Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Obliterators suck

Yeah, you heard me.  Obliterators suck.

Huh?, not rules-wise.  They're a pretty good deal there!  Tough, great array of AT weapons which CSM need, can teleport - and at a reasonable price.  No, they're good in-game, which I guess is part of the problem for me.  If they had lousy stats and they weren't a big temptation for me and others to take it wouldn't be too bad.  If they were the Chaos Spawn equivalent of HS choices, no big issue.  But they are good, so you see them in many, many, many CSM armies, able to be the Swiss Army Knife unit generals dream about.

Why is it a problem?  Well, because other than their in-game stats, they suck. Their background makes them annoying to fit into many themed lists as-is - they feel and look like just what they are - tacked on.  "Hi, we're from Lord Zh'hoodie's Night Lord Terror Force Skullbang.  We've got lots of marines, raptors, chosen, and are mean SOBs, spreading fear for revenge and our own kicks.  Oh, and we've got these Obliterator dudes with us that we hired with some old CD players we found.  They can like, morph plasma cannons and stuff like that."

The original models were poor, and the new "improved" ones are bigger and more expensive, but not really any better.  I think pretty much every conversion I've seen (and people make a lot) looks better than the official version.  A lot of the time the conversions are trying to make them somehow look less silly and tie in better to the rest of the force, which again points out how out of place they usually are.  Other people (myself included) sometimes even go further and work up counts-as solutions, using the stats to represent powerful sorcerers, corrupted robots and the like.

Background...ick.  They've had three codexes now to try to make them interesting, and to me at least they've failed pretty hard.  Let's take a look at some extracts from the current book.

"There is much speculation on the nature of the infernal bond between the Obliterators and the Chaos Gods."  - Translation - "We wrote them up, but don't have any good ideas either.  But they're kind of like Transformers or the T-1000 with guns!  Pew pew pew!"

Maybe it's a virus!  "These theories are highly contentious, for there is little evidence to back up these claims." - Translation - "We still can't come up with something good.  But 28 Days Later had a virus and it was pretty good, right?"

"For those that face Obliterators, such discussions are irrelevant." - How true.

I know people love them in their armies.  I know some people actually like the models, just like some people think naked mole rats are "cute."  I know that some people have no problem throwing them in an army, and some like Iron Warrior players may even consider them "fluffy." 

I'm just not one of those people.

So, do you feel the same way about Oblits outside the realm of the game itself?  Or do you think that they're lovely models with simply fascinating background?

(image from: )


  1. For a while, I'd considered building a Heresy-era/Fallen Dark Angels list using the Chaos codex. I'd planned on implementing the Obliterators as, basically, IG-style Dark Angels weapons teams. One battle brother is dropping a Lascannon while another's handing him a Plasma Cannon.

    I'm not altogether sure how it'd have worked out, but the list overall would probably have been fun to build.

  2. Having recently read 'A Thousand Sons', I always try to imagine the Obliterators like them- powerful sorcerers suffering from a mutation gene. It almost tricks me into accepting them :).

  3. Obliterators. A Chaos Generals best friends, but a hobbyists worst nightmare.
    I am just painting my army and I have given up on trying to figure out why or how Obliterators would be in the warband.
    I just decided that I would paint them to match the rest of my army, same base, same iconography and leave it at that.

  4. I agree, I hate the models, I hate the background, but I want the tactical options so badly. I've resisted so far and I think I'll never get them, or so I hope. I'm always like...well I'll just add four more ML havocs to my list.

  5. So it's not just me? Thank goodness.

  6. I think your missing the point all together. Obliterators are not tied to any chaos god. This does not mean they don't believe in them, they just haven't chosen a single diety to follow strictly. So Obliterators are more or less mercenaries for hire. Like it says in the codex they hire themselves out for weaponry and such. However I like to think that obliterators were once followers of the machine god. Using the skills they knew in a new even darker fashion. Allowing them to merge with guns and such. I am in the process of converting my entire army to a Obliterator Cult army in a sense. The marines, havocs, etc being newly accepted into the cult and used to collect "material" from various foes. I even converted my chaos lord into a "obliterator cult chaos sorcerer". Hes a massive peace with terminator armor, (mark of nurgle for the effect basically to make him more true to his background and get nurgles rot). I feel that there is an awesome oppurtunity for a good background story for Obliterators and I would love to see it delved into more, if not in the codex then its own stand alone book. For now I will just think what I think...

  7. Oh and for armies not focusing around this they could be considered something along the lines of slaves or prized champions. The power of an obliterator is a rare thing so play that up. Maybe have the leader of your army somehow tied to the past of the obliterator so its indebted to it? I will agree that its almost impossible to tie obliterators into a strict form fitting army. Maybe thats why the entry in the codex is so bland, to allow you to create your own backstory to better fit your army?

  8. @corey - I'm glad that you're finding/making background that works for you, and your Oblit Cult army sounds cool. When you get that rolling I hope that you'll post a link back over here so I can see how wrong I am!

    For the Lord you might also consider giving him Gift of Chaos instead of Rot and make some techno-spawn to represent newly-infected victims.

    Termies would make for some good proto-oblits, with combi-weapons representing them learning to use their abilities.

    The defiler's stats would make for a fun super-oblit or an infected tank. But it would be hard to justify a lot of variety in the HS section and still keep a heavy oblit theme.

    Good luck, I'd like to see how it turns out!

  9. @sonsoftaurus- wow thanks for that quick reply! I actually just finished up painting my 2 obliterators and the chaos sorcerer. Ive kinda got a back story going for the sorcerer, I used modelling clay to bulk him up and add alot of fleshy masses. I also stuck heads into him! I just finished reading Dark Apostle and they talk alot about the machine cult, and how they use brains to store data. So I kinda decided that my sorcerer uses the heads of his fallen victims to increase his power (and i count it as a familiar built into him).

    This is my first time ever posting on a blog to tell you the truth. In high school I used to use forums and such but in college/work I have been to busy. I will try to get some pictures up for you, I'd like to finish a couple marines before I do.

    Also I threw in some berserkers and just ordered a chaos lord on a steed, considering them to be like mercenaries(and I want to see a Chaos lord charge on his horse into the fray with his daemon weapon). I agree that its hard to keep a consistent pattern throughout the army. I think the fact that obliterators really dont fit in anywhere else is a great oppurtunity for people like me to come up with how they do!

  10. Excellent, look forward to the pictures. It's pretty easy to set up a blog here, but posting can take some getting used to (I'm still working on it!).


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