This is one of those units that’s got a real love / hate thing going. On the one hand, the models look really great. So much so that even if you never actually play them as possessed, they’re still worth a buy just for all the neat plastic bits they’re made of. From a fluff perspective they’re pretty neat, too. Marines that have joined up with a daemon to become even more powerful. Great back-story for some evil dudes. Alas, that’s about all they have going for them, because they basically stink on the table top.
Now, allow me to elaborate on just why they stink. First, we need to look at their role in an army. They have no ranged abilities whatsoever, and they don’t count as a scoring unit. That basically just leaves assaulting stuff. Now, with their base strength and only a 1 in 6 chance of getting rending to boost that, they’re pretty well stuck hunting just infantry. That’s ok though, nothing wrong with some specialization, just so long as they excel at their specialty.
So, do they? In a word: No.
They are rife with problems that hamper their ability to do the one thing they’re capable of. For starters, they have no assault grenades, making it problematic assaulting anything in cover. They won’t have any way to bypass armor saves in 4 out of every 6 games, either, and they don’t have massive numbers of attacks to compensate.
Their random ability is a level of suck all it’s own, and for 1 very simple reason. It’s rolled for *after* deployment. You could get a fast-moving flanking unit with Scout or Fleet, a tarpit unit with Feel No Pain or Furious Charge, or a nasty elite troop-killer with Rending or Power Weapons. But you typically don’t deploy those types of units in the same place. So having to hope you placed them well for what they get is a crap-shoot at best. About all you can do about it is plop them in a rhino to reposition once you have a clue what they’re going to be doing that game.
Even so, they’re not abysmal in CC. But they don’t exactly shine either. In fact, for the same points you pay for 8 possessed, you can get a kitted-out chaos marine squad of 10. The basic marines give you far greater flexibility with their ranged options and varied role capacity based on how you gear them up, they count as scoring units, and they fight better then possessed in CC. That’s right, basic chaos marines outperform possessed at the only thing possessed are good at (yes, I ran the math to prove it, and the basic marines killed more and outlived more then possessed 5 out of 6 times). Ok, if possessed get Power Weapons they’re better. But that’s a 1 in 6 shot of not sucking in comparison, and even then they have to contend with not offering scoring status.
Result? You have an Elite troop-killing unit that can only fight in close combat, but is itself outshone by the most basic troops in it’s own codex at the only thing the unit is even capable of. That’s just… sad.