Warhammer 40,000/Tactics/Chaos Space Marines(7E)

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Why Play Chaos Space Marines

Chaos Space Marines Cover 6e.jpg

Chaos Space Marines are the main antagonist of the Warhammer 40,000 setting; with the Horus Heresy arguably being the most pivotal moment of 40k's timeline. From a fluff-perspective, a Chaos Space Marine army can be a Warband derived from one of the nine original Traitor Legions, or a more recent group of Marines (or even an entire Chapter) that has gone Renegade, and the fluff for your army is yours to write; besides the normal question of "what god(s) do your Chaos Marines follow?", the backstory of how your former defenders of Humanity fell to Chaos can be every bit as compelling, as well as any driving motivations. After all, while some Chaos Space Marines may be occasional pawns in the grand scheme of the Gods, most of their own motives remain entirely human, whether it's the quest for vengeance in The Long War, carving out pocket empires, or researching forbidden secrets. In many ways, Chaos Space Marines are the Your Dudes army.

For those that enjoy kitbashing and converting, you can do so with the help from pretty much any kit from any other race and not give a single fuck about what people say. You can legitimately say: "Dude, I play Chaos, and Chaos can take any form". So long as you don't make a fool out of yourself and pretend that a Lizardman with wheels and spikes instead of legs would make a good Chaos Bike. Chaos Space Marines arguably exceed Orks in the sheer amount of room they allow for custom projects, as they can either be ramshackle mess of diseased maniacs, fervent technosorcerers with baroque war engines, a disciplined force of elite Infiltrators or otherwise.

From a gameplay perspective, Chaos Space Marines can best be described as "Space Marauders", compensating for a lack of uniform quality with a mix of psychic prowess, close combat saturation, and "troubleshooters" to plug gaps in your battleplan. Unlike some other armies, Chaos Space Marines don't have too many "over-specialized" units, but they have "exotic generalists" that can be adapted to multiple roles in one go. That said, many of their advantages come with corresponding disadvantages. You lack And They Shall Know No Fear, which means you need to keep pressure on your opponent or else when you do falter, you may not properly recover from it. In exchange, you get the option to improve your Leadership beyond Loyalist standards (while most Loyalist Marine squads will be Leadership 8, you can easily have Leadership 10 throughout your army), while Fearless is easily available to units that pay a premium for them. Likewise, you lack a lot of the shiny toys Loyalists get, and notably lack access to Grav Weaponry, Razorbacks, Landspeeders or Vanilla Drop Pods. In exchange, you get a lot of "daemontech" tools, as well as the ability to jury-rig those vehicles you do get with a wide array of options. While the Loyalists can easily get units that will murder your melee units in a straight-up slugfest (if they pay top points for them), your rank-and-file will beat up their rank-and-file most of the time; add in a system where your heroes or unit leaders can receive herohammer buffs (or the chance to transform into Daemon Princes or those-that-must-not-be-named) for beating up your opponents, and Chaos Marines favor a very gung-ho playstyle.

Pros

  • Herohammer Toybox: Although you don't have a character that has the sheer destructive crunch as Commander Smashfucker, you have a lot of cool relics on hand. Between all the codex options and legion-specific toys, you can make heroes that are really good at bringing the fight to your foe, and then tearing said foe a new one. Add in a system that randomly buffs (though with its risks; this will be covered) your heroes when they RIP AND TEAR, and your characters have a playstyle that can be incredibly fun.
  • Rocking the Psychic Phase - Although you don't have the sheer ability to run Psychic shenanigans as an Eldar or Daemon faction, Chaos Space Marines have a fairly extensive psychic toolbox to work with. Other than Telekinesis (which is generally not considered a power discipline) and Divination (though one artifact does allow you to take it), you have access to most of the base rulebook disciplines, including Telepathy and Malefic Daemonology. Traitor's Hate helped out further by giving Chaos "copypastes" of the Astartes powers from Angel of Death. Unlike the Loyalists, your casters have the option to go up to Mastery Level 3 (or even Mastery Level 4 for one of them), and you have the single most powerful psyker in 40k available to you in Magnus the Red. Instead of the Psychic Hood, the Spell Familiar is a fairly cheap upgrade that lets you re-roll failed Psychic Tests. So not only can you throw down more Warp Charge than a loyalist army, but you can make each one count for more.
  • Exotic Generalists: Chaos Marines have trouble-shooter units that can plug into multiple different roles at once. The Heldrake blends the line between an aerial interceptor and ground-attack aircraft, potentially doing both at once, while the Obliterator is always guaranteed to have the right gun for the right job, while being able to smash things in a pinch. Even the humble Rhino gets a few tricks up its sleeve in a Chaos army, with additional equipment options letting it deny Overwatch or serve as fire support.
  • Marks and Icons Chaos Gods - Chaos Space Marines can be marked to be stronger, faster, tougher, or trickier than their Loyalist brethren at a cost. Some of these bonuses are costly for what they are, and in several cases Loyalists can arguably do it better, but some of them let you do things other armies can't quite do.
  • Unconventional Alliance opportunities: Chaos Space Marines are one of the only armies (besides Renegades and Heretics or Daemonkin) that is Battle Brothers with Chaos Daemons and Renegade Knights, and this does allow for some unique power combinations between the two. They're also Allies of Convenience with Necrons, and are the only faction that is Allies of Convenience with Orks.
  • Apocalypse - You're better than the loyalists in Apocalypse games because you get fucking Titans and lots of sweet Forgeworld loving in the form of flyers and Daemon Engines. You're part of the Apocalypse Quintet along with the Imperial Guard, Eldar, Orks, and Tyranids, to which all other apocalypse armies are measured against. Be warned, you are comparatively lacking in long ranged heavy artillery, so even in Apocalypse, your dish is best served by getting close to RIP AND TEAR.

Cons

The current Chaos Space Marine codex book is the oldest in current use, and it shows. The fluff and art are top tier, but the rules in it are clearly written for another age - one without grav and knights all over the place. Make no mistake - you'll be fighting an uphill battle all the way in every game if you try to run a CSM army as just a CAD with just the rules in that book - and that's just in CASUAL games. There is a good reason why an Ork, Tyranid, and CSM players arguing who has the worst codex is a popular online cliche. Luckily, as of the end of 2016, CSMs have finally gotten a boost in the form of powerful and varied (if spammy and often overcosted and/or tactically infexible) formations that can be found in the Traitor Legions supplement.

Most of the issues have generally come from Chaos being compared to loyalist Space Marines (and their many variants). Among them are:

  • They Shall Know Fear: Unlike vanilla Space Marines, you don't get "And They Shall Know No Fear." Considering the advantages of ATSKNF are four-fold (Auto-pass Fear checks, immune to being destroyed by sweeping advance, auto-regroup regardless of how many models you have left, and suffer no move/shoot penalties after regrouping), the regular Chaos Marines are in an unenviable position point-for-point. However, it's not all doom and gloom: Unlike the loyalists, you get a fair few options for making your guys Fearless or superior Leadership so you're less likely to fail Morale checks in the first place. Inversely, if you're running MSU units, you don't care too much about trying to rally "that one last" model for any given unit when you can have two more small units in backup.
    • Note: If you're running a cult legion from the Traitor Legions supplement, Veterans of the Long War is fearless across the board. Thus this one issue can be discounted, if you wish to theme your army based on a named legion rather than Crimson Slaughter or your homebrewed warband.
  • Beggars of the Long War: As a price for Chaos getting access to more consistently powerful Psykers, herohammer blessings, and general "unconventional" power options, they're missing a lot of powerful tools the Loyalists get access to. Most notably, your army lacks Grav Weapons which are considered "the one special weapon to rule them all" for normal Space Marines. You can find "analogues" for some of the other tools Marines get that you don't, though you also lack good equivalents for Drop Pods, Razorbacks, Attack Bikes, or flying transports. Forgeworld can potentially mitigate this to some degree if you wish. You'll see other small examples of Chaos technology being more "dated" or second-hand than their Loyalist counterparts, discussed in their individual unit entries.
  • Tactically Inflexible: Chaos Space Marines have no units with the innate ability to Infiltrate or Scout. They don't have any special rules or wargear to get better deployment options, to have better chances of selecting a table edge or to Seize the Initiative, to improve their Reserves rolls or to mitigate scattering from Deep Strike (the Dimensional Key doesn't particularly count). Unlike many armies, they don't get many non-psychic "toolbox" abilities; there is no Combat Tactics/Doctrina/Canticles equivalent, nor do you get stuff like Guard Orders/Acts of Faith.
  • One Codex In (At Least) Two Books: The CSM codex is OLD AS FUCK. The rules in it are dated, and power creep means that it hasn't aged well. To GW's credit, as of the end of 2016, steps have been taken to bring CSMs up to speed. That's all well and good, but unfortunately the 'update' was done through the issuance of supplements rather than an updated dex. This means that you have to own the dex + one or more of the supplements in order to build a passable army, and if you want a really decent one that supplement has to be the Traitor Legions or The Traitor's Hate. Woe betide anyone wishing to actually collect all the books in order to have access to all the current rules - there are, like, 6 of them, before you even dip your toe into Frogeworld and Apocalypse.

Countering these cons

  • Don't try to play CSM like loyalists. Your dudes are sub-par when compared to regular SM point for point. CSM also lack most of the shiny toys that allow loyalists to do what they do best. If you try to juste emmulate them, you're going to have a hard time doing so. Luckily, you don't have to - you have the option to take hordes of cultists, monstrous daemon princes and FUCKING DRAGONS to go with your bolter-lugging meatheads.
  • The rules that you can find in supplements (like Traitor Legions and Traitor's Hate) are nearly mandatory if you want to level the playing field somewhat. They give CSM armies an opportunity to employ some really game-changing playlists, that have potential to make a regular CSM army competitive while at the same time keeping true to the fluff. In most cases, said formations go a long way towards fixing the fundamental flaws of the Codex, even if it's arguable whether or not they always succeed. DEFINITELY check them out in the tactics section below!
  • Cult units have Fearless and give you better mileage, if you have the points. You can also make them Troops (Plague and Noise Marines, for example, are awesome, if a bit situational).
  • While nowhere near as good as ATSKNF, VotLW is decent. Don't forget that it gives you hatred against all the other non-spiky marines. Traitor Legions should be mentioned here, as it almost universally allows AND forces CSMs to take VOTLW for free if they meet the criteria to be part of that legion - which is a nice bonus.
    • FW threw you a bone in the form of an updated Renegades and Heretics list that are Battle Brothers with you. They have good artillery and meatshields for said artillery, but fall short in most other areas.
  • Allies give you some breathing room when building an army. You are the only army that is Blood Brothers with Daemons, Renegade Knights and KDK, AND has access to Necrons and Orks as allies of convenience (in fact, you are the *only* army that treats Orks as anything better than Desperate) is pretty cool. KDK
  • The spell familiar, which in 6th edition was practically useless, got a huge boost with 7th edition psychic rules. As a piece of wargear that can be taken by any psyker that isn't Ahriman, Typhus or a T-Sons Aspiring Sorcerer and allows you to re-roll failed psychic tests, it makes CSM psykers some of the most reliable in the game.

