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.
Abaddon the Despoiler is one the major characters in the Warhammer 40k universe. Abbadon has also had one of the most consistent of set of rules. Abbadon, if anything has always been about assaulting and wrecking shop.
So how would Phil Kelly change Abaddon, and exactly how nasty is he in Assualt?
To see just how nasty Abbadon is let us start by looking at the differences between the 5th edition and 6th edition codex. Here is a side by side comparison.
(Click to Enlarge)
Compare & Contrast
- Cheaper from 275 to 265
- First Among Chosen
- Chaos Artifact Changes
- Personal Icon Removed
- Black Crusader
--Cheaper by Ten--
Abbadon got better in the new Chaos Space Marine codex, so any price reduction is always a welcome sight.
--First Among Fail--
I know everyone wanted him to make Chaos Terminators Troops, but it wouldn't have been such a bad change if Chosen weren't so meh. It could have been better if Abbadon not only made Chosen Troops, but also gave them some in-game buff.
--Again, this time with more Daemon!--
The change to Daemon Weapons alone makes Abbadon that much more ridiculous. Now you have the option to either go AP 2 or AP 3 depending on your opponent. Not only that, but you can Shred at Strength 8 or go with mass attacks Strength 5 with his Daemon Weapon. Either way Abbadon has a plethora of ways to annihilate. The best part is it all at Initiative 6.
--Homer no More--
Really, the only sad change for Abbadon is the removal of his Personal Icon, which would gave Abbadon a beacon for Deamons and Deep Strikers. Abbadon has less tactical tricks and is purely a killing machine at this point, which isn't to say that is a bad thing.
--Crusading for Smurfs--
Black Crusader isn't the worst of the Warlord Traits, but they're better ones. The good thing is since most people play Space Marine types army you should get a lot of use. This is particularly effective for things like Snapfire and trying to hit Space Marine Flyers.
Abbadon, if anything has always been about assaulting and wrecking shop.
Putting things together…
Before we get started, I want to make one thing clear: Abbadon can join any unit. That is how I play him and it is what most reasonable Tournament Organizers are allowing. I understand the argument, and the “Rules as Written” folks have a very powerful case, but just like the Plague Zombie argument common sense trumps rules lawyering.
Abbadon has always been a beast in close combat, which hasn’t changed with the newest codex. The ability to run Abbadon solo or with a unit gives your army great advantages. The reason Abbadon is so fearsome in Assault is his ability to swing first in most combats and at either AP 3 or 2. He can single handily kill any 10-man squad and with the changes to Daemon Weapons he will at least get off some attacks no matter what.
The real question, is what units should Abbadon join?
The first choice for most players is Chaos Terminators and by fluff this makes the most sense. The ability of Chaos Terminators to mix and match works well with Abaddon’s pure brutishness. You don’t have to pile on tons of extra (points) upgrades to your Chaos Terminators when running Abbadon. Even running them bare with a few combi-weapons is effective and efficient.
You can also go the real cheap route and give him in a blob of Chaos Cultists. Taking Cultists utilizes his Black Crusade Warlord Trait as well and a throw away Cultist Champion for Challenges is an asset. Cultists effectively give Abbadon extra Wounds at four points apiece.
Next on the list would be a Chaos Space Marine unit. This is where investing in upgrades is a good idea. Upgrade with either Mark of Slannesh or Khorne; produces tons of attacks on the cheap that most armies cannot deal with when Abbadon is leading the charge.
Mutilators are good option as well, if you plan on using a Chaos Land Raider. You’re not hurt by the slow Mutilators and it gives Abbadon 2+ ablative wounds. Only problem is Abbadon will most likely be stuck in a Challenge the first turn so picking the right Mutilators Weapons to swing first is very important. Mutilators and Land Raiders get to another point.
Abbadon loves a Chaos Lord buddy. Imagine Palanquin Nurgle Chaos Lord + Mutilators + Abbadon exiting a Land Raider causing total destruction. Lots of points sure, but come on, four models with a total of 13 wounds!
