My Tactics pledge: I am not the greatest player, nor a seal pup. I will endeavor to speak from my experience and always be honest about what is theory and what is play tested. Never will I assume to know better than anyone else... unless I must call out ego or pretension.
Unlike Obliterators (always amazing), seeing exactly how far Havocs have come is the first step to understanding just how good they are.
Let us start by looking at the differences between the old and new codex. Here is a side by side comparison.
(Click to Enlarge)
What has changed?
- Reduction in cost 15 to 13 points per model
- Squad Size reduction from 20 to 10
- Across the board reduction in weapon costs (Flakk Missiles)
- Loss of Leadership
- Mark and Icon Changes
--Dogs of Cheap--
One of the most important changes to Havocs is the 2 point reduction in cost per model. This makes them the cheapest equivalent unit of their type. Havocs also pay nothing for their Aspiring Champion as well, and combined with the reduction in heavy weapon costs, you have a unit one notch below Long Fangs.
--Smaller is Better--
I cannot imagine a single time anyone had ever taken more than 10 Havocs in a single unit, making this change one of the most obscure and inconsequential removals you will ever find.
--Cries of Joy--
The cost for every heavy weapon has been dropped by half in the new codex. Even at the steep cost reduction it doesn't make Havocs cheaper than Long Fangs, unless you go with certain armaments. Then there is the case of Flakk missiles. Everyone was happy about the idea of Flakk missiles, but without Interceptor paying 38 points for the privilege is hard to swallow.
--Holding the Line--
Since you are never going to take Veterans of the Long War the loss of Leadership does hurt. Havocs are very susceptible to leadership checks because most units will be small and cannot auto-rally like Space Marines.
--Marks and Icons--
You never took Marks or Icons before, so why start now? Well... keep on keeping on, because Havocs are so cheap and throwing that away isn't very wise. If you really want to take an Icon or Mark the only consideration is either Icon of Vengeance for Fearless or Mark of Nurgle for survivability.
Putting it all together.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Phil Kelly the originator of Long Fang spam has come close to repeating with Havocs.
The greatest asset for Havocs is of course their new low-cost. Thus Havocs create an amazing torrent for fire at bargain basement prices.
Havocs are also the first unit to get Flakk missiles, but they come at a premium. One Havoc with Flakk missiles is 38 points! That is an insane amount to spend for one model, even though your Havoc would become the man for every season.
With Flakk being only strength seven you’re better off spending your points elsewhere. Even if you do take Flakk missiles, Flyer lists will make you target priority one, because without Interceptor they get the first shot.
As alluded to, taking no upgrades, but weapons is your best bet. When a unit has such a great asset as being cheap, you shouldn’t ever throw that away, unless you have compelling reason. This doesn’t mean you cannot experiment with Havocs, they do offer a few unique options other Devastator unit types don’t have.
The most important Havoc option is access to Autocannons; taking four gives you eight shots that can strip Hull Points and/or destroy most vehicles. Autocannons also provide an excuse to mix things up. You rarely see mixed heavy weapon units, but taking two Autocannons and two Missile Launchers isn’t a bad option. Since you can assign wounds as you see fit, it creates tough situations for opponents to deal with.
The other and most overlook aspect with Havocs is they get access to special weapons as well. With the cheap Havoc, running a Plasma Gun rush squad is a great option-- four Flamers isn’t anything to sneeze at either.
The Rhino also makes a great fire-base to hide your Havocs in. Consider a Rhino with a Havoc Launcher and two Autocannon/Missile launcher Havocs, which can provide a ride to a scoring unit in a pinch as well.
Between Havocs and Obliterators you shouldn’t have any problem filling your anti-tank or frankly anti-anything needs.
--Ways to play Havocs--
Death Star Configuration: 221 pts 7-man Havoc unit with 4 Plasma Guns, Combi-plasma, Rhino with Combi-plasma, Dozer Blade. In the history of silly Death Stars this would place pretty high. Joined with Ahriman you have fire-base of extreme potency especially when you combine Ahriman's three Witchfire powers a turn.
Balanced Configuration: 165 pts 6-man Havoc unit with 2 Autocannons, 2 Flamers, Rhino with Havoc Launcher. This is an all comers unit. Depending on the situation you can use them to remove Hull Points or clear out pesky lightly armored units. The Rhino is also an additional fire power to supplement damage out-put.
MSU Configuration: 115 pts 5-man Havoc unit with 4 Autocannons. My favorite configuration. It is cheap and behind an Aegis Line is deadly and entrenched. This unit complements any army and works very well with a Obliterators.
Horde Configuration: 250 pts 10-man Havoc unit with 4 Flamers, Mark of Nurgle, Icon of Vengeance, Rhino. Pricey, but resilient. Can easily take a charge and at the same time clear out most opposing Horde unit. Great for Nurgle themed narrative games.
A Word about Allies
Havocs work well with both Necrons and Deamons.
Havocs provide a long-range option that Necrons just don’t have. Especially with a gun-line Necrons only having 24” inch range weapons having the Havocs shooting over to pop vehicles is essential.
The same goes with Daemons, if you go with an all assault Daemon list taking out transports or stunting your opponent’s movement gives your Daemons time to get into position. The great thing about Havocs with any ally is you can almost easily find the points to fit even the most basic unit.
Remember unlike other Battle Brothers Daemons ICs cannot join with Chaos Space Marine units under any situation.
Overall, Havocs are a great addition to any Chaos Space Marine army. They are not necessary great for spamming, because of the other Heavy Support option. They are cheap and behind any Aegis Defense Line are very intractable. Havocs are not a must buy, but as pretty damn close one as you can get in the Chaos Space Marine codex.
Now, if only Games Workshop would release a new all plastic kit then everyone would be happy.