Special Rules

  • Legions of Chaos - As of Traitor Legions, you now have the option to run your Spikey Marines as veterans from one of the original 9 Traitor Legions! Whether you want your army to evoke battlecries of "BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!", "IRON WITHIN! IRON WITHOUT!", or any of the other ones, this is now an option for you, the aspiring Chaos Warmaster! The individual Legion entries are detailed near the end, with each Legion having certain restrictions in exchange for certain bonuses. Note that any detachment may be a Legion detachment if it adheres to the restrictions of said Legion and detachment in question. For example, you could run a Chaos Warband as a Black Legion Detachment despite the Black Legion Speartip not having the Chaos Warband as a core, as long as you didn't have any Special Characters besides Abaddon. However, you could not run a Black Legion Warband as a Death Guard Detachment, for that formation has the restriction "This is a Black Legion Detachment."
    • Note - Unlike Codex: Space Marines, the Legion rules are strictly optional. You don't have to field a Chaos Space Marine Detachment as a Legion, and in fact, you cannot field it as one should you wish to take certain Special Characters including Bela'kor, Cypher, Fabius Bile or Huron. That said, the bonuses offered by adhering to a Legion generally outweigh the restrictions by a considerable margin, while free Veterans of the Long War adds up!
  • Chaos Boons - Chaos Boons are a power lottery with the potential to buff your heroes to epic proportions or to backfire horribly and turn them into things which must not be named. The most common way to trigger rolls on this table is through the Champion of Chaos special rule (covered below), but it can also be triggered through the Boon of Mutation psyker power, the Gift of Mutation upgrade, or through the Path to Glory effect from the Black Crusade detachment. Note that you cannot gain the same Boon multiple times; treat all such subsequent rolls as "Nothing." Unfortunately you can't choose any of these, but dark apostles let you re-roll and warlord traits let you re-roll or shift the result if you're not happy with the first roll.
  • 11-16 - Nothing.
The anticlimax is real.
  • 21-22 - Replace model with Chaos Spa-ARRGHNNNGNHWNHBLENNLNHELH.
You don't want this to happen to any tooled-up HQ you have, though it's not necessarily the end of the world if it happens to a rank-and-file Champion for some reason. Note that a Champion that becomes one of...those things retains its Mark, despite losing everything else.
  • Important Note - On Pg. 29, going by RAW: a Champion that turns into a Chaos Spa-SKRAAFSDHFKBLEGH or Daemon Prince is considered a separate, non-scoring unit. Let me repeat that. Non. Scoring. Now that 7th edition allows any units to score objectives, this can be a detrimental flaw.
  • 23 - +1 Attack.
Pretty straight forward and never a bad choice. You could risk a re-roll for a more immediate benefit on something like say a poop bucket prince, but you will probably end up in melee eventually with CSM regardless of what rolls this and there's a good chance you'll end up with something worse. For any CC oriented characters this is a keeper.
  • 24 - Eternal Warrior.
Nice on an HQ, pointless on single-wound models. Even then you might already have EW from a warlord trait or relic, plus most of our HQs only have 2 where having EW is only a marginal improvement. So consider re-rolling this unless whatever rolled this has 3+ wounds.
  • 25 - +1 Strength.
Enjoy your S10 powerfist. This is pretty universally good too. Some khorne characters might not get much out of this on the charge due to already wounding on 2s on the charge, but even they benefit from this after the first round of combat. So if it helps you wound better just roll with it. Bonus points for nurgle/Blades of Putrifaction as this helps you gain re-rolls to wound from poisoned attacks.
  • 26 - +1 BS.
More often than not you will want to re-roll this if you can. However there are some less obvious characters that benefit from this, psykers still need to hit with some witchfires and our sorcerer is only BS 4. Then there is also the chosen champion which can make use of this. On the other hand, BS 6 doesn't unlock re-rolls for blast weapons. Also, while this looks interesting for a forgefiend or defiler, possession actually is a fixed modifier to 3 BS, so this won't actually help them shoot better.
  • 31 - +1 Initiative.
Can be nice on HQs to hit before the enemy head honcho, but generally more useful for our grunts who can now kill other sergeants before they can retaliate. Or for Death Guard to counter the initiative hit. Luckily you get to check what your opponent brought to decide on whether or not you think this could be useful for you.
  • 32 - Return to full wounds, or gain +1 Wound if unwounded.
Unless the character happens to be a walker, you're going to want to keep this. It's amazing.
  • 33 - +1 Toughness.
Almost as good as 32(+1W/refill). You really can't go wrong with this, although it's pretty much only for CC as majority toughness will cancel this out. Also, do check what this character is likely to face in CC. If you're going up against thunderhammers or fists, you're probably not going to get any use out of this.
  • 34 - Shrouded.
One of the few boons that spreads to the unit. Roll this up on a biker champion and watch Dark Angels players eat their hearts out. Especially good on DG (decurion) and NL as this can give entire units a 4+ cover save in the open.
  • 35 - Armour Save improves by 1 to a maximum of 2+.
YES! Especially as Chaos doesn't get non-relic artificer armor. Big boon for a prince, but still good for anything really. And unlike +1T, this works despite being part of a unit so this can be used to tank hits for the rest of the unit.
  • 36 - Melee weapon has Fleshbane.
Pretty good, especially if you put it on a lightning claw. But don't forget that this is part of a weapon as opposed to a rule the character gains. It won't affect stuff like infernal claws or the talons of the night terror.
  • 41 - Passing a Deny the Witch roll makes enemy Psyker take a Str 6 AP 2 hit.
VERY situational, but not bad. The champ/unit has to pass the deny test, so it doesn't work against blessings. However, it's a nice deterrent vs shrieks for a prince. Anybody else should probably opt for a re-roll when possible.
  • 42 - Re-roll failed armor saves.
Roll this on a DG TAF lord and ask your opponent again how that mass fire is working for them. Anything with a 2+ save will want this. It's still good with a 3+ save but not a must have unless the character is running solo.
  • 43 - Melee attacks are Poisoned (4+).
Good when fighting low toughness armies or for khorny stuff since it's effectively shred on high strength models. Pretty nice vs non non marine armies, especially nids. Against marines you're probably wounding on 4s anyway so try for something else.
  • 44 - Crusader.
The other boon that spreads to the unit. Since this is random, you'll probably not care too much about the run bonus, but it's a pretty decent bonus to sweeping attacks. Of course that means you're more likely to overrun a unit, which you might not want, but it works when being charged too. Even if you loose combat, it will make beating that unit in a sweeping advance pretty hard, making this quite nice for non fearless tarpits. It also combos very nicely with a spawn escort if you already have fleet.
  • 45 - Hammer of Wrath.
You more than likely don't want this. It's almost always one measly S4 wound and even on a prince or walker, it's still AP-. The only time you might want to hold on to this is when the character has infernal claws. In that case you gain 3 additional hits at the initiative 10 step. And unlike the HoW hit, those additional hits can benefit from smash
  • 46 - Icy Aura (enemy models in base contact take a Str 4 AP 5 hit at Initiative Step 1)
This isn't as good as you might think at the first glance. The character needs to be in base contact and typically you don't have that character at the front. If the opponent doesn't accept the challenge, you end up being able to fight but not in base contact with anybody. Even when you do though, you're not likely to be in contact with more than 2, if that. It's ok for something with a large base like a juggerlord, but you could probably do better than this. Infernal claws on the other hand, can make this a crowd clearer. You'll still want a large base/go solo but when you do, this thing will easily generate 3 hits, which add another 6 for 9 total. Good luck tarpitting a prince with this and infernal claws. It ends up being like rampage on steroids.
  • 51 - Adamantium Will.
Same advice as for 41. Only really useful on a prince to not get shredded by shrieks as much.
  • 52 - A ranged weapon has +1 Strength.
Nice if your Warlord has a Burning Brand or another cool ranged weapon, but pointless otherwise. A chosen champion with plasma gun can also make good use of this.
Like +1 attack this is never a bad choice. Unless you already have hatred of course.
  • 54 - Shred.
This is gained on the character level, which means that this allows you to re-roll ALL to wound rolls in CC, not just those of you're weapon. Infernal claws raises it's head again. So unless you only brought a lightning claw, you probably want to hold onto this.
  • 55 - Melee attacks have instant death.
I don't care if you roll this on a cultist champion, you're keeping this. Hell, keep this even when you already ID on 6s. Debatable whether or not this applies to infernal claws or icy aura.
  • 56 - +1 WS.
If you're using the axe of blind fury, keep it. Everybody else wants to re-roll this, with the exception of non HQ's as those go from a to hit roll of 4+ to 3+ as opposed to remaining on a 3+.
  • 61 - Stubborn.
This also spreads, but you don't care seeing as how most of your dueling HQs have FEARLESS, half of legions from supplements are Fearless by default and cultists are usually joined by Dark Apostles.
  • 62 - Fleet.
Won't benefit anyone in the champion's squad, re-roll whenever possible. Tiny bit better in BL and WB armies with crusader, but fuck it. Try to re-roll to something better.
  • 63 - Feel No Pain
It's feel no pain. You want it. Same constraints as 33(+1T) though in that it only really helps in CC. Also doesn't work with walkers as it only triggers on unsaved wounds.
  • 64 - Roll another d3+1 on this table (re-rolling Spawnhood and Dark Apotheosis results)
Yay!
  • 65-66 - Replace this model with a Daemon Prince with Power Armor. If the model was Marked, it becomes the Daemon Prince of the same Chaos God. If not, choose which one of Big Four is its new patron.
Avoid this like the plague on your tooled HQ's, but other stuff tends to be improved.
  • Important Note - On Pg. 29, going by RAW: a Champion that turns into a Chaos Spa-SKRAAFSDHFKBLEGH or Daemon Prince is considered a separate, non-scoring unit. Let me repeat that. Non. Scoring. Now that 7th edition allows any units to score objectives, this can be a detrimental flaw.
  • Champion of Chaos - Barring the Daemon Prince or any "vehicle characters" (which only show up in certain formations), all your Characters have this rule. The downside is that in any assault where at least one character with this rule is engaged, at least one of your Champion of Chaos characters must issue a challenge, while if your opponent can issue a challenge and at least one of your characters with this rule is eligible to accept, one of those characters must accept. 7th edition helped in that wounds from a challenge may now "spill over" to the rest of an enemy unit, but this effectively means that if you want to tool out a squad for close combat, you better give at least one of your characters some decent protection, for you won't have access to Look Out Sir. The "good news" (though this can be relative) is that if your character's attack is part of an attack that directly kills an enemy Character, you get to roll on the aforementioned Chaos Boon table.
  • Veterans of the Long War - Units with this rule gain +1Ld and Hatred (Space Marines) - this includes ALL units from ALL the different Space Marines codices, including the Grey Knights & Deathwatch. This upgrade is pricey however, and when you do take it, you end up costing the same as your Loyalist brethren, while lacking a lot of the benefits they get for the cost. However, taken on critical units (these will be noted accordingly), this is a lifesaver. Note too, that even though at the end of the day nothing can have a leadership of more than 10, all modifiers are still cumulative. This means that the leadership bonus can cancel out penalties imposed on your Ld10 HQs. Cypher is the most obvious mention here, but there are any number of attacks on leadership that having an effective leadership 11 will protect you from.
  • Traitor Legions: As of the Traitor Legions supplement, declaring your force a Legion detachment provides you with the above rule for free. WO HOOO - Ld10 Aspiring Champions!
  • Daemonforge - Once per game, a vehicle with this rule may re-roll armor penetration and to-wound results. However, the owner must in the end of that phase roll a D6 and on a 1, the vehicle loses a hull point with no saves. Defilers, Forgefiends, Heldrakes and Maulerfiends have this. Oh, and the Lord of Skulls but you aren't using it except for shits and giggles.
  • Infernal Relic (Forge World) - You cannot have more than one of vehicles with this rule in your primary detachment (or any in allied), unless you have a Technomancer in that detachment. Any Warpsmith, Sorcerer with a Malefic power or Abaddon himself can be made a Technomancer for free, and as a nice bonus gain control over the Possession rule, choosing whom your transport eats (if anybody at all) if the Technomancer embarks with the unit. The rules aren't exactly clear if you can nominate a Technomancer for a single vehicle in a primary detachment or not though...

Warlord Traits

  1. Black Crusader - All units within 12" gain Preferred Enemy (Space Marines). Since this applies to shooting as well as melee, this is worth keeping if you're facing Marines. It's useless otherwise. Abaddon starts with this one.
  2. Flames of Spite - Melee weapons get Soulblaze. Terrible even for a mob-killer HQ, and far worse on a challenge-oriented HQ.
  3. Master of Deception - D3 infantry units can Infiltrate. Excellent trait, but still not much compared to TACTICAL GENIUS. Huron and Ahriman have this by default.
  4. Hatred Incarnate - Hatred for the warlord and his unit. Kharn, appropriately, comes with this.
  5. Lord of Terror - Fear is shit, feel sorry for rolling this. Typhus has this by default, poor sod.
  6. Exalted Champion - A re-roll on the Rewards Table is something you absolutely need to take. Seriously, this can be the difference between living with a mediocre boost and becoming... gribbly.

Two of the Warlord Traits are effectively useless, while another one will be useless depending on what army you face, and whether you're running a Black Crusade or not. If you're running a Black Crusade, and come up against an Imperial army, Hatred Incarnate will do nothing as you already Hate them. If you're not up against a Space Marine army, Black Crusader will be useless. And if you're not running a Black Crusade, Exalted Champion will be mostly useless since you won't get the free rolls with Path to Glory. If you do face a Marine army, you have a fair chance of getting something usable though Strategic is going to be a safe option too.

Wing Leader Traits

In Skies of Death, one Heldrake in a Flyerwing is automatically upgraded to a Wing Leader and gets to make a pre-game roll for one of three bonuses.

  1. Warp Fury - The Heldrake gets infinite-use Daemonforge. This is nice.
  2. Fueled By Murder - If the Heldrake's attack causes an enemy model to be removed as a casualty, its ranged weapon is twin-linked in the next Shooting Phase. All it takes is one Vector Strike and you're basically twin-linked for most of the game after.
  3. Icon of Slaughter - Add 1 to the Pursuit value for the Wing Leader and all models from this Flyer Wing during the Dogfight Phase. Ehhhh.

Fighter Ace Traits

This preceded Skies of Death. In Death From The Skies, you now have a bonus rule allowing you to pay 35 points for one of 3 special traits for any Flyer or FMC (FGC is still debatable).

  1. Arcane Targeting System - +1 BS. Useless if your Heldrake is packing a Baleflamer, and usually useless on a Daemon Prince. Handy if you take a Hades Autocannon Heldrake.
  2. Terror of the Skies - Re-rolls To Wound and penetrate when Vector Striking. Not a bad one, by far.
  3. Lord of Chaos - Fellow Chaos Marines within 12" gain Relentless. Enjoy toting along fucking rockets and super-dakka cultists like nobody's business.

Tactical Objectives

Added in the new Traitor's Hate book, you get a full deck of tactical objectives with the first 6 being CSM-oriented.

11. Glorious Carnage
1 VP if you completely destroy an enemy unit in your turn.
12. The Warp is Your ally
1 VP if you successfully manifested a psychic power.
13. The Will of Chaos
Roll a dice upon generating this card. Score 1 VP if you control the objective corresponding to that roll at the end of your turn.
14. The Gaze of the Gods
1 VP if a character rolls on the Chaos boon table. D3 VP if 3 or more characters roll on the boon table.
15. Claim and Despoil
D3 VP if you steal an objective an enemy unit was holding.
16. Rise to Glory
1 VP if your warlord rolled Unworthy Offering or Spawnhood on the boon table. D3+3 VP if your Warlord looses the Chaos lottery and becomes a Daemon Prince. D3 VP if you roll any other result on the Boon table for your warlord.


Armory of Chaos

Remember a time when you had to flip back and forth between a wargear page and your unit entries? /tg/ remembers, and 3.5 was awesome because of it. Well guess what's back? Yeah, that's right - one BIG inventory section to pick your wargear from. Here are all the goodies the Dark gods are willing to let you work with. Sadly, there's some dead weight intermixed with otherwise generic items, and the retarded awesomeness of the Kai Gun is missing. What can we say? This isn't 3E and it's not like those days will be coming back any time soon. Just enjoy the fact it's better than what the last codex was...

Melee Weapons

Nothing too unique here. These are for Aspiring Champion models in pretty much any of the squads that have champs and any models who say they can take wargear from this list. Take note: Terminator Champions have to take wargear from the Terminator weapons list (which ends up costing a lot more.)

You can replace either the model's bolt pistol or CCW with one of theses, or replace BOTH the pistol and the CCW with two. So you can have two fists or two chain axes for that awesome factor you were aiming for. Knock yourself out.

  • Power Weapons: There are four flavors to enjoy: sword, maul, axe, and lance.
    • The sword is AP3, but is otherwise a standard melee weapon (importantly, it doesn't mess with your initiative). However, since it's the same price as the lightning claws, you probably want to take that instead, as those bad boys come with Shred (allowing you to reroll To Wound), but unlike the claw it isn't a specialist weapon.
    • The maul adds +2S and AP4, meaning it's a fair bit nicer than the chainaxe, albeit at a slightly higher price. It also comes with Concussive; enemies that take a wound from it are knocked down to I1 for the next turn. These are good for monstrous creature hunting and killing Necrons and Tau.
    • The axe adds +1S and AP2, but it's Unwieldy (which brings you down to I1); in other words, it's a weaker power fist. Only take one if you can't afford a fist, or want the extra attack.
    • Lastly, the children of the Dark Gods get their hands on the (all-new this edition) power lance, which is AP3 and +1S on the charge, and AP4/model's strength otherwise. It's fairly decent (especially combined with a Dirge Caster-carrying Rhino), but good luck finding one. It literally can't be found on any Chaos sprues, so if you want to use it you'll have to improvise.
  • Lightning Claws: You get AP3 and Shred (which lets you reroll To Wound). If you're taking one claw, you should take a second one or a power fist, since both claw and fist are now Specialist Weapons and thus you get +1A when taken together. The lightning claw is almost always superior to the power sword, especially so if the bearer has 3+ attacks. The only potential downside is that you won't get the extra attack from having a melee weapon and a pistol, but seeing as how lightning claws are particularly good against tougher opponents (and you should be slaughtering low-Toughness models anyway), you should probably just take these.
  • Chain Axe: It's a basic melee weapon, except it has AP 4. Berzerker squads get these for only 3 points per model, instead of 8. Note that they aren't good enough to chop up Marines; you need real power weapons for that, so don't rely too heavily on these, especially given that power weapons are only a few points more.
  • Plague Knife: The other cult weapon. Poisoned CCWs that Plague Marines get as stock wargear.
  • Power Fist: Just the same as any other codex: double the strength, but I1. If you're stuck but you want to spend some points on melee weapons, this is a good choice. Also, as stated above, both these and the Lightning Claws are Specialist Weapons, so you get +1A if you have one of each.

