Pricey perhaps, one-dimensional certainly, worth a second look? Hell yeah! That how is I feel about Possessed. In fact, that is my current feeling on Chaos Space Marines in general. With all the new dexes and the rise of Mech, CSM players are doubling down on proven methods and neglecting to experiment. More than ever we see Plague Marines armies with only minor tweaks, like Sorcs in Rhinos and Warptime Princes replacing Lash ones. Sounds oh so innovating doesn’t! So this is an attempt at a tactica for Possessed Marines making them fun and maybe even competitive.

When looking at Possessed it is easy to make unfair comparisons, like Possessed vs. Khorne Berzerkers or Possessed vs. Terminators. Instead of comparing focus on the differences between the units. In the case of Terminators it is all about the role you want for Possessed. If you want a dedicated assault unit, then I would take them over a tricked out unit of Terminators. While Terminators are impressive death dealers they do suffer some problems when compared to Possessed. Possessed are Fearless which unlike Terminators are not. Getting bad assault results means dead Termies, with Possessed you are only taking Fearless wounds. People despise Fearless because of changes in 5th edition, but when it comes to CSM they do not get all the fun tricks of other codices. It is either a re-roll, take your chances, or fearless when it comes to CSM units.

In edition fleeing Termies cannot sweeping advance and I have found myself haunted by scoring unit getting away and regrouping to save the day. Possessed are also cheaper than Terminators and can fit in a rhinos.

When it comes to comparing them with Zerkers the case is much harder to make. They are both very assualty and Zerkers are cheaper. It is important to consider the Icons you can buy for Possessed. If you give them Mark of Slaanesh, then you end up with effectively permanent Furious Charge. If you give them Mark of Khorne you give them the same numbers of attacks as Zerkers. With Mark of Nurgle you get a really great tar pit unit. With Mark of Tzeentch well… let us leave that for later. The real drawback with Possessed is when you ask two questions. Do I need more scoring units? Second, how cost prohibitive are Possessed for my list?

If your list allows for Possessed, then you need to pick the specialized assault role you want for them. As I outlined with the Marks taking a hard look at your list to see what it is lacking. Even if are taking Zerkers consider Possessed with Nurgle or Tzeentch Mark because of the tar pit ability they acquire. You can also be counter intuitive and put Kharn with MoT Possessed, giving some protection when Kharn misbehaves. Another thing to think about with MoT is the escort ability they provided for Sorcs or Chaos Lords. One fun build I have toyed with is two Khorne Lords on Juggs running with Possessed. The sheer amount of attacks from this unit should make anyone tremble. Not to mention Chaos Lords become fearless.

You may have noticed that there has not been mention of Daemonkin abilities. As with most random abilities you have to look at it as a potential bonus. Four of the six powers can change the direction you are pointing Possessed.

  1. Furious Charge: Focus your Possessed on pesky monstrous creatures or any high toughness unit.
  2. Rending: Gives you a lot of flexibility plus can take on Walkers.
  3. Feel no Pain: Target large units and widdle them down over time.
  4. Power Weapons: Now you are the bane of Terminators and Power Armored units alike.

The other two powers will only get Possessed into assault faster, which is not such a bad thing. It is also important to remember that with the Power Weapon ability you get the extra attack for having a second close combat weapon.

I have had nothing but great success with Possessed. The random abilities have often helped out in unexpected ways. It is that tactical nuance that is really lacking from most units in 40k. Besides there is nothing to fear; at least Possessed can never hurt you…Yes I am looking at you Chaos Dreadnaught!

Here are some sample Army Lists with Possessed for some friendly games.

Khorne Lord Bash

Kharn Possessed

Possessed Leading the Way

The other two powers will only get Possessed into assault faster, which is not such a bad thing. It is also important to remember that with the Power Weapon ability you get the extra attack for having a second close combat weapon.

Questions for Comment:

  1. How have you used Possessed?
  2. How have you changed playing CSM in 5th edition?
  3. What changes would have to be made for you to use Possessed?