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500 points Chaos Space Marine Army: I am Alpharius...

I had a request from a newly made reader on Facebook last night, asking about their Start Collecting! Chaos Space Marines kit. The wanted to know what options they could put on their miniatures, with the intention of getting some games in.

First of all, let me say it again; Welcome to the Grim Dark future, Shi! You'll forgive me for not using your full name, but I try to keep this site as PG-13 as possible for any potential student neophytes who might be reading.

As I mentioned last night, you will need to get a codex so you can start building your own lists, and in addition to that, the Traitor Legions codex supplement is near mandatory for Chaos Space Marines. However, to get you in the Long War as soon as possible, this is an army list that should get you someway towards winning games without you needing to buy any more miniatures.

Image taken from the Games Workshop webstore

The army is going to be an Alpha Legion Combined Arms Detachment. This is because Alpha Legion tactics will give you a decent amount of board mobility and tactical options without you needing to buy a Rhino or other transport.

Alpha Legion tactics allows you to take Chosen as Troops choices, which is going to be very handy in terms of getting some heavy weapons to the field, and letting you hit the minimum requirement of the CAD whilst still getting in some semi-elite troops. The Alpha Legion also give the Veterans of the Long War upgrade for free to anyone who can take it. In return for not being able to us any Marks of Chaos, all your Chosen, standard Chaos Space Marines and Cultists and Infiltrate.

I've tried looking at other Legion tactics, but none of the others quite give you the same amount of flexibility at this low points cost. Don't feel like you need to paint them as Alpha Legion though... just use their rules for now!

Here's the army:

Alpha Legion Insurgent Training Group (CAD)


Chaos Lord [140pts]: Combat familiar, Combi-bolter, Hydra's Teeth, Lightning claw, Terminator Armour, Veterans of the Long War


Helbrute [110pts]: Reaper autocannon, Thunder hammer


Chaos Space Marines [118pts]: 4x Chaos Marine with Boltgun, Meltagun, 4x Take CCW, Veterans of the Long War. Aspiring Champion: Bolt Pistol, Boltgun, Power Fist

Chosen [130pts]: 4x Chosen with Boltgun, CCW and Boltpistol, Heavy bolter, Replace boltgun w/ Plasma gun, Veterans of the Long War. Chosen Champion: Bolt Pistol, Boltgun, Power Sword

Total: [498pts]

Starting with the troops, these are kitted out due to some of the weird rules attached to building CSM squads. The regular Marines have the Meltagun and Powerfist in the unit, and are actually your assaulting half of the troops choice. Everyone has a bolt pistol and close combat weapon in addition to their bolter, meaning they are flexible for shooting or assault. The meltagun and powerfist also make this your default anti-heavy armour unit, to be thrown at the occasional surprise Land Raider!

The Chosen are the shooting half of the army... partly to give you a taste of Infiltrating plasma guns, but also because normal CSM units need to have 10 men to get a heavy weapon (in this case the heavy bolter). Chosen can pretty much take whatever they want, and giving them the H. Bolter and Plasma gun turn them into a fairly good Objective camping unit. Infiltrate means that objective can even be in the middle of the battlefield, and since the Chosen are Troops, they get Objective Secured. Traditional methods of clearing such troops off the battlefield include getting an assaulting unit to overrun them... which would be an interesting thing to try against the Chosen's 15 attacks back, with 3 of them being done with the Champions Power Sword!

In terms of modelling these, I would give them all a bolt pistol and close combat weapon, and then strap the bolter and special weapons to their backpacks. If you're careful with using small amounts of glue, you can reclaim those special weapons back for other projects if you waned in the future.

The Hellbrute is somewhat of an oddity in this list. Due to the Crazed special rule, it's not as reliable a firebase as it could be. That said, with the Reaper Autocanon threatening light vehicles and the Thunder Hammer threatening... well everybody, all it needs to do is Rambo up from your back lines. If the enemy choose to ignore it, they will end up with a crazed robot/demon hybrid rampaging up the battlefield. If they focus fire on it, well good. Your other units can get some good work done!

The Chaos Lord gives you something that not many armies can claim. It gives you an actually scary hero unit, that can rip apart entire units if not dealt with. Terminator armour is an upgrade you need to take to use the model in the Start Collecting box. It also gives you a good deal of survivability, and the ability to Deep Strike. We will exploit this...

The Combi-bolter comes free with the Terminator armour. It's a twin-linked bolter, which we've paired up with a unique piece of Alpha Legion wargear; the Hydra's Teeth. This turns your humble bolter into a small blast, Ignores Cover, Poisoned 2+ mini-canon of Imperial Guard death. You Deep Strike in, preferably within 12-inches, and drop two blasts of poison onto a soft and squishy troops choice. For guard equivalent troops, this is about the same as getting hit by plasma canons, and even other Marines will have to take quite a few saves.

Your next turn will be delicious, provided your Lord survives. As the terminator armour gives you Relentless, you can do your poisoned blast trick again before charging in a ripping up your target with the Lighting Claw.

Here's the best bit about Alpha Legion. If your Chaos Lord dies, you do not give the enemy a victory point for Slay the Warlord. Your next Aspiring Champion will simply become your Warlord, due to the I am Alpharius special rule. Only Alpha Legion can do this, which makes the suicidal Deep Striking unsupported Chaos Lord less risky.

So there you have it. In the first turn, you've already Infiltrated up to the enemies door-step. In the second turn, your Chaos Lord has a chance of dropping and hammering them from behind. If the enemy manages to chew through all that, they'll then have to deal with the Hellbrute crashing onto their lines!