Ranged Weapons

Like the melee list, these are for all the Champions who aren't wearing terminator armor (see list below for their options) and any of the units who specifically say they can take items from this list:

  • Combi-Bolter: A Twin-Linked Bolter. Simple enough. Rapid fire at 12 inches makes this a twin linked storm bolter. Have fun.
  • Combi-Flamer/-Melta/-Plasma: A Boltgun with a built in Meltagun, Plasma Gun, or Flamer. The secondary weapon gets a single shot per game. Useful, but use it wisely.
  • Plasma Pistol: Self explanatory. Too bad GW still hasn't realized that it isn't worth 15 points for a weapon that has a chance to explode and kill you.

Terminator Weapons

This is for Terminator Champions and Lords and Sorcerers wearing Terminator armor.

You can replace the Combi-Bolter and/or your standard power weapon with any of these, the only exception being you can't swap out your standard power weapon for a Combi-Weapon.

  • Combi-Weapon: Relatively cheap and overall solid choice. Deep Striking 3 man Termicide squads with 3 Combi-Plasmas/Meltas can be a great diversionary tactic.
  • Power Weapon: Because dual-wielding Power weapons makes you look cool. Not much else besides unless you really care about being able to shoot things and Overwatch.
  • Lightning Claw: You want a lightning claw? If you do, take either another one or a power fist for your other hand. That way you don't have to strike at I1 with the fist if it is too risky, plus you pair Specialist weapons for an extra attack.
  • Power Fist: It's a power fist. If you want to, take a second fist for your other hand so you can live out your boxing match fantasies with Marneus Calgar. If not, make sure to take a claw with your fist.
  • Chain Fist It's a power fist that wrecks vehicles even harder. Take it if you like chainsaws and fisting things. Also a Specialist weapon so grab a lighting claw for your other hand.

Special Issue Wargear

These are for any of the units who say they can take wargear from this list. Usually just Chaos Lords and Sorcerers.

  • Jump Packs: Makes you jump Infantry. Group your Chaos Lord or Sorcerer with some Raptors and let him follow his dreams.
  • Blight Grenades: Diseased heads that counts as both assault and defensive grenades, they have lost the 8" Stealth rule but now they can cause Blind if the Roll to Hit succeeds! Between these and Fearless, Nurglite Chaos Lords are excellent for leading units of lesser troops. Plague Marines get these by default!
  • Melta Bombs: Melta Bombs, good for exploding things made of metal or flesh.
  • Sigil of Corruption: A 4++ save. This can be further improved with Mark Of Tzeentch to give a model a 3++ save, since we don't get Storm Shields. Dark Apostles get these as part of their starting wargear.
  • Chaos Bike: It's a bike. It comes with a twin-linked bolter. It gives you all those bike special rules like Jink. Make your Chaos Lord Doomrider or something. Arguably, the TL bolter you get with the bike counts as a weapon, so you can exchange it for something flashier (such as the Burning Brand). Just remember that you need to WYSIWYG it so you don't get punched in the face.

Marks of Chaos

Marks of Chaos have changed in the new codex and give everyone the same bonuses, with the added change of giving access to the corresponding god's psychic powers; their cost will also vary depending on said model/unit. Marks will also color a unit's access to some wargear.

  • Khorne: Bestows Rage and Counter-Attack. Daemon Princes of Khorne gain Furious Charge and Hatred (Slaanesh). Being the cheapest Mark (at least for most units), it's probably one of the least useful, because it only lasts on the charge and then you lose the bonuses in all subsequent rounds. It's somewhat powerful for the first round if you get the charge, and can help if you fuck up your positioning and get charged yourself. This is especially true of a mob of Cultists, who can get an absolutely rapetastic amount of attacks with this baby even if they get charged, instead of drowning some unlucky sod under piles of dead chaos-worshiping corpses come the assault phase. Not as good on actual space marines. Decent for units with power weapons such as Terminators, as an extra attack at S4 AP3 is vastly superior to one at S4 Ap-.
  • Nurgle: Bestows +1T and forces psykers to roll on Nurgle powers. Daemon Princes of Nurgle gain Shrouded, Slow and Purposeful and Hatred (Tzeentch). This is quite nice for most units, giving you a bit more protection from small-arms fire and largely eliminates the chance of Instant Death for multi-wound models (oblits & mutilators), and while it doesn't directly make your dudes as killy as the Mark of Khorne, it often negates some of the casualties they may have taken while footslogging accross the field and catching overwatch bolter fire.
  • Slaanesh: Bestows +1I and forces psykers to roll on Slaanesh powers. Daemon Princes of Slaneesh gain Fleet, Rending (only useful against vehicles, since they're already AP2 thanks to Smash), +3 inches to every run move, and Hatred (Khorne). Although +1I doesn't seem that great, it means that you'll be hitting before the Loyalist scum and thus won't take as many wounds back. Units Marked with Slaanesh now also grant Eldar the USR Hatred (Slaanesh), while at the same time forcing them to suffer a -1Ld penalty against Fear. Now, I know what you're saying, "But unless your Slaaneshi unit is composed of Daemons OR Raptors, they don't have Fear so Eldar wouldn't suffer from -1Ld fear penalty". That's why Telepathy exists. Both Chaos Marine Sorcs AND Slaanesh Daemons with access to psychic powers can roll on Telepathy. Get a 3 and all of a sudden your ENTIRE ARMY scares the panzy little space elfs. The nerf to Runes of Warding means that they can stall you for a turn, but in the end they'll just have to sit back and let it happen.
  • Tzeentch: This Mark is largely inadequate, for a few reasons. Firstly, it's usually at the upper end of price of all Marks. The only benefit is +1 to invulnerable save (which means a 6++ if the model doesn't already have one). Oh, and forced access to Tzeentch's Discipline, which is a mixed blessing at best. Importantly, giving this Mark to a Sorcerer does not upgrade his mastery level or let him take more psychic powers, so Mastery Level 1 Sorcerers are gonna be stuck with whatever power they rolled on Tzeentch's discipline - and the fact that the Tzeentch primaris is utter shyte does not aleviate matters. Now, the bonus to invulnerable save CAN certainly be nice IF you already have Terminator armour or a Sigil of Corruption, because it DOES stack with both of them, making Terminators, Obliterators and certain Lords more likely to not die when they are inevitably hit with plasma/grav/D weapons. Daemon Princes of Tzeentch have it slightly better, as they re-roll saves of 1 and gain Hatred (Nurgle), which is a fairly nice benefit (especially with the Traitor Legions artifacts they can now gain access to, for more information see Night Lords), but again, if he's gonna be a psyker, you're gonna have to take at least one Tzeentch power.

Icons of Chaos

Icons are now issued to an individual model in a unit, and provide the whole squad with specific benefits. As it's a flat cost per unit, icons are more points-efficient the more models there are in said unit. Note that squads with a specific mark are limited to taking icons respective to their mark. Also note that ALL icons also add an additional 1 to assault results.

  • Icon of Wrath: Limited to units with the Mark of Khorne, this Icon grants Furious Charge and allows the unit to re-roll charge distances. This makes the unit, essentially, a squad of mini-'Zerkers. If you're going to spend the points to give them the Mark of Khorne, you might as well go all the way and give them the Icon as well, especially since re-rolling charge distances is such great utility.
  • Icon of Flame: This Icon is limited to units with the Mark of Tzeentch, not that it matters, because you won't take it, because it gives Soulblaze to bolt weapons (and only bolt weapons) in the unit, and Soulblaze almost always sucks.
  • Icon of Despair: This Icon is only for units with the Mark of Nurgle, but again, it doesn't really matter, since it bestows Fear, which, in a game dominated by Space Marines who Know No Fear, isn't useful. If you know you're going up against an army like Imperial Guard that has low Leadership across the board, it might be worth it, but even then, Fear is still less than useful especially when you can run your guys as Crimson Slaughter and use the points on more useful upgrades.
  • Icon of Excess: Finally, an Icon that's unequivocally good! The Icon of Excess is only for units with the Mark of Slaanesh, which is a shame, since it grants Feel No Pain, thereby making units with the Icon nearly impossible to crack without a sustained effort. It's especially nice with Havocs and Noise Marines. However, beware of going too crazy with them (although that is the Slaaneshi way...), as it's by far the most expensive of the Icons.
    • Emperor's Children are going to want to pile on as many of these as you can stomach paying for. The FNP becomes a 4+ instead of a 5+, even outside of a Rapture Battalion, and a unit-wide coin flip is always a nice buffer for the wounds that get past your normal saves.
  • Icon of Vengeance: This last Icon doesn't have a Mark requirement, as it's generically Long War-themed. It grants Fearless, and that is a very, very good thing, as it compensates for the Chaos Marine lack of And They Shall Know No Fear, and it's economical on squads with more than 10 models (which is what Chaos excels at, after all).

Chaos Rewards

Chaos rewards are god-specific steeds, buffs and gimmicks. Reserved for certain models such as Chaos Lords and Sorcerers, whose entries specifically state what they can take from this list:

  • Ichor Blood: Any time the model with this fails to save a wound, the unit who inflicted the wound takes a S3 AP4 hit. Marginally useful against anything with T3 and shitty armour saves (if you remember that you bought this unuseful upgrade), but ultimately stupid. Phil Kelly apparently forgot he wasn't writing the Tyranid codex.
    • Alternate Take: If using a Slaaneshi character, if successful in rolling for FNP, you still get the hits from the blood; RAW the wound is unsaved, but discounted by FNP. If you have the 5 points to spare, and are running the Emperor's Children (see below), this might be worth it for a fluffy character.
  • Gift of Mutation: A free roll on the Boon Table before the game starts for 10 points. Ignore Prince and Spawn rolls. Not too bad, but can end up being a point sink that gives nothing in return. Would have been marginally better in a Chaos Warband, due to "buy one get one free" - except the Favored Sons rule quite explicitly only applies when killing enemy characters.
  • Aura of Dark Glory: A cheap 5++ save. Although nice, it's overshadowed by the Sigil of Corruption in Special Issue Wargear, which is slightly more expensive but gives you a 4++ save. However, it is recommended for the Warpsmith, who can't take Special Issue Wargear.
    • Note: Thousand Sons come with this standard, combined with the Mark of Tzeentch to give them a crunch-explained 4++ save.
    • In a Thousand Sons army where you're going for Blessing of Tzeentch every round this lets you save 10 points per character (as your MoT caps at 3++ anyway). Given that it's rare for your characters (including unit sergeants) to not be Psykers in the first place, rely on Blessing and save the points.
  • Combat Familiar: A little Daemon munchkin who fights with his master. Counts as being on the same base as the model it was bought for. Adds two S4 AP- attacks in Assault. Whoop-de-doo - looks like Phillipus forgot he was writing CSM and not Orks. Pass.
  • Spell Familiar: Lets you flat-out reroll failed Psychic tests. At 15 points, this is an auto-take for your Sorcerers. Curiously enough, any HQ can take this, though it would only matter if you're fooling around with Daemon Princes or the Scrolls of Magnus.

Then we have our Steeds. As before, the only models who can take a steed are Lords or Sorcerers without Terminator Armor. These really should have had their own separate section in the armoury...

  • Juggernaut of Khorne: Excellent choice if you don't want your head honcho to be a Terminator Lord. The Juggernaut gives +1T, +1 Wound, and +1 Attack AND the model becomes cavalry. Give the Lord any of those new crazy new daemon weapons and bring glorious slaughter to your enemies in the name of Khorne.
  • Disc of Tzeentch: Basically a Jetbike that grants your HQ an extra melee attack. At 10 points more than a regular Bike, and lacking the twin-linked Bolters they normally get, you better have a good reason to use this. The real issue with the Disc of Tzeentch is there really isn't a good unit to join a character to, that it can fully take advantage of the extra Jetbike rules. You "could" make the case for using the Disc for a "Gunship" Sorcerer but Daemon Allies do that better.
  • Palanquin of Nurgle: +2 Wounds, +1 attack and you become Very Bulky. The problem with this upgrade is that your character does not gain any movement bonuses from it, and it requires the Mark of Nurgle, effectively making this combo a 60-point investment base. There are a few edge-cases to argue for taking this mount though; the first one is if you're trying to build a deathstar (why?) with Chaos, as a Lord with this and some source of Eternal Warrior would be admittedly tough to kill. The second case would be if you want to experiment with Daemonology; since Perils of the Warp has a 66% chance of outright wounding a Psyker with no defense whatsoever, and so doubling the wounds of your Sorcerer is one potential workaround.
  • Steed of Slaanesh: More special rules than the rest of the steeds. This one gives you +1 attack & Acute Senses, lets you move an extra 3", you become Cavalry and you and the unit you join gain Outflank. If you're running an infantry-heavy Chaos build, and were planning to take a Sorcerer anyway, this may be useful for a late-game Objective grab.

Artefacts of Chaos

This is where you find your Daemon weapons and other cool Chaos-y stuff. You're only allowed one of each per army. The Axe of Blind Fury and Black Mace are Daemon weapons, which just like before, add +D6 attacks, but a roll of 1 automatically wounds the model with no armor or cover saves (although you can still take Invulnerable saves) and reduces him to WS1 for one fighting sub-phase. Note that these weapons are not restricted to just Chaos Lords - any model that can take wargear from the Artefacts of Chaos list has access. Also keep in mind that a model who ascends to Daemonhood loses all wargear and rules, so if you take one of these and ascend during the game you don't get to keep your toy.

