on my brain. I will add something in my article about killing Knights when I have some spare time, thanks for the good ideas on taking them down.

  3. Good review and I agree with your points.

    I need to get myself a second one because you're right, one doesn't tend to live for very long. Still, for the points even when I lose it I don't fret over it. Normally it takes a fair amount of firepower to down it so it all works out.

    I love the Warpsmith as an all around good HQ choice. I look at his repair ability as a nice bonus and not really the reason to take him. It's just tough to keep the Warpsmith in range of such a fast moving unit to fix it when needed. You either find yourself out of position or you have to put yourself in a risky situation to repair and thus need to weight the value. Again, with the Maulerfiend being so low in points for the value I don't feel compelled to go out of my way to fix it.

    1. Thor, I've been waiting for you to get a second Maulerfiend for some time now! Heh. Yeah, I learned about how to play the Warpsmith from your battle reports because I never him used by anyone else. I am tempted to test one out to support my 'Fiends and see how it goes for me. Thanks for commenting.

    2. Man, if money wasn't so tight right now I'd have one. Damn you real life!

      The Warpsmith is a good leadership character who is handy in close combat with a BS5 meltagun. Add in shatter defenses, machine curse (I've taken out a Russ with that), and the ability to fix stuff and you really have a good all around HQ choice.

      You don't see him used often because he takes up an HQ slot and most prefer to snag their Lords, Sorcerers and Princes in that slot, for obvious reasons. It would be great if we had him as a non-slot HQ option or an elite choice like other codices get the option for. The fact is he's contenting for a premium slot choice and gets overlooked as a result.

  4. I love maulerfiends. They are an awesome unit. Thanks so much for the overview! I wish my ork dreads had fleet....

    1. Thanks for the comment, Greg. Seems Maulerfiends have some good fans out there. Don't know about Ork Dreads but can't they use the 'Er we Go rule to help them out? Isn't that pretty much like Fleet?

    2. Ere we go only applies to units with the "ere we go" special rule. Not dreads. I will still play with them. I think I'm the only one. I'm actually bringing pretty much an all walker list to LVO and Nova next year lol. It won't win any trophies, but it'll be fun!

      I've been a huge fan of the chaos style, which draws me to the maulerfiend. I think outside of orks chaos has the best overall style :)

  5. It's always a tough call; Maulers or Bloodslaughterer's...ones fast the other just WRECKS in combat. I've run the Helforged Hunting Pack a lot, and taking a split force of maulers and slaughters works less than one or the other exclusive