A surprisingly competitive list for 500 points, with a lot of fun tactical options to be made. You could even opt for a very risky null-deployed army, with the Hellbrute acting as an anchor for Deep Striking and Outflanking infantry. What's even more surprising is how easy it was to get this list out of the Start Collecting! kit, making Chaos Space Marines one of the best starter armies to buy.

For a faction that still somewhat ranks quite low in the power tiers, that is an awesome achievement!

I hope that helps you plan your build Shi. As I said, don't consider yourself tied to the Alpha Legion. This is just a good way for you to start and have a chance of winning some of your early games.

Until next time!

Thanks for reading.

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  1. Hello, I was looking for a 500 point escalation league list and came across your amazing post!

    So, two questions for you:

    1. I'm not not limited to the box set or models owned (I own a bunch of stuff from playing in past editions).
    What other brutal 500 point list would you concive without any limitations?

    2. I'm also starting a escalation league this Friday and was wondering what other increasing point value lists would look like? (500 to 1500 points).

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and more Alpha legion posts!

    1. Hi, thanks for commenting! Sadly the above list is now out of date with the new edition, but Alpha Legion can certainly be fun at 500 points!

      I will do a proper analysis of how to use them later on, but to get you to your tournament, I strongly recommend plenty of cultists. Let these guys fill out your battle line, whilst your Marines take on specialist roles (Raptors, Havocs, Chosen... your choice really). The cultists die fast, but you can bring them back again with the Tide of Traitors stratagem, right on the enemy door step!

      What the Alpha Legion can do better than nearly any other army is alpha strike (pun fully intended). By using cheap cultists to have the required half number of units on the field at deployment, everything else can Deep Strike in.

      And that alpha strike can be melee or shooting based. For shooting, use the Alpha Legion stratagem to Deep Strike plasma or melta Havocs next to the enemy. For close combat, you could just Deep Strike Raptors with Icons of Wrath... or a huge blob of Khorne Beserkers.

      And that would be the order of your escalation. For every specialist unit you want, bring along a 40 point unit of cultists. They're actually fairly good through sheer weight of fire, and can get you into those larger formations cheaply and easily for loads of Command Points.

      I wish I had the codex to give you a proper guide, but that's going to be a little further down the line. Hope this helps!

    2. What about a 500 point list of Chaos marine and Death guard? I am going to a match next month in my local gaming store. Most of the layer their play Imperium or Eldar. Can you help me make a list?

    3. I'm very sorry, I think I'm far too late to help you with the list. I can knock something up quick for you soon though. How did the match go?

    4. Hello, for the match I was force to use a Tyranids list since I didn't get the Chaos list in time. The result went quite well since I made it to round 3.

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  4. I want to build a 500 point list base on the start collecting set that I bought but in the Battlescribe app I can't find some of the option shown above. Is something wrong with the app?

    1. Sadly this list is now out of date. This was 7th Edition, but can somewhat work in the latest 8th edition.

  5. Howdy, I am new to 40k and just staring out with my friends. I am interested in the Chaos Space Marines.

    I was wondering if you could recommend a good 500pt army that I could put together. Any help would be appreciated.


    PS. I was thinking of either Black or Alpha Legion.

    1. Hi, thanks for commenting!

      It really does depend on what you want to do with your Chaos army. Do you like power armour, cultists, or demons?

    2. Power armour I think would be the way to go!

    3. This is proving a bit tricky. I have a list, but it's not massively competitive. It will only cost you one Starter box set, and I think it should set you up with a decent core to hang nasty units on. I'll be posting it up as a blog article later tonight.

  6. Love the list, it has REALLY inspired me.

    One question, I'm a bit confused as to how a Helbrute with that loadout comes to 110 pts?

    Thanks again.

    1. I have just realised that it as 7th ed. list.....

      It would be really great to see it updated to 8th, as not only is it a cool, fluffy list for AL, at 500 pts, it is also a very approachable introduction to the hobby.

    2. Thanks for commenting and here you go:

      The key difference is the loss of the cool hydra bullets on the Lord, but a signifigant upgrade to the Hellbrute. The chosen also turn back into regular Chaos Space Marines with some tweaks to the weapons load out.

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    4. I'm toying with this for my starter Alpha Legion project, and it comes in at 499 Points. Can you see any obvious flaws, or have you got any suggestions?

      Chaos Lord in Terminator Armour [6 PL, 115pts]: Lightning Claw, Combi-bolter, No Chaos Mark

      Chaos Space Marines [5PL, 79pts] No Chaos Mark
      . Aspiring Champion: Bolt Pistol, Power sword
      . 3x Marine w/ Boltgun
      . Marine w/ heavy weapon: Heavy Bolter

      Chosen [7PL, 136pts] No Chaos Mark
      . Chosen Champion: Bolt Pistol, Power sword
      . 4x Chosen w/ Plasma Guns, Chainswords, Bolt Pistols

      Heavy Support
      Havocs [7PL, 169pts]
      . Aspiring Champion: Bolt Pistol, Power sword
      . 4x Las Cannons

    5. There's no flaws with the army composition, but collecting the models might be a challenge. In fact the army as you've made it would be a nice and hard hitting one, with only hordes of cheap infantry proving to be a challenge.

      You'll have to get good at converting models though. To be honest I think the best way to collect Chaos Space Marines might be to just get Horus Heresy models and invest in spikey bits. I haven't quite got the budget to get both a box of old Chaos Marines and the Mk.4 or 3 power armour kits to see if they fit together well.

      But that's what makes CSM so much fun compared to regular marines. You're almost guaranteed to end up with a unique force! Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

    6. Thanks very much mate, really appreciated.

      I really love MKIV power armour so I bought a couple of boxes of them from GW, and some Alpha Legion shoulder pads and Ryza pattern Lascannons from more spending for a while


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