Among your chief weapons are:

  • The Murder Sword: Take a Power Sword. Make it cost twice as much, and make it cost an extra 5 on top of that. In exchange, you get to nominate **one** enemy character, and while you're in base-to-base contact with that character (presumably due to a Challenge), it becomes double-strength, AP 1, and causes Instant Death. The problem with this one is simple: It requires too many variables to go off for it to work as planned, the really powerful characters out there tend to have some form of Eternal Warrior, and for 5 points more, you can run the "Power Fist/Lightning Claw" combo, granting your Champion far more versatility and more deadliness against a far wider variety of targets.
  • The Black Mace: The Black Mace is a Daemon Weapon with Fleshbane, AP4, and a nifty special rule: Cursed: When it causes an unsaved wound, the model who took it must immediately make a Toughness test (6s automatically fail) or be Removed From Play. No ifs, ands, or buts. Not only that, at the end of any phase where the weapon has caused at least one wound, all non-vehicle enemy models nearby the Mace must also take a Toughness Test or take a wound with no saves of any kind allowed. If you're looking for a monster-killer, or a way to mulch through tarpits, this is up there, and if you can get Enfeeble (or run a Prince with Grotti The Nurgling) nearby, this thing goes from "scary" to having the effect of a localized black hole...assuming the Prince survives any retaliatory attacks that is. Alas, it does not benefit from Vector Strike.
  • Axe of Blind Fury: Reserved for those with Mark of Khorne. Adds +2 Strength at AP2 and gives the Rage USR (even though Mark of Khorne already gave you Rage, Daemon Princes of Khorne will benefit from it). Really nice, but it lowers your WS and BS by 1 which is a bit of a bummer. Still, A Chaos Lord or Apostle with this can go nuts. Thanks to the latest FAQ, Daemon Princes of Khorne can take the Axe of Blind Fury.
  • Burning Brand of Skalathrax: This is the very Flamer that Kharn himself used to fragment the World Eaters from a unified force to numerous fragmented warbands in the Skalathrax Incident. It's basically an AP 3 Torrent flamer with Soul Blaze. The Soul Blaze is mediocre, but Torrent and AP 3 take this artifact over the top. A really nice artifact. Whether you use it for a Daemon Prince to act as a pseudo-Heldrake (Vector Strike an enemy, burn another enemy), you use it to make a "tax HQ" more dangerous (if you just want to pop a Lord in a Rhino, this is a good way to make him a contributing fighter), or you want to toss it in a Terminator Annihilation Force so you can "double-tap" it on the way down, this is a really nice artifact for its cost.
Range S AP Type
Torrent 4 3 Assault 1, Soul Blaze, Template, Torrent
  • Scrolls of Magnus: Big scroll of spells reserved for the mortal followers of Tzeentch (alas, a Prince cannot take it), so put on your robe and wizard hat. At the start of every turn, your character may elect to take a S3 AP 1 hit to roll for a random power; you roll one die to see which discipline you roll on (Pyromancy, Biomancy, Telepathy, Tzeentch, Telekinesis, or Divination), and you roll another die to see what power you actually get. If the bearer of the Scrolls of Magnus was not already a Psyker when generating a power, the character becomes an ML 1 Psyker, so you can have a spell-slinging fighting Lord. If you roll a power you already have, reroll.
    • The Bad: Cool though it may seem, this actually has some pretty big downsides. The first is the point cost. For the cost of taking the Mark of Tzeentch and the Scroll of Magnus on a model, you could buy another Sorcerer altogether! You can't take Primaris powers, though if you roll for only one non-Tzeentchian Power, then you'll have it from Psychic Focus (sigh, and the Chaos Psychic Focus for Tzeentch, not that anyone cares for it); admittedly, Biomancy's Smite can be nice when your Lord is BS 5, and Psychic Shriek/Prescience never go unwelcome. The whole process is totally random: you won't necessarily get a spell that's useful to you, but you won't know until after you take the hit. Which brings us to the really big downside: every time you roll on the table, including re-rolls, the model takes a S3 AP1 hit. Plus even if you know a lot of different powers, you'll only be able to cast one per turn anyway due to your limited Mastery Level.
    • So Why Take This - If you want to add "another Psyker" to any formation with a mandatory Chaos HQ, this gives you another option. While you can run a Cabal if you want multiple Sorcerers or use Daemon allies, this lets a formation's Dark Apostle "do something" besides provide passive auras, while a Disc Lord of Tzeentch is pricey but effectively a mini-monster in his own right. If you're running the Mark of Tzeentch anyway (to turn a Sigil of Corruption into a "Hands-free" Stormshield, or for tougher Terminator armor), you can justify 25 of the points for the Scroll as "an extra Warp Charge", with 20 points accounting for the luxury of an unorthodox Psyker vector, and the ability to learn multiple powers throughout the game. Note that if you give this to a Disc Lord, his T5 and (likely) 3++ make taking a wound from the power generation quite unlikely.
  • Dimensional Key: The Dimensional Key activates after its holder kills a model in close combat. From that point onward, any enemy model that starts any phase within 12" of the holder treats all Terrain as both Difficult and Dangerous terrain for the duration of that phase. On top of that, all friendly Codex: Chaos Space Marine units that Deep Strike (anywhere, not just within 12" of the bearer) don't scatter for the rest of the game.
    • Analysis: A cute item with a flawed implementation. The problem with it is that unless you're fighting an army that wants to assault you, or one is extremely lucky, you can expect to reach Assault by turn 2 at the earliest. This wouldn't seem too bad, until one remembers that reserves start to arrive at the beginning of turn 2 on a 3+. This means that generally, 2/3rds of your reserves will have already arrived by the time you activate it. Those remaining units will certainly arrive safely, but it's difficult to justify 25 points on a wargear option that affects, in the vast majority of cases, two units at best, chosen randomly.
      • NOTE: With traitor Legions, turn 1 assaults are now quite viable between the World Eaters bonus move/talisman and/or a Black Legion Raptor talon assaulting from deepstrike turn 1.
    • Making the Key Work: Let's suppose you do have your heart set on trying this toy out and aren't playing the Black Legion. How do you make the most out of it despite its flawed design? One possibility is to consider the Deep Strike a "nice-to-have" bonus rather than integral to your battleplans. To a certain extent, the Key lets your unit march into the open, and delay "countercharges" to some degree. A -2 to charge distance can make the difference between your opponent getting the charge or just standing there in the open waiting to be charged. If you really want to get that Deep Strike Bonus, Soulswitch or Worldwrithe both give you the option for Turn 1 assaults, should you roll it; the problem remains relying on excessive luck on generating Psychic Powers. Should you be running fortifications anyway, the Comms Relay lets you reroll reserves, both failed and successful, should you really wish to play with your guys off-table for more turns than normal. One final edge-case is that the rules as written state "units that arrive from Deep Strike" and Gate of Infinity also states you "arrive by Deep Strike." Chaos lacks Hit and Run or other ways to truly disengage, but this "could" give you the edge if you were trying to create an Obliterator analogue of the more infamous Centstar...one without Grav, mind you.
    • In apocalypse: When you have the ability to choose when your reserves come in, this really gains some traction.

Overall: The core Chaos Relics are generally focused on hitting your opponent harder. You'll notice no defensive wargear in here. Of them, the Axe of Blind Fury and the Black Mace are both dangerously powerful (the latter more so on a Daemon Prince or a Sorcerer that rolls Iron Arm), and the Burning Brand is "boring-yet-practical" at what it does. The Murdersword is too situational and expensive to take advantage of, and the Dimensional Key would be awesome if it was easier to trigger, but is relegated to the realm of "gimmick" otherwise. The Scrolls of Magnus are an expensive gimmick but "can" be used if you want to turn a mandatory HQ into a "backup caster".

Vehicle Equipment

Huh. Looks like everybody else forgot these existed. In any case, there's some pretty interesting stuff in here worth a look.

  • Combi-Bolter: No, seriously, I promise, there's interesting stuff in here. The vehicle combi-bolter is the same as the one in the Ranged Weapons section, giving you a little bit more fire. Not super-useful, but it's only five points. It also protects your actual guns from "weapon destroyed" results since now it is randomly rolled instead of chosen by the opponent - so if your big spiky Vindicator gets penetrated you have a 4+ save against Demolisher cannon removal for only 5 pts.
  • Dirge Caster: Funny, if nothing else. Enemy units within 6" can't Overwatch. This can be usable in some cases (Land Raiders, Helbrutes, and Maulerfiends), but you can mitigate Overwatch without having to explicitly shut down your opponent's movement. There are some fringe cases where it can be useful (shutting down Supporting Fire or "Wall of Death", or "Reckless Abandon" if you're fighting a Corsair player), but you *are* driving your vehicles point-blank so be prepared!
  • Dozer Blade: The Dozer Blade lets you reroll failed Dangerous Terrain tests, changing the odds of your vehicle becoming immobile battlefield terrain from 1/6 to 1/36, and makes your Rhinos deadlier when ramming stuff. For such a cheap price, it's worth taking if you find yourself driving through terrain on a regular basis. Since you don't get Drop Pods, and want your Marines to get from Point A to Point B, consider this a near auto-take for your Rhinos.
  • Warpflame Gargoyles: Soul Blaze. Pass.
  • Combi-weapons: You can take a combi-flamer, -melta, or -plasma. Well, you can, but it probably won't be all that useful.
    • Second Opinion: Actually, one of the things that keeps Sisters competitive is Melta weapons on cheap, plentiful transports, so combi-meltas on Rhinos might be worth it. Sure, we don't get multi-meltas, but we also get more than 15 options and plastic models, so it's a trade off.
  • Extra Armour: Vehicles with this count Crew Stunned as Crew Shaken when rolling on the Vehicle Damage table. Useful for a Land Raider (which itself is arguably not that useful), but for most other units, they'll die from HP depletion before this effect takes place, or they're effectively useless if Shaken anyway.
  • Havoc Launcher: One of our more unique pieces of equipment, this is basically a frag missile launcher with 1 better S and AP. It's also twin-linked and only 12 points. It's very nice to stick on your Rhinos to add to fire power against GEQs. Putting it on other tanks can also help protect their more relevant guns. You too can rain fiery hell down upon your opponents!
  • Destroyer Blades: Tank Shocking troops is nice right? Why not add some blades that do d6 s5 hits? Oh, they're gonna Death or Glory? Well take 2d6 S5 hits fools. The only problem is the price; on regular Rhinos, it almost increases their cost by 50%, while not making them any harder to kill, while your heavier vehicles generally want to be sitting back and shooting stuff.
  • Daemonic Possession: Handy if your vehicle relies on blasts or templates to kill stuff. This means a Vindicator. Otherwise, it's mostly a pass: first off, it lowers your BS to 3, which is still okay, but not great. Secondly, on any transport vehicles, it has a chance of nomming a random member of a transported squad without any saves of any kind possible. On the other hand, it regains a Hull Point, which is nice. It can also ignore Shaken and Stunned results (although the riders don't). It might work, but there's always a chance it will up and kill a member of your expensive Terminator squad. On the other hand, Cultists becoming hull point sacrifices is somewhat of a possibility.
  • Malefic Ammo (Forge World): Only available to Infernal Relic vehicles, it grants Rending for Heavy Bolters, unless otherwise specified. It is, however, ludicrously expensive on the vast majority of models (30 pts on a relic pred, 40 on a sicaran!). Generally not worth your time, unfortunately.

Legacies of Ruin (Forge World)

A special purchase, this gives one vehicle per thousand points some special properties to indicate that it took part in either a special battle or has some one-of-a-kind customization done to it. Daemon Engines and Vehicles with Daemonic Possession/Daemonic Resilience can't grab it, which is a bloody shame, cause most of those would have been hilarious on a mauler or defiler. As it is, most of them are situational at best, and the others are downright unusable. Each legacy can only be purchased once per army, and several of them come with certain different prices based on whether or not it's a tank or a walker or if it's superheavy.

  • Veteran of the Scouring: Tanks grab IWND and Preferred Enemy (Marines). Walkers grab IWND and Hatred (Marines). Both are pretty neat, though tanks grab the better bit. Quite good on Titans, as it basically give your Titan the Titan of Nurgle bonus, for cheaper, and leaves you free to snag one of the other upgrades.
  • War Within the Eye: They all get AW and Preferred Enemy (Chaos Marines). Pretty cheap and a decent way to deny some targeted witchfires.
  • Maelstrom Raider: All vehicles gain Outflank and Fear. It does sound pretty cool to outflank that Predator and make some surprising smashes or give some Land Raider a safer way to deliver its murderous payload.
  • Death of Kasyr Lutien: Gives vehicles Fear. In addition, if a is within 12" and using casting a Malefic power, they can re-roll one d6 per hull left on the vehicle. However, if the test still fails, the vehicle has to take a pen. For the point-cost, this is an incredible benefit if you're taking Daemon allies.
  • Blood of Mackan: Tanks gain Preferred Enemy (Blood Angels) and ignores all defense lines and barricades. In addition, if the tank gains Destroyer Blades, the damage it deals after tank shock and death-or-glory will have an AP equal to its current HP. Makes them a very vicious suicide unit.
  • Siege of Vraks: Enables a vehicle to ignore damage from Dangerous Terrain on a 4+ and can re-roll to-hit on targets in defense lines. Pretty cheap, so it's worth a grab against some Aegis-exploiting Tau or Guardsmen.
  • Fourth Quadrant Rebellion: Supports Cultists within 12" by giving them Fearless and gains a 4++ invul when it has 1 HP left. Fearless Cultists sounds nice, but you can just use the Helcult formation for cheaper.
  • Badab Uprising: Tanks and superheavies gain Fear and Preferred Enemy (Marines) while non-SH Walkers gain Rage and Hatred (Chaos Marines). Walkers tend to benefit off it more.
  • Scourge of the Greenskin: Tanks get +d6" movement for Tank Shocks and get Preferred Enemy (Orks). It's definitely going to need some scrapers to clean off the copious amounts of Ork stuck in the treads.
  • Last of the Forge: The transport gains Preferred Enemy (Nids) and can ignore Stunned/Shaken on a 4+ while the troops inside get Hatred (Nids). It's a pretty decent way to keep it moving even without Nids as an enemy, but that's it.
  • Screams of Lugganath: Grants vehicles Fear against Eldar (Very flimsy), but the awesome part is the boosting of Dirge Casters to 12" range. That's a save for anything that's gotta get in deep.
  • Perdus Rift Anomaly: Gives the vehicle Preferred Enemy (Tau), but also gives you a re-roll for the seize/forces the other guy to re-roll the seize. The PE bonus versus Tau is cute, but the extra shot at Seize the Initiative or the insurance against it can help win a game by itself. If you're using Legacies, this is a really good one.
  • First War of Armageddon: Gives Fear against IG and improves Daemon Saves for Khorne Daemons by +1, which makes them a whole lot more survivable.
  • All of the following legacies also give Daemonic Possession and Fear:
    • Vessel of Akashneth of the Boiling brass: Every unit with an Icon of Wrath within 12" gets +d3 to combat resolution.
    • Vessel of Shyak the seeker: Every unit with an Icon of Excess within 12" rolls an additional d6 for LD and takes the lowest 2.
    • Vessel of Tzenahk the Occluder: Roll a d6 at the start of the game; on a 1 the enemy gains +1 VP if it's destroyed, 2+ grants +d3 VP to you if it survives.
    • Vessel of Dhornurgh the reborn: Every unit with an Icon of Despair within 12" gains Gets Hot! and Rending in Close Combat only. Best suited for Plague Marines who already have Plague Knives, and their armor and Feel No Pain can compensate for Gets Hot!
    • Vessel of Auloth the Primordial Iterator: Every unit with an Icon of Wrath (read below) within 12" gains Fear and Feel no Pain. It's hella pricy, but these are some pretty nice upgrades. This one also happens to give the vehicle pinning on all of it's weapons. Slap it on a fire raptor and pin the world.
      • IMPORTANT NOTE: Though it is officially written as applying to Icons of Wrath, it is actually Icon of Vengeance. Forge World has confirmed via email that it was a typo.