The last decent unit for Abbadon to join is Khorne Berserkers. Khorne Berserkers are fairly cheap and with a Kharn or a Khorne Chaos Lord with an Axe of Blind Fury you can't go wrong. Minus the Chaos Lord, running a blob squad of Khorne Berserkers and using the weight of attacks and Weapon Skill five isn't bad either.
The biggest change to Abbadon though is his ability to change Chosen into Troops. Chosen have limited ability, but they do two things well: lots of Special Weapons and lots of attacks. If you want to match the fluff in the codex then taking Abbadon with Chosen isn’t super terrible, but I would maximize the attacks and go with Mark of Khorne for extra punch.
Abbadon does suffer from a few minor problems. He is expensive, one-dimensional, and cannot Sweeping Advance. The biggest problem of the bunch is the Sweeping Advance. He can get caught in a Challenge only to win combat by one then allowing his prey to get away, only to rally another a day. This makes breaking Abbadon off a little more situational; you just have to be cognizant of averages and make sure he goes after targets that don’t have a Characters.
Abbadon is expensive, but he doesn’t feel cheap for what you get. At least you know Abbadon will survive most combats, take a hit, and keep on ticking. This doesn’t stop folks from not wanting a 3+ invulnerable save, but you cannot have everything.
Abbadon is designed for Assault and making sure you get him to Assault should always be the objective. That doesn’t mean you can’t use him as a deterrent or as an opportunist. If you opponent likes to get cute and sends Monstrous Creatures or solo Characters don’t be afraid to use Abbadon as a counter assault unit all by himself.
The best thing about Abbadon is you can choose not to think, just send him forward and watch opponents freak out.
Memory Lane: Abbadon
--Ways to play Abbadon--
The following lists are by no means meant strictly for competitive play, they represent a cross-section of the Chaos Space Marine codex allowing for flexibility and variety.
Death Star Configuration: Abbadon Death Star List
Balanced Configuration: Abbadon Balanced List
MSU Configuration: Abbadon MSU List
Horde Configuration: Abbadon Horde List
Fluffy Configuration: Abbadon Fluffy List
Daemon Ally Configuration: Abbadon Daemon List
Imperial Guard Ally Configuration: Abbadon Imperial Guard Ally List
If you have any questions about how to play these lists feel free to email me using the contact information below.
Overall, using Abbadon is best determined by the point’s level and environment you play in. Abbadon isn’t for everyone, being one-dimensional is great, but it doesn’t lend itself to creativity. He can suck up points that otherwise would be used for a creative Chaos Lord or Chaos Sorcerer, but if you want brutal hard-hitting destruction Abbadon the Despoiler is the right guy for the job.
It's Like Tactics is rated theory hammer because these are general observations and assumptions based on only few tested games.
For tactical articles feel free to email me to continue the discussion or if you discover an inaccurate interpretation of the rules-- edits will be made accordingly.
Also check out other articles in this series...
- Getting Restarted
- Breaking Down the Codex
- Chaos Space Marine Unit Review
- Cultist Review
- Khorne Berzerkers Review
- Thousand Sons Review
- Noise Marine Review
- Plague Marine Review
- Chosen Review
- Mutilator Review
- Helbrute Review
- Possessed Review
- Chaos Terminator Review
- Chaos Bikes Review
- Chaos Spawn Review
- Raptors Review
- Warp Talons Review
- Heldrake Review
- Havocs Review
- Obliterator Review
- Defiler Review
- Forgefiend Review
- Maulerfiend Review
- Rhino, Vindicator, Predator, Land Raider Review
- Abbadon the Despiler Review
- Huron Blackheart Review
- Kharn the Betrayer Review
- Ahriman Review
- Typhus Review
- Lucius the Eternal Review
- Fabius Bile Review
- Chaos Lord Review
- Chaos Sorcerer Review
- Daemon Prince Review
- Warpsmith Review
- Dark Apostle Review
- Final Breakdown