"Chaos Comes for all!"
Today, we look at one of the Chaos Space Marines basic troops choice: the Cultists. Cultists are represented in the same was as they are in previous 40k fiction; weak, pitiful soldiers, which can be effective mobs en-mass.
Much like an Imperial Guardsmen, they have average statistics, but with a weaker 6+ armour save. They also lack the flexibility of Guardsmen; they have options, but not as many, and nothing which is suitable for any form of anti-tank role.
What than can do is have a large amount of attacks in much larger units than guard units. with two attacks (bonus for two Combat Weapons included) base, and an extra for charging, a full sized unit could potentially have 105 attacks. Throw in a mark of Khorne and you could have more fun.
Large units, whilst containing weak models, can be strong as a single entity, so if you're taking the fight to the enemy, use bigger units (I'd say 15+) to dish out a ton of attacks, and to ensure at least some survive to make it into combat.
Adding a good hero to the unit can also boost the unit's combat abilities. Either a fearless character, or one with a high leadership, will prevent the unit running away nearly as often. A Dark Apostle maybe a good choice, thanks to the re-rolls and high leadership it gives the unit (and nearby units).
But as objective holders, they can fare well. Since they are so cheap, they can sit at the back holding your home objectives, without you feeling that you are wasting a huge amount of points. You would be paying more than three times as much if you wanted Chaos Space Marines holding back; even more for cult units.
If you want any chance of getting a save cover is your best bet. with a 6+ save, don't expect to make many saves, or even pass many. Try to get as many in cover if you want to hold your objective. A mark of Nurgle to boost your toughness can be really beneficial against opposing infantry; not so much against battle cannons though.
Options wise, Cultists can be more ranged orientated, with access to Autoguns and Heavy Stubbers. These are a must if you want to objective camp: pistols simple wont have the range to have any effect. Sure, the chances of doing anything with auto-weapons is low, but it's better than nothing. And with up to three Heavy Stubbers available in a full sized unit, they can deal a good amount out too. Autoguns do cost points, but it is only one per model.
Some other, more painful (for the cultists) I've seen include:
- Screening more important units. Using this cheap, expendable unit to protect something more valuable by granting a cover save to the important models.
- Ablative wounds for characters. I've herd of some people using a 35 man unit to protect fearless characters like Abbadon the Despoiler. Since they cannot run away due to fearless people are using them to get extra wounds: that's effectively a 39 wound Abbadon running around! sure you don't get the saves, but odds are, they won't be able to kill the entire unit in one go, not at least without using most of their shooting units on this one squad.
so hopefully, you can now be prepared to fling your slaves, cult followers and general underlings around the fields of Warhammer: 40,000.