Psychic Powers

Marked sorcerers and DP's can and actually MUST take some god-specific powers. Do note, that unless your Psyker is in a Legion Detachment, you cannot roll more than half of the powers from god's chart, so no all-Tzeentch dakka chart for your Arhiman or all-Slaanesh rape chart for level 3 cocaine sorcerer. On the bright side you get a free Primaris from your god discipline, despite generating some powers from other disciplines. You still have to generate a power or two from your god's table though, so you lose access to the Focus of another discipline. Traitor Legions updates these god-specific Lores to have 6 powers plus primaris instead of 3 plus primaris, and adds rules for Ectomancy, Geomortis, Heretech and Sinistrum; you can find the rules for these latter 4 in Traitor's Hate, but as usual, Legions gives so much more for your buck.

Tzeentch

  • Primaris: Tzeentch's Firestorm: The problem with this Primaris is that it's too random for its own good. As a small blast, it remains an inaccurate weapon, while its randomized strength means it only takes one bad roll for this bad-boy to end up wounding Guardsmen on 5+. There's some cutesy special rule where each model killed by this attack inflicts D3 lasgun hits on the unit...but the odds of that mattering are near-nil. That said, it is somewhat decent for spending your last warp charge or two. Bit of luck, this might burn a big swathe through a blob unit.
  • 1: Boon of Mutation: This power is also pretty bad. A character within 2" of the caster (read: most likely in the same unit, or the Psyker himself) takes a S4, AP- hit, and, if he survives, he gets a roll on the Chaos Boon table. When doing so, he re-rolls Dark Apotheosis, but not Spaw-- er, gribbly-tentacle-thing-dom. Granted, sometimes it's worth getting a fleshy thing-that-must-not-be-named; a Combi-Melta Champion that has already fired would be a notable example. If you're running the Chaos Warband with Favored Scions, this "could" be a usable power if cast early-on because you now have the potential to "double-buff" target characters or negate unintentional transformations, but you generally want to focus more on higher-priority powers. Even moreso than with normal powers, you will want your Psyker to be able to have a good "move instead of fire" ability, be it Turbo or Swooping.
    • Silly Observation: Boon of Mutation can target *any* friendly character. Even those without Champion of Chaos. Although you are Battle Brothers only with Daemons (and Renegades & Heretics if playing Forgeworld), this does allow for silly rules-breaking quandaries like Bloodthirsters with 2+ rerollable armor. Are you feeling lucky, punk? Be careful with this though. You could potentially have a lot of psykers pouring all their warp-charges into buffing a Daemon into some nigh-unkillable fuck, but one unlucky roll and you can have all your luck reversed if he's turned into that which shall not be named.
    • Silly Observation part 2: In the last Black Crusade Campaign Book, the Helforged Warpack allows one of your warmachines to become a character-type unit with a 4++, thus allowing you to stab him in the back for a sweet upgrade. Why would you want to make a Maulerfiend/Forgefiend/Helbrute/Defiler more killy than they already are ? I don't know ! But who knows, you might end up with an 3++ invul on your Helbrute or Instant Death on your Forgefiend. Again, "Are you feeling lucky" ?
    • MathHammer: One Str 4, AP nothing hit will wound (and be unsaved by) a lowly chaos Champion 1/6th of the time. 1/12th if a Terminator, Biker, or rocking the Mark of Nurgle, 1/18th if you've got T5, 2+ (Nurgle-termie) or T 6 3+ (Nurgle Bike). How useful are the boons? Well, you have a 1/6 chance of getting nothing. However, a solid 2/3rds (minimum) of the table are helpful. Absolute worst case, 1/6 chance to die, 2/3 chance to improve? Sounds like the odds aren't that bad. I'm just saying this isn't NEARLY as bad as some people want to make it out to be.
  • 2: DOOMBOLT: DOOMBOLT. If you are rolling for Tzeentchian Powers, Doombolt is the power you want. Simply put, it's an 18" S8, AP1, Beam that makes vehicle explosions even explodier. It has good range, and unlike comparable powers, you only need one Warp Charge for it to succeed. Yes, DOOMBOLT is awesome, and yes, you do most definitely want it.
  • 3: Siphon Magic: WC1 Blessing on the Psyker. Finally a Tzeentch power rewarding psyker lists! For the remainder of that Psychic Phase, every time a friendly Psyker manifests a psychic power within 18", the caster of Siphon Magic gets an extra die; the Psyker in question may spend those dice as bonus Warp Charge. Bring horrors and laugh. This power's utility basically depends on the caster's mastery level. For a sorcerer with a high mastery level, it is a huge benefit, being able to cast multiple other pricier powers while letting the other psykers in the army also use theirs. However, for a sorcerer with only ML1, it is completely and utterly useless, as they only get to cast one power per psychic phase anyway, including this one: the Grand Coven army list prevents this, but even then, the only powers left to a ML1 Tzeentch sorcerer who rolled this are the primaris power and Force; the Primaris is not particularly good, and if you really want your Sorcerer to cast Force to trigger Blessing of Tzeentch, chances are you will do that first rather than burning Warp Charge on this power instead!
    • Jury is Out: Due to amusing RAW, it may be possible to use this power to store dice over multiple turns. This is based on the fact that while the Psyker can spend the dice as "bonus Warp Charge" they're not technically Warp Charge, and the blessing's only effect is to allow you to accrue such dice in the first place. Discuss this with your opponents beforehand, but in practice this shouldn't be a gamebreaker, especially if you end up rolling this power for a ML 1 Aspiring Sorcerer who would otherwise have no reason to ever attempt to manifest this power.
      • It is very unlikely that extra charges can be "saved for later", since most blessings last until your next Psychic phase and there is no reason why this one is different.
        • You would be able to use them to Deny stuff in the opponent's turn, though...
        • The above argument about durations is incorrect; there are many blessings and maledictions with effects that linger past the caster's next Psychic phase; to pick an obvious example, Gate of Infinity does not demand that you move the unit back when the power ends, and Hallucination can cause Wounds, which of course do not heal when the power ends. The power is definitely necessary to collect the dice, so when your next Psychic Phase begins it wears off and you can't collect more until you get the power back, but the original argument stands: that the collected dice are permanent, like inflicted wounds are, and neither storing the dice nor spending the dice depends on the power being "up", since neither relevant rules sentence mentions it.
  • 4: Breath of Chaos: This power costs 2 Warp Charges, and is a 4+ Poisoned AP2 flamethrower that glances vehicles on a 4+. This is a nice one to have, but it's not DOOMBOLT. What kills this one is the cost. It is actually very powerful, able to turn a unit of TEQs into sludge, but since Doombolt only costs half as much...
  • 5: Baleful Devolution: WC2, S6 AP2 Assault D6 focused witchfire. On a 6 it causes Instant Death and turns removed models into a Chaos SpaBLAGRHBASDFAHhh. Despite it being a Focused Witchfire, this power is probably better for sniping Monstrous Creatures, especially those without Invulnerable Saves. Every 6 shaves off an extra D3 wounds from a Wraithknight while denying Feel No Pain, or outright turns a Tyranid MC into...one of those things. To a lesser degree, S6 is S6 and you "could" use this power to strip some HP off, though rolling on Heretech will be a better deal if you want to do that. The high base WC cost means using it to intentionally snipe enemy models from squads suffers from the same issues the Maleceptor has! Normally, Psychic Shriek is a better "all-around" power to have, though this power does at least have some other uses.
    • The word "models" is used instead of "model" in the power description, which means yes, if you manage to roll a bunch of 6's while hitting an infantry squad you will end up with a LOT of...those things.
  • 6: Treason of Tzeentch: WC3 24" Malediction. Immediately make a shooting attack with the unit as if it's a friendly unit. They don't count as having moved, and must test Pinning afterward. Time for mind control battles with GSC, HELL YEAH! Note, while this power costs one more WC than the equivalent GSC power Mind Control, this one can affect an entire unit rather than just a single model; see that unit of Grav-Cannon Devastators? You know you want to shoot with them...
  • Gaze of Magnus: No model can generate it but it's in this discipline for some reason anyway and only Magnus knows it. 18" Destroyer beam with AP1 and Soul Blaze. You can pop TEQ formations, whole squadrons and Tyranid MC herds. The downside? It is Warp Charge 5 power... but this is discounted since Magnus harnesses WC on 2+. You will want to spend about 10 dice or more but only if you are very, very, VERY afraid that someone will deny it (GK Librarian with Nemesis ward stave says "Hey, what's going on?") or if you couldn't deny Psychic Scourge (but this won't happen since MagiMagnus denies on 3+). The Destroyer table is still random yet, and you may take 1 or 2 HP off from half of hit Land Raiders and the rest will be still unharmed but Magnus has a set of cheaper anti-tank powers to fix this or use instead, and you may ally with Kairos to turn miserable 1s to unstoppable 6s.

Summary: Originally the worst god-specific discipline, it still remains debatable if it was upgraded. On one hand, the lore has two awesome powers in Doombolt and Treason of Tzeentch, and Baleful Devolution can be funny if nothing else a wonderful MC killer. On the other hand, there's the rest of the Discipline. Tzeentch's Firestorm remains one of the THE worst Primaris Powers in the game, Gift of Mutation is generally not worth casting, and Siphon Magic is never worth casting on an ML1 Sorcerer without some debatable reading into the RAW. This leaves a ML1 sorcerer with a 1 in 3 chance of rolling a useless power, a 1 in 3 chance of rolling a situationally usable power, and a 1 in 3 chance of rolling a good one. For a higher-level sorcerer, this becomes a 1 in 2 chance for a good power since Siphon Magic would actually work then, or a 2 in 3 with the movement to use Breath of Chaos. More than anything, this Lore is for those that wish to field Magnus or Ahriman, where their higher Mastery Levels (or auto-knowing powers in the case of Magnus) and improved mobility make them a lot scarier. A Daemon Prince can also make good use of this discipline, especially in any of the 3 Legions with access to a 2+ Armor Save relic...

Nurgle

  • Primaris: Nurgle's Rot: Like with Tzeentch Primaris, it's full of random and FUN. Every enemy unit within 6", except Nurgle-aligned units, take D6+1 number of hits with 4+ poisoned and AP5. Depending on your rolls and number of nearby squads it could kill dozens of Guardsmen or Orks, or deal a single wound on space marine, which would be armor saved. Remember that if you're within range of just one enemy model from, say, 2 different squads, both of them are hit with that D6+1!
  • 1: Weapon Virus: Curse that adds "Gets Hot" to all weapons in targeted unit. Awesome on vehicles and flyers that have weapons that pour out a lot of shots. Guardsmen, Shoota Boyz, Cultist and Kroot blobs would hate your guts. MEQ's and TEQ's wouldn't even be bothered by this, however the one time they roll that 1 for their armour save...
    • Consider casting this on enemy vehicles with blast weapons. Rolling a 1 stops blast/template weapons from firing. Also, knights armed with gatling guns will shit their oversized metallic pants.
  • 2: Fleshy Abundance: WC1 Blessing targeting a friendly model within 14". They immediately regain D3 wounds. Useful for regaining wounds lost to Perils. Also wonderful on a Daemon Prince leading a Favoured of Chaos formation, since he has a huge flashing neon arrow pointing at him. With a steady stream of this power, he can tank untold amounts of hurt.
  • 3: Blades of Putrifaction: WC1 Blessing. Close combat weapons gain Poisoned, and if they already have the poison rule they become Poisoned (2+).
    • This power is amazing on a wide variety of units. Even Cultists with this power up can become a threat to enemy units, simply by drowning their opponent in weight of armor save, while higher-strength units can benefit from re-rolling to wound. You know what also increases strength? Curse of the leper. Sadly it does little versus Gargantuan Creatures and nothing versus vehicles.
      • Not so fast! The aforementioned blob of Cultists with this power on can still wound GCs on 6+, which with their massive amount of bodies and thus attacks, could well be enough.
  • 4: Gift of Contagion: The longest range curse in the game with a whopping 48" range. Roll a d3; on a 1 the target gets -1 A and Shrouded, on a 2 -1 S and cannot run, on a 3 -1 S and T. Note that this power explicitly states that it can stack on itself, despite the normal rules for multiple Witchfires/Maledictions not stacking. Basically, all of these make the enemy unit worse in melee, so cast, then charge.
  • 5: Plague Wind: Double warp-charge poisoned AP2 spell, now in form of large blast, rather than flamer template. It could kill more things than Breath, but it can harmlessly scatter away, and even on one of your own squads (if not with the same Mark). The only real problem with it is that Daemons get it for one warp charge.
  • 6: Curse of the Leper: Unlike the other powers, Curse can either be cast as a Blessing or Malediction. If cast on a Friendly unit, they gain +1S and +1T; on an enemy, -1S and -1 T. Whether it's S5 T6 Obliterators, or lowering the Strength of a unit of Genestealer Hybrids before you charge them with a Walker, this is an incredibly flexible power. What makes it even scarier is that it can stack with Enfeeble or other Toughness-lowering effects. Ally in a Daemon Prince with Grotti the Nurgling for added hilarity, and you could conceivably one-shot said Riptide with a Lascannon!

Summary: Originally merely "passable", Traitor Legions has arguably made this one of the best support disciplines in the game. With 2 Blessings, 2 Maledictions, and a power that function as either a Blessing or Malediction, you don't take Nurgle to blast your opponent to smithereens (though Plague Wind can do a respectable job softening up the opposition) so much as to selectively influence positional advantages in-game. Combined with the fact that the Mark of Nurgle also lets a Sorcerer take a Palanquin, and you can get a potent all-around caster for a surprisingly reasonable cost.

Slaanesh

  • Primaris: Sensory Overload: This is a fairly non-random primaris with the ability to annoy if not outright cripple an enemy unit of choice each turn. By itself, it's a 24" S4, AP 4, Assault 4 shot, but with Blind, Concussive, and Pinning. At worst, you force a Blind Check on a single enemy unit of choice, since you only have to hit in order for it to go off. Against armies known for low Initiative (Orks and Necrons most notably), this can outright cripple a unit of choice, while the other effects require actually landing wounds for it to matter. Concussive would stack with the Blind Check if you somehow managed to wound a solo multi-wound model, while Pinning can annoy weaker squads. Really though, this is for the Blind Check.
  • 1: Hysterical Frenzy: This is a fairly random buff, with the potential to be either mediocre or outright scary. You select a friendly non-vehicle unit within 12", and roll a D3 to see what buff they receive. On a 1, the unit receives an extra point of Initiative. On a 2, an extra point of Strength and on a 3, an extra attack. Could be hilarious on a prince with the drug relic.
  • 2: Delightful Agonies: WC1 Blessing that targets a friendly unit within 12". Gives squad Feel No Pain (4+). Somewhat redundant in the Emperor's Children detachment, but great for any unit that can't take an Icon of Excess. Endurance on the Biomancy table is better, but you're more likely to roll this if you go all in on Slaanesh powers.
  • 3: Symphony of Pain: This is another fairly useful spell. it curses an enemy squad with -1 BS an WS, but also increases the strength of all sonic weapon hits against them by 1. The power is explicitly stated to be cumulative, so you could hypothetically further debuff the enemy and buff Noise Marines.
  • 4: Sonic Shockwave: WC1. S5 AP4 9" Nova Assault D6, pinning, ignores cover.
  • 5: Aural Onslaught: WC2 beam at S8 AP2 Assault 1, and before you roll to wound any enemy unit targeted must pass a Leadership test or if they fail you re-roll to wound.
  • 6: Apoplectic Glee: AKA "Ecstatic Seizures" or "Long range Trazyn". Point at non-vehicle squad, cast, and watch as every model takes a hit at their base strength. Two warp charges, but certainly worth it watching Orks, Guardsmen, Tau, and Nids delete themselves for you. Ignores Cover as well, so kill some cover camping gribblies!

