One of my favorite characters in all of 40k is Abaddon the Despoiler (Abby for short). He is one of the most powerful characters in the game and also one of the most expensive. This post will discuss all aspects of Abby including his strengths, weaknesses, tactics on using Abby, and a comparison to his peers in other armies.
Abby's strength is 8 (meaning he wounds almost everything on 2s), has 4 wounds, is fearless, is in terminator armor, and has all the marks of chaos, giving him higher toughness, higher initiative, an extra attack, and a 4+ invulnerable save. Due to the Talon of Horus he re-rolls wounds. His Daemon weapon gives him the strength boost and an extra D6 attacks. Abby is a force to be reckoned with, and every time he is fielded the enemy knows this causing them to have to commit a high amount of resources to deal with him.
Thanks to the use of a Daemon weapon there is a 1 in 6 chance that Abby will do nothing in close combat and a 50% chance he will take the wound from the daemon weapon.
His fearless ability does not pass on to the squad he is with so if he is placed with terminators or regular Chaos Space Marines the chance exists that he could be cut down in a sweeping advance.
Abby is expensive by himself, but add in a land raider to get him where he is going and an accompanying unit and he can end up being 600 points or more.
Due to his great abilities and the attraction by the enemy to eliminate him as soon as possible, he is going to have a lot of firepower directed at him.
Abby primarily excels at close combat and if he isn't in the fight he is pretty much useless unless the goal is to distract the enemy.
Because of his cost and the cost of his accompanying units he just isn't practical in a competitive setting. Two Daemon Princes or a Lord will get more accomplished, cost far less, and more stuff can be fielded to help womp your opponent.
Abby needs close combat to be the most effective. How do we get him there? He can deepstrike thanks to his terminator armor, but that would be foolish being that he cannot assault when he makes it on board, and it would also stink if he got mishapped into oblivion. A land raider with daemonic possession is the only option. Tack on another 245 points to his cost.
Next, a land raider with 1 guy in it is a waste of resources and Abby without support just isn't right. Remember, he also needs a fearless unit, but if you are insistent on grouping him with terminators or regular CSMs, make sure they take the icon of Chaos Glory so they can re-roll failed morale checks.
So who do we group Abby with? Because Abby wants to get into assault as quick as possible it seems logical to put him with 8 Khorne Berzerkers ready to jump out and mow down whatever is in their path. However, Abby with those Berzerkers are going to wipe out whoever they are up against leaving Abby and the Berzerkers to sit and be shot at on the enemy's turn.
That leaves Plague marines, which is what I choose. Thanks to Feel No Pain any shooting that might be done at Abby and his unit can be absorbed handily by 8 Plague Marines. I equip two of them with flamers just in case a horde needs thinning out. Blight grenades lower the incoming attacks on an assault so that is less that can be dealt against Abby.
Abby can handily take on a whole unit of MEQs without much help from the Plague Marines. One thing to keep in mind is watch out how close you are when shooting. When shooting casualties are removed the models closes to your unit may not have the range to assault, failing everything and wasting Abby's efforts.
Playing with Abby is a lot of fun but thanks to his cost I have had a hard time defeating my opponents because of my lack of models. He is often bogged down by wave after wave of enemies, which he promptly chomps through, but that leaves the rest of the enemies army to go about their business. Most other HQs don't even come close to touching Abby and they are slaughtered outright. Lysander and C'Tan are his closest rivals, but with initiative and being able to re-roll wounds not much gets in his way, except that awful 1 for the number of attacks.
What I love most is wiping entire units off the board with just Abby. After a punisher cannon shot Abby and hit him a good number of times all 6 wounds dealt were saved. Abby leaves behind him piles of bodies and a slew of wreckage.