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The Mutable Mutilator

One the new fancy units found in the new Chaos Space Marine codex is the Mutilator. Mutilators are nothing more than assault Obliterators in design and concept. But are Mutilators any good and how does one fit them into a Chaos Space Marine force?

The answer is problematic; Mutilators have a lot of things going for them, namely their cost. Mutilators also have a few draw backs like Slow and Purposeful.

The biggest concern anyone should have with Mutilators, isn’t what they can or cannot do, but what they should fear.

Before we get all in-depth with Mutilators let us take a quick look at their profile…

(Click to Enlarge)

Mutilator 2012 Rules



Highs and Lows

  • Daemons
  • Slow and Purposeful
  • Mutilator Weapons
  • Unit size and Cost
  • Deep Striking
  • No Grenades
  • Chaos Marks

--Daemon you say!--

Mutilators have the benefit of having the Daemon special rule. This gives them 5+ invulnerable save and  Fear. A drawback is Mutilators can get cut down pretty easy by units like Purifiers as they will re-roll to hit against them. It is important to note that being a Daemon is not the same as being a Daemon in the Daemon Codex. You don’t have immunity to Instant Death nor do you get Fearless both very important when you consider playing Mutilators.

--No wait let me catch you!--

Slow and Purposeful is the major drawback for Mutilators, not only does it prevent Mutilators from running down units, but it also means you will be in a nice clump when Deep Striking. Not have Run is also a big deal for Mutilators; it makes them slow and easily specifiable to shooting as they take longer to cross the battlefield. Lastly, once in combat they cannot Sweeping Advance and with so few attacks that means large units will invariably get away.

--Swiss Army Daemon--

At first glance Mutilator Weapons look problematic. The idea you always have to be changing can put you in a bind. Each set of weapons fills a different role. Mutilators are not survivable against prolonged combats so winning the first round of combat will be decisive. Mutilators are excellent at taking out all types of Vehicles (Chainfists) and great at killing light Infantry with Power Weapons or Power Mauls. Depending on the outcome you want you may also want lead with weaker weapons.

--Small and Cheap--

Mutilators are cheap and being basically two Chaos Terminators in one this is a real bargain. Even with Mark upgrades you have a cheap unit for what you are getting. The only downside is the unit size: three Mutilators max. I really wished you could get at least five of these guys then you would really have an excellent unit. At three max Mutilators do make a good character support unit.

--Deep Striking--

Having Deep Strike is the most effective and dangerous way to get Mutilators in the fight. Without having Run, Mutilators cannot afford trudging across the field. Conversely, on the turn they drop Mutilators are really susceptible to nicely placed Plasma Cannons and various other Templates. As a harassing unit Deep Striking is a great option for unprepared armies; drop in the backfield and watch your opponent really squirm.

--Didn't want to finish first anyway--

Mutilators come without grenades which on the surface seems like a big problem. In reality most Mutliator units are going to lead with Unwieldy weapons anyway so going last isn't a big of deal. It is just important to keep yourself aware of what Initiative step you will going at and pick your weapons accordingly

--Marked for Love--

Mark of Khorne

One of the two best choices for Mutilators. Having Mark of Khorne gives you five attacks on the charge and four if assaulted. Mark of Khorne is also the cheapest of the Marks for Mutilators. Just be aware of high strength weapons will double out Mutilators, so going after Troop units is the best way to utilize Mark of Khorne. Consider joining Khorne Chaos Lords which produces some killy results.

3-man Mutilator unit with Mark of Khorne is 180 pts.

Mark of Tzeentch

Mark of Tzeentch is the red herring of Marks for Mutilators. Mark of Tzeentch is not only the most expensive Mark, but provides minimal help for Mutilators. As Mutilators perform best along Chaos Lords you won't have too many reasons to put Tzeentch Chaos Lords with such a unit. As well the +4 invulnerable save in comparisons to having other say Mark of Nurgle is negligible.

3-man Mutilator unit with Mark of Tzeentch is 189 pts

Mark of Nurgle

Mark of Nurgle is the best Mark for Mutilators hands down. Giving toughness five to Mutilators doesn't just make them harder to wound, but prevents Instant Death from most weapons. At only six points per model it is a real steal. If you plan on running your Mutilators without Chaos Lord escort this is the Mark for you.

3-man Mutilator unit with Mark of Nurgle is 183 pts

Mark of Slaanesh

Mark of Slaanesh is the worst Marks for Mutilators. Mark of Slaanesh is only effective with two sets of Mutilator weapons, which happen to be the most situational of the bunch. In most situations it is just better to keep them cheap and not even consider a Mark if you think want to use Mark of Slaanesh.

3-man Mutilator unit with Mark of Slaanesh is 183 pts

Mutilators are nothing more than assault Obliterators in design and concept.

Mutating for Success!

Understanding the limitations of Mutilators is the key to understanding how to succeed with them.

Mutilators are easily frightened, with only Leadership 8 and no Fearless. Units that cause Pinning or psychic powers that cause Leadership checks can really neutered Mutilators. Keeping that in mind, Mutilators are great (cheap) Chaos Lord delivery systems, especially when you consider taking a Terminator Chaos Lord. Terminator Chaos Lords can Deep Strike with Mutilators and really put pressure on your opponent.

Having a limit of three Mutilators per unit really hurts as well, not only is that only 6 wounds you instantly have to take a Leadership test each time you lose a Mutilator. Mutilators are still cheap for what they are, so even as decoy they can be worth while.

Currently, I see few reasons to take less than full size Mutilators units. Small Mutilators units really don't have the damage output necessary to scare anyone.

Deep Striking Mutilators are oddly the most reliable way to get them into combat, because of the lack of Run and susceptibility to high strength shooting.

If you don't like the idea of Deep Striking a Chaos Land Raider is another option for Mutilators because even being Bulky it provides perhaps the quickest way to combat without Deep Striking.

Building Blocks

Configuration One: 122 pts 2-man Mutilator unit with Mark of Nurgle. Take with two Nurgle Chaos Lords on Palanquin's of Nurgle and a Chaos Land Raider. Talk about packing a punch for just four models! That is 14 wounds and if properly kited out so many power attacks that most units will crumble in it's wake. Of course, it is one Force Weapon away from a river of tears, but the visual of that coming out of Chaos Land Raider is pretty priceless.

Configuration Two: 180 pts 3-man Mutilator unit with Mark of Khorne. Take with two Khorne Terminator Lords and Deep Strike and force your opponent to take notice. Once again taking strength eight or Force Weapons will be a problem. There is also the big risk of Deep Striking mishaps as well, but once again this is all about the visual. It is also going to be 15 attacks alone from the Mutilators on the Charge.

Overall, Mutilators are a middle of the road unit in the Chaos Space Marine codex, being cost efficient is the main reason you can should consider them. Between all the limitations though you have to be very careful how you play Mutitlators. The worst part about Mutilators isn't the stats or how they play, but the truly one of the worst looking models ever created by Games Workshop.


It's Like Tactics is rated theory hammer because these are general observations and assumptions based on only few tested games.