Summary: Originally the best of a bad bunch, Slaanesh still remains fairly unfocused, with a mix of powers for different occasions. One witchfire punishes MSU, another punishes blobs, another hurts hard targets, and another hits a unit with an array of debuffs. This leaves a blessing that randomly ups offensive output, one that adds defense, and a minor Malediction. The problem is that you can't really bank on getting that one power you want, so you're going to need mobility to make the most of this Lore. A Bike Sorcerer remains useful as ever, especially if you want to run more Bikes (and hopefully an Icon of Excess for extra protection). A Prince is an option, though you should ideally take the Intoxicating Elixir and hope for extra Toughness. Either way, this discipline is a bit of a crapshoot but has the tools to handle most threats.

Ectomancy

  • Primaris - Warp Shock: WC1 Witchfire with Range 18", S5 AP 4, Assault 6. This is an alright "1 Warp Charge leftover" primaris to have. Although it's not Psychic Shriek, it's still usable.
  • 1 - Empyric Shield: WC1 Blessing that gives the Psyker a 3+ Invulnerable save. A Daemon Prince in a Thousand Sons detachment that gets this power can engage trollface, as this would stack with Blessing of Tzeentch for a 2+ rerollable Invulnerable Save. Yeah, you wish you can roll this power.
  • 2 - Daemon Shriek: WC1 Witchfire Nova. All units within 9" suffer 1 S1 AP- Haywire hit.
  • 3 - Coruscating Blaze: - WC2 Witchfire at S5 AP4 Assault D6, and if you roll a 4 for each enemy unit in 6" of the targeted unit, they also suffer D6 S5 AP4 hits. It's literally the same as Lightning arc from the Loyalist Fulmination discipline.
  • 4 - Infernal Claws: WC1 Blessing that targets the Psyker. Gains +1 Attacks and Strength, and for every hit he lands, he gains 2 extra hits at S5 AP-. Any hits count, be it Hammer of Wrath, attacks from Combat Familiars, or even those from Icy Aura. It's worth considering to gear up for this on psykers that plan to roll all their powers in ectomancy. Especially if it's a prince, since smash applies to make all these additional attacks AP2. The real edge-case combo (if you luck out, that is) goes to Crimson Slaughter that manage to roll the "Spectral Assailants." Basically, since every model in base-to-base of your Warlord takes d6 automatic Strength 3 hits, those would trigger the extra hits from Infernal Claws. Let us suppose that your Lord gets in a fight, mulches a few guys, and they proceed to pile in. Let us suppose you're facing a small Guard blob or Ork mob (they wound you on 6s), maybe 5 or so models in base-to-base. At the start of the next close combat phase you're in, that blob would take 5d6 Strength 3 hits (so an average of 17.5 hits), which would result in an average of 35 additional Strength 5 hits on the enemy unit! An Alpha Legion Daemon Prince with the Blade of the Hydra is also an excellent dice-bucket generator.
  • 5 - Ghost Storm: WC2 Blessing which targets an unengaged non-flying vehicle or unit in 18". That unit may immediately make an additional 18" move, ignoring all intervening terrain and models, effectively making the unit do a free "Interceptor Shunt". The unit "counts as moving" for that turn and cannot charge.
  • 6 - Soulswitch: WC2 Blessing that targets a non-vehicle unit within 24", even ones locked in combat. The Psyker's unit and the affected unit swap places. If either unit was Zooming (meaning either that you cast the power on a Daemon Prince, or the Daemon Prince did the casting), said units switch to Gliding, and if either unit was engaged in a close combat, the newly-swapped units end up engaged in old close combats instead. Uses for this power include:
    • Strategic repositioning: Whether it's setting up a proper Melta strike or pulling Obliterator Teams into better firing positions, a Bike-mounted Sorcerer has the option to give your army critical boosts to speed as needed before Turboing to better positions for subsequent repositions. It also lets your army spread a wider net.
    • Escaping bad combats/setting up traps: Put your Sorcerer in a unit that's unlikely to break. Be it Plague Zombies, Helcult Cultists, a unit of Daemonkin Bloodletters if you're feeling cheeky...you have options. There's nothing preventing you from Summoning a unit of Plaguebearers or another "tarpit" unit (or a proper beatstick unit if that's your preference) then using Soulswitch to pull them into your close combat.
    • Yo-yo-ing: A Daemon Prince has the option to Vector Strike a foe, then use Soulswitch on one of your backfield units to pull himself back to safety. Depending on your plans, you can either use this ability defensively (Soulswitch a unit of Summoned Screamers, then have the Screamers turbo back to their battleline), or offensively (Vector Strike an opponent's transport, Soulswitch an Obliterator team to finish the passengers off).
    • Jury Is Out: Both Ghost Storm and Soulswitch state they target a unit. The BRB states that Allies of Convenience are counted as enemies, and thus cannot receive Blessings, but other Traitor's Hate blessings explicitly state that they target a friendly unit. Whether this is an editing mistake on GW's part, or an explicit exception is to be determined; as a rule, assume that the rulebook takes precedence, because the rules do not explicitly state you may target non-friendly units, though discuss with your opponent (or TO if applicable) beforehand. Common sense is to talk with your opponent about this, but these are not rules as intended.

Summary: Ectomancy is a really good Discipline for Chaos Space Marines. One of the traditional shortcomings of the army is that it is slow, and two of the major powers help you get your army around the map. Ghost Storm is useful for strategic redeployment while Soul Switch can let your Psyker serve as a "slingshot" for melee units, or let you "withdraw" some units to safety. Beyond that, Empyric Shield gives you a de-facto "Storm Shield" for a Sorcerer or Daemon Prince while Infernal Claws lets you mulch through your opponent in melee. Daemon Shriek can give an anti-flyer tool, and when all else fails, you have two additional Witchfires.

Geomortis

  • Primaris - Rockmaw: - WC2 Power which targets a unit 18" from the Sorcerer. All models must make a Dangerous Terrain test with no armor saves allowed.
  • 1 - Ley Leech: WC1 Blessing which targets a friendly non-vehicle character within 18". The character heals D3 wounds, and gives the entire unit IWND. The ability to heal wounds lost to Perils is great. Even better when used on that Nurgle Chaos Lord on Bike to truly make your opponent rage. The latter unit-wide IWND is only decent if you're hanging out with The Nameless Beasts, or if you've taken a Helfist Murderpack; it might not restore HP, but IWND on Helbrutes that can play Look Out, Sir shenanigans can pay off.
  • 2 - Rupture: WC1. Pick a point 24" from the Psyker. All units within 6" take a single S5 AP4 ignores cover hit, and the area becomes Dangerous Terrain.
  • 3 - Torturer of Worlds: WC1 Malediction targeting all enemies within 18". They all treat movement as difficult terrain, and cannot run, flat out, or turbo-boost.
  • 4 - Earthly Anathema: WC1 blessing which gives a friendly unit within 24" Move Through Cover and Ignores Cover on all its ranged weapons. Furthermore, the unit does not need line of sight to attack a unit, only range matters. Holy shit, that's awesome. Give this to your Obliterators or Vindicator Squadron and laugh at your opponents.(Obliterators? Vindicators? My friend, put this on a dakkafiend with hades autocannons and watch your enemy elites who were hiding in 2+ cover get wiped from the board.
  • 5 - Profane Ruination: WC1 witchfire that targets a single Building or terrain piece within 24". If it targets a building, on a 1-3 it takes a glancing hit, and on a 4+ it takes a penetrating hit. If on a piece of terrain on a 4+ an enemy unit inside takes D6 S6 AP- hits, randomly allocated.
  • 6 - Worldwrithe WC3 power that target a piece of terrain in 24". You can then lift it 24" from its starting point, so long as you drop it over 1" away from a unit or other terrain piece. All units inside the terrain piece must take Dangerous Terrain tests, or if they're not fully in the terrain they must disembark, taking DT tests as they go. This is a neat power for it allows you to either levitate a cover-camping unit closer, reestablish line of site, the list goes on.

Summary: While generally viewed as a weak or hard to use group of powers for loyalists, the powers of Geomortis open up some interesting doors for CSM players particularly when artefacts like the Dimensional Key require getting your lord into close combat as soon as possible. Can also be utilized with a flying Daemon Prince of Nurgle, since jinking doesn't affect your ability to manifest powers, and the high mobility allows you to make more effective use of powers like Torturer of Worlds, Earthly Anathema and Rupture. An expensive, but effective hassling tactic/distraction Carnifex if successful, and very hard to shoot down. Iron Warriors can run riot by taking a Fortification with a couple of Geomancers and a beefy Cult of Destruction boasting a Cranium Malevolus. It's like having a flying Land Raider with three times as many guns, a minefield, moat, EMP generator, and Tank Hunters. Do it with a Fortress of Redemption (Damnation?) and make damned sure you take out the Melta, Chainfists, Wraithguard and Carnifexes. Stay close enough to your Rapier Conversion Beam squad to give them x-ray vision - because who doesn't want a Whirlwind squadron loaded with Demolisher rounds?

Heretech

  • Primaris - Corrupt Machine: WC1 18" Malediction. Randomly select a weapon on an enemy vehicle then both you and your opponent roll a die. If he rolls higher, nothing happens. If you draw, he can only fire snap shots with that weapon. If you roll higher, You take control of said vehicle's weapon for a turn. This power has several inherent limitations: The most immediate one is that hull-mounted weapons are still restricted by normal fire arcs, and those Soulgrinder cannons you're facing down will be looking at you. The second is that just because you get to shoot doesn't mean your opponent is forced to snap-shoot next turn; if your plan was to stop a Knight from double-tapping with a Rapid-Fire battle-cannon, this could be a problem. One thing this power lets you do is mess up units with "One-Use Weapons." Hit your opponent's Manticore with this power, and not only are you inflicting a good deal of damage, but that's one less missile that's landing in your own ranks.
  • 1 - Boon of the Iron Beast: - WC1. Blessing you give to 1 vehicle in 24". It now ignores Crew Shaken, Crew Stunned, and either gives Power of the Machine Spirit, or +1 BS if the target vehicle already has PotMS. Note that unless explicitly stated, the same Blessing cannot stack, and currently Chaos has no vehicles with POtMS, so that part of the copypaste is currently useless. You "can" use this power as a gimmick to let a Defiler split-fire its Battle Cannon at one unit while double-tapping another with Havoc Launchers, but gimmicks are cute when they don't rely on "and then I get lucky and roll this power." A more practical use for this power will be if you're running a Predator or two as a backfield firebase, as it would protect them from an unlucky Penetrating hit, or let them threaten two vehicles at once (Autocannon to one vehicle, Lascannons to another), or even if you simply want to let your Vindicator move 12" then fire. In a pinch, this lets your Chaos Land Raider work like a Loyalist one, though Land Raiders are still inefficient even with a tiny point discount. Also fantastic with Purge, allowing you to reposition and fire your Basilisks, Wyverns, and other Artillery Carriage units.
  • 2 - Scrapcode Curse: WC1. 18" Focused Witchfire. Smacks a vehicle with D3 S1 AP- Haywire hits. Your first "HP stripping" power.
  • 3 - Dark Invigoration: - WC1. Blessing that either restores 1 hull point, or repairs either an immobilized or destroyed weapon result, as well as giving the vehicle IWND. While the repairs are nice, your Daemonic vehicles already get IWND so that bonus is partially wasted; this is nice to cast on a Soulgrinder however.
  • 4 - Fleshmetal Hide: WC2. Blessing that grants plus 1 AV to all sides for a turn. Or, if put at a non-vehicle unit, gives +1T. This is the only "general-purpose" power in this entire Discipline,
  • 5 - Electromortis: WC1. A S1 Haywire Beam.
  • 6 - Flayerstorm: WC2. Focused Witchfire, 18". Target loses D3 HP, no saves, no ifs ands or buts. For each HP lost, inflicts D6 S4AP6 rending hits to an enemy unit within 12" of the target vehicle. Your second HP stripping power, you will want to throw extra Warp Charge down anyway. "Focused Witchfire" is fairly silly for powers like this, as squadroned vehicles aren't the most common thing.

Summary:Heretech is Technomancy under a different name. Like that discipline, this discipline is very specialized towards vehicles, with only one out of the seven powers being "general purpose"... It has two defensive buffs for your vehicles, and one offensive buff, but the real reason you take this discipline is because two of the three powers let you rapidly strip Hull Points from an enemy vehicle regardless of Armor, one power lets you strip a HP from multiple vehicles in a line, and another lets you use your opponent's guns against them. If you're up against an enemy with next-to-no vehicles (Battlesuit Tau, Scatterbike Eldar, etc), this discipline is going to be useless for you, but if you're up against someone wanting to run an Armored Company, this may give you that extra edge.

Sinistrum

  • Primaris - Fury of the Gods - WC1. S5 AP3 Assault 1 Blast.
  • 1 - Warp Fate: A WC 2 Blessing that lets the Psyker and his unit re-roll all failed saving throws. I don't think I need to tell you how awesome this is.
  • 2 - Empyragheist: A WC 1 Beam with 20" S6 AP4 and Pinning.
  • 3 - Armour of Hatred: A WC 1 Blessing that gives the Psyker and all friendly units within 12" Fearless, Adamantium Will, and a 4++ against against Witchfires only. The 4++ can be handy against enemies that rely on Witchfires to kill you (notably, the Tzeentchian Warpflame Host, the Wyrdstorm Brotherhood, and others), as you'll have that defense on top of ability to Deny.
  • 4 - Diabolic Strength: A WC 1 Blessing that gives the Psyker +2 Strength, Toughness, Initiative, and Attacks. It essentially wraps up the attribute increases from Iron Arm and Warp Speed into a nice Warp Charge 1 package, though it doesn't give the other benefits (notably, Smash or Fleet). A Daemon Prince that lucks out and rolls this power goes from a glass sledgehammer to a diamond wrecking ball.
  • 5 - Warp Lure: A WC1 Malediction that targets an enemy Psyker within 24". You roll roll 2D6 and add the Mastery Level of your Psyker, while your opponent rolls 1d6 and adds the Mastery Level of the targeted Psyker. If you roll higher, that Psyker takes a single wound with no saves of any kind allowed, and that enemy Psyker only manifests Warp Charge dice on rolls of 6. On top of all of this, if you beat your opponent's roll by 3 or more, that Psyker forgets a randomly-determined power. Because of the extreme potential this power has to shut down your opponent's Psychic Phase altogether, this power will draw a lot of Deny the Witch dice, making it a good opener power. The fact that it is a malediction and not a Witchfire means that you can use this power against Flyers (usually meaning Flyrants, though you "could" chip a wound off Fateweaver if your opponent blows dice elsewhere)/Invisible units without any issue, and may circumvent "Look Out Sir" mechanics, and the fact it ignores any and all saves can be scary when one considers that many Psykers have 2 wounds at best. All it takes is for your opponent to Perils of the Warp once, and this power can snipe out a Psyker...assuming you get Line of Sight that is.
  • 6 - Death Hex: WC 2 Malediction that targets an enemy unit, drops its invulnerable save by 2 (to a minimum of 6+). This thing is essentially Banishment, but it's much more versatile. This is what you use to counter fucks with Storm Shields, Smash Fucker's 2++ bullshit, Riptide's Shield Generator buff, as well as stuff like Draigo with his 3++ (even if Draigo specifically probably has better DtW than you).

