Chaos Terminators are a beefy unit, but they come with a high points cost per model. If you choose to field them, you’ll need to play into their strengths. Terminators are a tough nut to crack since they have a 2+ Save, a 5+ invulnerable save and 2 Wounds each, but volume of fire is a serious concern for these guys. Deploying them out in the open can be disastrous, as a big flashy unit like Terminators will make a very tempting target for your opponent. Using their Teleport Strike ability to bring them to the battlefield later in the game is a great option for keeping them alive.
Your Terminators have a host of weapon options, including a long-range reaper autocannon. A squad of five is only around 150 points when armed with their standard equipment of combi-bolters and chainaxes, so you can see their potential as a fire support unit. However, I think the key to success with Terminators is to get them into close combat as soon as possible. This protects this unit from ‘casual firepower’ – attacks made with basic firearms. We always used to joke that the way to kill Terminators is with lasguns – the weight of shots eventually brings these guys down over time. You can mitigate this somewhat if your Terminators spend most of their time in combat.
Getting Stuck In
How do you get your Chaos Terminators into close combat? If you give them the Mark of Khorne, they can take the Icon of Wrath, which enables them to re-roll charge rolls. It also gives them some powerful flexibility. You may well set them up for a Teleport Strike and bring them down when and where you need them, but you’re still faced with an intimidating 9″ charge. The Icon of Wrath will really help here. If your charge roll ends up being a combination of low and high rolls, you can dip into your Command Points to re-roll the lowest dice. If your charge roll is completely abysmal, then you can still fall back to a full re-roll from your Icon of Wrath.
If your Chaos Terminators are focussing on combat, be sure to arm them accordingly. You can replace their chainaxes with a variety of melee weapons, such as power axes – cheap options that will give you an additional pip of AP – but I say go all out with dual lightning claws! Taking these as a pair gives you an extra Attack, making your unit even more terrifying in combat. If you make these guys World Eaters you’ll have 4 attacks each on the turn they charge – 5 for the Aspiring Champion! The pair of lighting claws adds a good amount to the base points cost of each Terminator, so I’m sure that some of you may prefer a mix of melee and combi-weapons. But if, like me, you believe their best situation is in close combat, gear your Terminators to really excel once they get there.
The unit has Death to the False Emperor, so for each hit roll of 6+ in the Fight phase while attacking an Imperium unit you get to make another attack. Lightning claws then give them the ability to re-roll failed wound rolls. Since Terminators are Strength 4, you’ll often be facing required wound rolls of 4+ or even higher, so this will come in handy. (See what I did there?) There are a few other ways we can improve these odds…
Bonuses for the Bonus God
The newest way is to augment your Chaos Terminators in combat is to include a Dark Apostle in your army. The Dark Apostle can’t teleport onto the battlefield but he does have the protection of being a Character, so you should be able to start him on the table safely enough. Still, you’ll want to prepare accordingly, placing him near to where you’re planning to drop in the Terminators.
His Soultearer Portent prayer allows him to target a unit within 6″, giving them a bonus to their wound rolls. This pairs really well with the Veterans of the Long War Stratagem giving another +1 to the wound roll in the Fight phase. You can easily work your way down to needing a 2, 3 or 4+ to wound anything in the game and you can re-roll any failed wounds with your lightning claws!
You will want to support this unit’s charge with a Chaos Lord or Daemon Prince for re-rolls of 1s to hit. My vote is a Daemon Prince with wings since it will have no trouble keeping up with teleporting Terminators. The Daemon Prince can also come with a fiendish psychic power to use – like Death Hex. If you remove an enemy’s invulnerable save you’re in business with your lightning claw-wielding Terminators.
We’ve talked a lot about close combat but don’t forget the Chaos Terminators can all be equipped with combi-weapons. It’s possible to create a durable firebase unit with tons of rapid-firing plasma or meltaguns. In fact, for a little under what it would cost to equip the squad with dual lightning claws, you could field them all with combi-plasmas.