Summary: Sinistrum is the copy-paste of Librarius. It has a grab-bag of assorted powers, related to making the Sorcerer fight harder, passively or actively defending against enemy Psychic powers, or making or breaking Deathstars.

Unit Analysis

HQ

  • Chaos Lord - A nasty, inexpensive close-combat character with tons of options. Even fully-kitted out: Lightning Claw, Power Fist (or Chainfist in Terminator armor), 2+/3++; will usually run you under 175 points - quite impressive in and of itself. Chaos Lords in general love to accompany CSM units. The Lord can take the appropriate mark to unlock cult marines (except the Sons) as troops. You can even take two Lords with two different Marks to unlock two different sets of cult troops! Lords get access to essentially the entire CSM armory and they are only 65 points base. Making him a Nurgle Biker Lord rewards you with a piece of cheese and a few angry glares for your T6 leader. Also cheap and Fearless - he only costs about 20 points more than a chaos marine holding an Icon of Vengeance, but has the same effect and is a lot tougher and nastier in a fight. Remember to equip the Lord with Sigil of Corruption no matter the rest of options, a 4++ save is always a good idea.
    • Mark of Khorne: Rage + Counterattack. Unlocks Khorne Berzerkers as Troops choices. Stick this guy on a Juggernaut of Khorne and give him the Axe of Blind Fury Artefact. You end up with a T5 W4 CC monstrosity which has the Cavalry unit type and thanks to the assorted USRs and the Artefact gets 7+D6 S6 AP2 attacks struck at full Initiative. Add a retinue of MoK Bikers with the Icon of Wrath. The entire unit gains Furious Charge (so the Lord's Strength on the Charge is actually 7) and might re-roll the Charge distance. Outfit the Champion with an LC or PF to support the Lord and remove enemy units from the table in each Assault Phase. Many skulls shall be collected for the Blood God when the Lord and his warriors reach the foe...
    • Mark of Nurgle: +1 Toughness. Yes, that's right. Put the Chaos Lord on a Bike and get the dreaded T6 HQ. This means he is immune to Instant Death inflicted by S10 weapons and most small arms fire wounds him only on 6s. It might be a good idea to accompany him with a unit of MoN Spawn to get loads of T6 ablative wounds that can keep up with his 12" move. MoN Chaos Bikers work well too. Take the Blight Grenades as well, for just 5 pts. you get assault + defensive grenades to deny the charging enemy his bonus attacks. Also, this makes Plague Marines Troops, so you get Objective Secured units that are really difficult to remove from their posts.
    • Mark of Slaanesh: +1 Initiative. Unlocks Noise Marines as Troops choices, which is very good. With the enhanced reflexes you usually strike before everyone else. Take a Lightning Claw or two to shred the corpsefuckers before they know what hit them. Or even better, take the reliable LC+PF combo and put this guy on a Bike. Additionally, take a MoS Biker retinue with the Icon of Excess. They are fast, durable with T5 and 3+, can use FnP to protect them more often that not and they strike at Initiative 5. All in all the unit is quite versatile and might be more survivable than the MoN equivalent due to the FnP. Just stay away from S10.
    • Mark of Tzeentch: +1 Invulnerable save. Unlike the previous examples this guy is probably best used alone. He doesn't unlock any Troops choices and the viable candidates for retinue don't benefit much from the Mark. However, MoT is the only means of reliably getting a 3++ save on the HQ (SoC + MoT). You might give him a Disc of Tzeentch for shits and giggles: zoom around the table thanks to your Jetbike status and shred enemies in CC. Or perhaps take the Burning Brand of Skalathrax. Tzeentch loves fire, after all. Then again, he's the 'best' terminator-lord, what with the 2+/3++, and works really well with MoT terminators.
  • Chaos Sorcerer - The Sorcerer has a weaker statline than a Chaos Lord, with one less WS, BS, Wound, Initiative and Attack. However, he's 5 points cheaper and comes with a free Force Weapon of choice and Mastery Level 1. Unlike vanilla Librarians, you don't get access to a Psychic Hood, but you're 5 points cheaper compared to them in exchange, and you can upgrade to Mastery Level 3 (while they're capped at ML 2 outside of certain special characters). There are usually three main ways to run a Sorcerer:
    • Mandatory HQ - 60 points and you have your cheapest HQ option for when you really want to cram more models in; if you do this, you'll probably stick him in a Rhino where he can annoy stuff with Psychic Shriek. However, this is usually inferior to the other two options.
    • On A Bike: A Sorcerer on a Bike can take advantage of being able to move, cast powers, then Turbo. He can either join a unit of Chaos Bikers, run solo, or even hide out in a unit of Spawn...wait, what NOOOARGRBRBLRBRBLB! Ahem, either way, if you're buying a Bike for your Sorcerer, it also pays to upgrade him. You will take a Spell Familiar, and at least one additional Mastery Level to play with. Taking a 3rd Mastery Level is usually a good idea as it's one of the few tricks you get over the Loyalists, and it helps ensure you get that one power you really want.
    • Palanquin of Nurgle: For 5 points more than the cost of a basic Forgefiend, you get a Sorcerer with the Mark of Nurgle, Mastery Level 3, and a Spell Familiar. Historically, the Palanquin was overlooked because it does not actually make your Sorcerer any faster, and prevents riding in a transport; add having to use a up a psychic roll on the Nurgle discipline. The main reason to take a Palanquin is if you want your Sorcerer to use Malefic Daemonology and summon Daemons, as getting the additional wounds means a few additional turns of casting; you will Perils, but you have enough wounds that you don't care! Traitor Legions made this build even more viable as the Lore of Nurgle has been updated, including a power that lets you heal a character, so with some luck you can just summon a unit of Daemons, take a wound, and heal it right after!. Hide in a unit of Cultists and go to town! Word Bearers benefit quite a bit from this, as a cheaper alternative to using a Daemon Prince for summoning, but Crimson Slaughter can also benefit too, especially if you also give the Sorcerer Prophet of the Voices to become a Daemon and Perils only on 6s...though you end up only being able to join units of Possessed.

Note that a Sorcerer with the Mark of Tzeentch will unlock Rubric Marines as troops. However, this seldom matters as Rubric Marines are pretty bad, especially compared to other options, and Thousand Sons already get Rubric Marines. :)

  • Exalted Sorcerer of Tzeentch (Wrath of Magnus): The Exalted Sorcerer is if you want the "best of" a Chaos Lord or Sorcerer in one slot and don't mind paying a premium on points. Has Mark of Tzeentch, is ML2 base, and can upgrade to ML3. He's BS5, I5, and W3 compared to a standard sorcerer, which is awesome! Also has access to a S9 AP2 Heavy 1, Lance Blast once per game thanks to his Lord of the Silver Tower special rule. Also, he's Fearless! He gets access to Divination too, which the Sorcerer doesn't know unless you give a Crimson Slaughter Sorcerer the Balestar.
    • Analysis:The Exalted Sorcerer is cool but ultimately overcosted for most builds. Like the Warpsmith and Dark Apostle, does not have access to Special Issue Wargear or Terminator Armour, and unlike either, he's even more restricted in his loadout; he has his Bolt Pistol and a Force Stave (no Force Sword or Force Axe for you, since GW doesn't write rules for stuff without models), and that's it unless you choose to buy a Relic for him; taking a Disc is mandatory and not an option; seriously, quit bitching and take the fucking Disc already! You'll be glad later when he can move 12", cast, then turbo 24"! His Lord of the Silver Tower, despite being fluffed as similar to an Orbital Bombardment, is worse in every way that matters, with less Strength and AP, a smaller blast, and not actually being a Barrage weapon. Telekinesis is a bad discipline, so the main reason you're taking him is if you want a fearless Cultist Bunker yet don't want a Helcult, or if you want to give him Seer's Bane so he can go beat stuff up. He gets Divination, but if you want it that bad, you either take a Crimson Slaughter detachment, or Daemon allies anyway, and you can use a cheaper character to carry the Astral Grimoire.
    • alternate opinion: wait, wait!! WAIIT!! Yes, they are expensive but they can bring the hurt and fuck up any old seargent or any IC that isnt CC orientated, and he gets divination, you know for the thousand sons, scarab occults, to get those lovely AP3 weapons twin-linked, or get massed autopistols(not really a good idea). While yes they are expensive, if used right they can be amazing and can create some the deadliest deathstars out there(Hello Forgefiend-Star), so Engage troll-face, scream JUST AS PLANNED as loud as possible, and just bring 'em.
    • Note: If you're using the rules for Legions, these can only be taken in a Thousand Sons OR Black Legion detachment. The latter means they lose access to all the Thousand Sons artefacts and the Blessing of Tzeentch rule.
  • Daemon Prince: Your personal, customizable close quarters monster. Seriously, this guy is shit-your-pants frightening, being able to wreck the face of any infantry short of assault terminators before they can so much as lift a finger, as well as most monstrous creatures and light vehicles. He sports WS 9, I8, 4 wounds, 5 attacks, and is a Monstrous Creature so he gets Smash. He also has access to Chaos Rewards and Chaos Artefacts (notably the Axe of Blind Fury and Black Mace) and can take wings, turning him into a Flying Monstrous Creature. He does have some steep downsides, though. His biggest weakness is his newfound lack of Eternal Warrior, so S10 blows and Instant Death weapons/rules are the bane of his existence (which basically means that you should keep him the fuck away from dreadnoughts). Also, with a sharp rise in base cost (plus the fact that he must be devoted to one of the Chaos Gods) the price tag once you've added wings, Mastery levels, power armour, and so on, he can become very costly, very quick. So that means you have to actually get off your ass and think about how best to use him. Often run with the Black Mace, which, although costly, is quite terrifying for pretty much anything that he runs into.
    • Side Note: Since you MUST be devoted to a Chaos God, if you make your Daemon Prince a psyker he must roll at least 1 power on the chart of his dedicated god. This makes fishing for Endurance or Iron Arm slightly more difficult, but on the bright side, chaos powers aren't nearly so crap now as they were before Traitor legions dropped, so you have that much going for you.
    • Marks - Due note that Daemon Princes don't get Marks of the Gods, but they are required to be dedicated to one God. Daemon of Khorne gives you Furious Charge, giving you Plasma strength hits on the charge. Slaanesh gets Rending, which makes it decent at popping tanks without relying on one Smash attack per turn(especially when coupled with a Daemon Weapon or the Talons of the Night Terror) and an additional 3" of run. Tzeentch allows you to re-roll ANY saves of 1, which is amazing if you take any of the 2+ relic armours from Traitor Legions. Nurgle gets you Shrouded, for a 2+ jink save if you take wings. All pretty decent choices.
  • Warpsmith: Doc Oc up in this bitches! The Warpsmith is an evil Techmarine, with many assorted goodies. He's expensive, but already comes with most of his wargear so you don't have to go crazy and try to trick him out further...in fact, you probably can't trick him out further, mostly because he can't take a Bike! Maybe the tentacles kept causing him to fall off? He comes with a 2+ armor save, Power Axe & Bolt Pistol, and Mechatendrils. These nasty tentacles give him an extra 2 attacks, so he can make 6(!) attacks on the charge. Really though, you care more about his shooting as his Mechatendrils have an in-built Flamer and a Meltagun, making him one of the few characters in the game with the sanity SANITY IS FOR THE WEAK! to take a meaningful gun. You have the option to fire both these weapons at the same time, or to fire one of them alongside another weapon; swap out his Bolt Pistol for a Combi-Melta and he can double-tap something and make it go BOOM! Rounding it off, he can forfeit shooting to attempt to repair an adjacent friendly vehicle on a 4+, or curse a nearby enemy vehicle within 18" so all its guns Get Hot! See that Leman Russ Punisher? Curse it and dare it to fire at you! Finally, at the start of the game, he can select one piece of terrain in the opponent's deployment zone, which from then on provides one less Cover than normal.
    • Analysis: The problem with the Warpsmith is that he's an expensive HQ without having "general-purpose" flexibility. For the price of one Warpsmith, you can buy a Sorcerer of Chaos with a Bike, Spell Familiar, and still have 15 points leftover! He can repair vehicles, but most vehicles Chaos has access to cost less than he does, and it's common for vehicles to be destroyed outright in a turn before they can be repaired. His guns are mis-matched, making the "fire two weapons" option fairly pointless at first, and a 2+ save only means so much. That being said, three different formations that appear both in Traitor's Hate and Traitor Legions have a mandatory Warpsmith, so you'll want to find a way to use him regardless. The Combi-Melta is the best option as for just a few points more, it lets him "run solo" like a 3rd Space Marine unit. Compared to a 5-man team of Chaos Space Marines with one Meltagun and one Champion with a Combi-Melta, he costs 25 points more, in exchange for better Ballistic Skill, and a grab-bag of abilities here-and-there; the only issue remains getting him to his target. Ectomancy Psychic Powers are one option, but another option is finding a "spare" Rhino for him; a team of Autocannon Havocs can take a Rhino without actually needing it.
    • Note that while the warpsmith isn't necessarily "great" at anything, Master of Mechanisms is hilarious against shooty LoW choices. Watching an overeager Stompa or Gatling Knight strip 3-5 HP due to gets hot in a single round of shooting will cause tears and/or RAGE. Or just deter them from firing in the first place!
  • Dark Apostle: The Chaos equivalent of a Chaplain, the Dark Apostle is a "passive" support character. He comes stock with a Power Maul, Bolt Pistol and Sigil of Corruption, grants his unit Zealot, characters in his unit may reroll results from Chaos Boons, and friendly Chaos Space Marine units within 6" of him use his Leadership (Leadership 10) instead of their own.
    • Analysis: The Dark Apostle's shares similar problems to the Warpsmith, in being more expensive than a Sorcerer for less flexibility. He costs 45 points more than a Sorcerer while maintaining the exact same statline. Even accounting for his free Sigil of Corruption, this still leaves him 20 points more expensive than a similarly-equipped Sorcerer. To add insult to injury, the Apostle cannot take any wargear to enhance his own mobility; no Bikes, Jump Packs, or Mounts for him. Also, do note that he does not get access to regular melee gear that even aspiring champions can use, unless you're willing to spend even more points on the Axe of Blind Fury or some other cool legion artifact. So what do those extra 20 points do for you? You get gain a Leadership 10 bubble, you grant Zealot to a unit he joins, and you get some insurance to control whether or not characters in his unit will be transformed (though it usually matters mostly for himself!). The zealot is excellent for running large mobs of cultists as more than just "mandatory troops", especially if they are marked Khorne. 4 attacks a piece on the charge, with hatred, even at WS and S 3 are nothing to sneer at, especially coming from a unit that can potentially bring 35 bodies to bear. Oh, and the one artifact in the codex that makes the guy's atacks AP2 is the aforementioned Axe of Blind Fury, which is also a Khornate toy. Take a hint. Still, even more so than the other HQs, his bonuses are very niche, and it's hard to justify the extra points you pay for him over a Sorcerer if you're running a CAD.

Special Characters

  • Typhus the Traveler - Typhus is a walking tank. With Terminator Armor, Toughness 5 from the Mark of Nurgle, 4 wounds base, and Feel No Pain, Typhus will not die outright unless he's hit by a Force Weapon, or Strength 10 attacks. Otherwise, most (non-powerfist/TH) attacks will bounce off of him, plain and simple. Not only can he take a punch, but he delivers one too; his signature weapon is the Manreaper, a giant force-Scythe with +2 Strength, AP 2, Force, Unwieldy, and the Daemon Weapon special rule. As long as he avoids Wraithknights or Walkers, he can hurt it. Should he be tied up by a mob of chaff, he can also use his Destroyer Hive to center a large blast over him, and every model nearby takes an automatic S4 AP 2 hit. Top this off with being a Mastery Level 2 Psyker, who rolls all of his powers on the Lore of Nurgle. He also allows you to take Plague Marines as troops. As if that's not enough, he allows your army to sidegrade any units of Chaos Cultists into Plague Zombies; the Plague Zombies become Fearless and gain Feel No Pain, but they're also Slow and Purposeful, and they cannot take any options beyond adding more bodies. However, this all comes with the drawback that he's "locked" into Lord of Terror, granting him Fear. Needless to say, you don't want him as your Warlord, not for his trait anyway. Seeing as he's one of the most survivable characters in the entire codex, and Slay The Warlord is a thing in most games, taking him as a warlord might not be a bad idea in some cases.
    • Summary: You take Typhus if you want Plague Zombies, while getting a beatstick in the bargain. Zombies give you an unrelenting screen of angry meatshields that will take dedicated firepower to shift from objectives or serve as semi-passable tarpits. However, Typhus himself is expensive and the actual Zombies suffer from Slow and Purposeful and the inability to take any of the normal Chaos Cultist upgrades. If "fearless Cultists" is what you're looking for, there are cheaper ways to get it; from using the Cultists as a "delivery system" for an appropriately punchy Chaos Lord you planned to take anyway, to running the Helcult formation.
  • Lucius the Eternal - Lucius is a bit of an odd duck out, as well as the obligatory Slaaneshi Special Character. As a Chaos Lord, he's largely typical, but his abilities and weapons load make him a much nastier close-combat unit than he appears to be at a glance. For starters, he's WS 7, as opposed to the typical Chaos Lord WS 6, and he boasts Initiative 6 due to his Mark of Slaanesh. He lacks a traditional Daemon Weapon - but what he has in return makes this almost not matter. Lucius boasts a Doom Siren (AP3 Heavy Flamer), a Power Sword, and a unique weapon in the Lash of Torment, which reduces the number of attacks enemy models get by 1. The FAQ confirmed the Lash to be an artefact, not a weapon, barring him from taking an extra attack for two weapons. In challenges his attack always equals to his opponents' WS! That's 6 attack against a Space Marine Captain! He also has Krak Grenades and Frag Grenades. What truly makes Lucius useful though, on top of all the above, is his unique ability stemming from his Armour of Shrieking Souls - any close combat attack Lucius saves against (Armor Save OR Invulnerable Save) causes an automatic S4 hit on the unit that attacked him, with no armour saves allowed. It's not all good news, however: Lucius positively sucks against vehicles and his 5+ Invulnerable save, whilst useful, isn't exactly a stellar defensive feature. He is a character designed for challenges but most HQ's have AP2 weapons or 2+ armour saves which Lucius has no counter for. He also lacks Eternal Warrior, which means he's actually quite vulnerable against things like Force Weapons and heavy weapon sniping attempts.
    • Lucy's Lash of Torment now makes ALL of his close combat attacks have the "Shred" rule, effectively giving him Lightning Claws and granting his Armour of Shrieking Souls a better chance to wound. Stick him in a squad of Noise Marines with the re-tooled Icon of Slaanesh to give him drug-fueled Feel No Pain. Also, dual Doom Sirens. You can never have enough Doom Sirens.
    • Traitor Legions gives him a load of buffs, especially if you have him lead a Kakophoni, netting him Feel No Pain(+6), Split Fire, Shred on his Doom Siren, and Strength 6 on his Doom Siren if you bring a full 6 Noise Marine Squads.
  • Khârn The Betrayer - A real fun guy to be around. Kharn boasts a suite of useful traits and equipment, including the Gorechild (A power axe with Armorbane and no Unwieldy, which always hits on 2+, but to hit rolls of 1 hit your own unit), Frag and Krak grenades (the latter of which will never see use), a Plasma Pistol, Furious Charge, Mark of Khorne, and perhaps most importantly, gets a 2+ Deny the Witch and immunity to Instant Death from Force Weapons. Khârn can demolish damned-near-anything in close-combat, from enemy vehicles to enemy infantry when on the charge - an advantage primarily offset by the fact that he's completely fucking useless if he can't get close, and rather easy to isolate and tear down due to a relatively weak (5+) Invulnerable save. He is best-used either with a massive mob of Cultists to absorb ranged attacks and take wounds (Terminators are too expensive to risk losing to his attacks) - the latter loaded up to the fucking gills with Flamers, the squads shoved in a Metal Box or BIG METAL BOX, and thrown directly at the enemy's face. Like Fabius Bile, Ahriman, and Abaddon, Khârn has one more attack than is listed in his profile due to his weapon loadout - for a total of five. He also has a base strength of 6, with 7 on the charge. Khârn counts as a Chaos Lord for the purpose of 'zerkers being troops.
    • Kharn's Hatred Incarnate ability lets him re-roll misses during the first round of close combat, making his entourage last that much longer without feeling his axe.
    • Fun Fact: Due to the wording of his 'Blessing of the Blood God' special rule, he cannot be Instant Killed by a Nemesis Daemon Hammer hit.
    • Kharn will kill you so hard that you will die to death.
    • Note that due to Gorechild and a decent number of attacks, Kharn can feasibly take on everything from Guardsmen blobs to Land Raiders in close combat and totally wreck their shit. The only things he will ever have problems in melee are Wraithlords and Wraithknights, due to their T8 making it hard to actually kill them before they instant-death Kharn with a punch to the nads. He also, understandably, has a problem with ranged combat of any sort, so a transport for him is near-mandatory (although his low cost offsets this, making even buying a personal land raider for him feasible).
    • The Land Raider argument is enhanced by the fact that Chaos Land Raiders are still Assault Vehicles, unlike Chaos Rhinos, and have the same transport capacity. Also consider fitting Dirge Casters, despite the fact that they are of pansy Slaaneshi origin to help negate overwatch.
    • The only rules change for Kharn's new Traitor's Hate entry is the Unstoppable rule is now on Kharn's model rather than on Gorechild. This means he can fist-fight Jain Zar on a 2+ after he gets disarmed!
  • Huron Blackheart - Huron is the leader of the Red Corsairs, and a fairly passable HQ. Of all the Special Characters in the Chaos Codex, Huron is the best "jack of all trades" character. His signature item is the Tyrant's Claw, a Lightning Claw with +2 Strength, Armorbane, and built-in Heavy Flamer, and he has a Sigil of Corruption and Power Axe. Unfortunately, he only gets his base 3 attacks base in melee so he lacks the pure melee potential of other characters. In exchange, however, he has another special item: The Hamadrya is a Combat Familiar (so he gets an extra two attacks) that also makes Huron a Mastery Level 1 Psyker, with a twist. Each and every turn, he rolls to see what powers he actually knows; he rolls a D3 to see what Discipline he knows, with a 1 being Biomancy, a 2 being Telepathy, and a 3 being Divination, and then he rolls to see what power he actually knows from that discipline.
    • Summary: The main reason you take Huron is you want to "lock in" your Warlord Trait to guarantee at least one of your units has Infiltrate, and you would would rather not spend the extra 80 points on Ahriman. His close combat loadout is acceptable against rank-and-file and he can finish off damaged Dreadnoughts/Knights a pinch, though he'll bounce off any proper melee beatsticks without proper buffs (and don't even think of pitting him against a Wraithknight!). Although his powers are random, he can always count on at least having the Primaris to fall back on. Smite and Psychic Shriek let him plink off wounds from armored units, with the former being better than normal due to Huron's improved BS, while Huron remains only one of three ways for a Chaos Marine army to get Divination powers (meaning Prescience) without resorting to Daemon allies. However, he lacks a Spell Familiar and he is still Mastery Level 1 so he won't have the same melee oomph as a proper Sorcerer. Huron is the Swiss Army knife of HQs, where you will always have an option with him, though you don't always get to control what those options are.
  • Fabulous Bile - The king of mixed bags and fabulous. On one hand, Bile has good stats and wargear: Feel No Pain through his Chirurgeon, Strength 5, a weapon that causes instant death (Rod of Torment), five attacks, and a particularly nasty poisoned weapon in the Xyclos Needler. On the other hand, his Rod of Torment does not ignore armor saves (unlike, say, the MURDER SWORD), his Xyclos Needler has really bad AP and sub-par range, and perhaps most damning of all, no Invulnerable save, unlike literally every other Chaos Character in the codex. So... Sucks, Right? Not quite. The reason Fabius Bile is taken, ironically, isn't for Bile himself; it's for his Enhanced Warriors trait, which gives a unit of Chaos Space Marines +1 Strength and Fearless. An enhanced Khornate CSM unit (Mark + Icon) rolls out 4 S6 attacks per Marine on the charge while being scoring and Fearless. While he isn't stellar in a normal CSM army (he's not a fighter nor does he enhance more than one unit of CSM), he really shines as an allied HQ — if you want a reasonably cheap CC threat for your pansy blueberries, take him and a 10-strong unit of Khornate CSM with meltaguns that can threaten massed infantry with the number of attacks, massed tanks with meltaguns/carnage combo and monstrous creatures with that Instant Death stick. Know that a Disordered Charge (aka multi-charge) denies you your Rage, so plan accordingly.
    • Note that he can enhance one CSM unit in your entire ARMY, so take him in an Auxiliary Detachment for your Traitor Legion, and buff one of their Legion CSM units. 20 Infiltratring S5 Fearless Alpha Legion CSM anyone?
  • Ahriman the Exile - A Sorcerer that costs as much as a Land Raider is seldom a good sign. On the other hand there are only three other psykers in the game with Mastery Level 4 (Fateweaver, Aetaos'Rau'Keres and that dick) and Ahriman has access to several psychic disciplines, plus boasting a unique piece of gear in the Black Staff, which is a Force Staff that lets him fire off the same Witchfire psychic power THREE times a turn. This can mean three DOOMBOLTS per turn. Or three psychic screams, which is by far the most brutally effective option since it now hits automatically. His firepower can be absolutely insane, but it requires good rolling for psychic powers or just choosing the Primaris for either Biomancy or Telepathy, unlike the previous codex. He has a bolt pistol with Inferno Bolts and the standard Tzeentch Marine 4+ invulnerable save, but he's only T4. Sadly, he WILL take 1 wound from perils. Devastating if used right, but makes for a huge and high-priority target. Unlike a lot of other units with this price-tag, such as Old One-Eye, he tends to actually be worth it if carefully managed, mostly due to the fact that he drops a Touhou-esque barrage of firepower out in short order. Just remember that he's a gigantic fire magnet, and his force weapon is only AP4 (but S6). Has an extra attack not shown on the profile, due to his pistol and staff, for a total of 4. Still, he costs a bomb in points.
    • Wrath of Magnus updates his pool of disciplines, now he is able to roll from all powers from the main book (except Sanctic Daemonology), Tzeentch, and all new CSM disciplines.
    • A fun option with this one is to ally yourself with Tzeentch daemons. Horrors will serve as batteries for Ahriman to drain. Mount him in a rhino, go full throttle and let the onslaught begin. Only being able to cast witchfires from a transport isn't much of a handicap when he can cast 12 witchfires a turn.
    • Wrath of Magnus update: put him on the Disc and join him with Chaos Bikers.
    • He can now buy a Disc so enjoy that +1T and turbo boosting around.
  • Abaddon the Despoiler - Don't be fooled by jokes regarding his lack of arms - Abaddon is BAD news. He is a very dangerous independent character in melee. 6th ed has changed how his attacks roll - he can use either Drach'nyen (+1 Strength, AP2, Daemon Weapon) or the Talon of Horus (Strength 8, AP3 and Shred, though Blood Angels gain Hatred against him). With WS7, I6, +1 attack for having 2 Specialist Weapons (so 5 base), Rage from the Mark of Khorne and the potential extra attacks from Drach'nyen if you use that, Abaddon will hammer just about anything on the charge through sheer volume of attacks. Just take care who you send him against, for there are a few characters that will remove his arms readily. Suffice to say, not many units can reliably go toe-to-toe with the Despoiler and survive for more than a round or two - most will be dead before they can attack, and many armies lack squads that can offer more than a token resistance. He has every single Chaos Mark (For Rage/Counter Attack, +1 Initiative, a 4+ Invulnerable Save, and +1 Toughness), Hatred AND Preferred Enemy against Space Marines of all kinds and Eternal Warrior. On the other hand, the drawbacks are obvious - he costs a fuckton of points, he's a huge fire-magnet, 2+ armour save not being ignored by power weapons doesn't matter much since you opponent is going to try and keep anything valuable away from him (fortunately he can Deep Strike), he sucks at shooting (he only has a Twin-Linked Bolter, so his high ballistic skill is pretty irrelevant), and his Daemon Weapon runs the risk of reducing him to WS1. Do anything you fucking can to get him into close combat, and try to not let him lose his arms. He will maintain his title of unbeatable killing machine right until he fights anything such anything with a D Weapon, then its game over so be careful!
    • Math is for math books.
    • Don't fight Jain Zar if you're up against Eldar. You will not win.
    • Since Abaddon technically has all the Marks , he can benefit from the Slaaneshi Icon of Drugs (FNP) and Khornate Icon of FUCK YOU (Furious Charge and re-roll charge distance).
    • His firepower is a lot better than it sounds against Space Marines. Because he gives every squad within 12" Preferred Enemy (Space Marines), in theory he adds a block of firepower equal to roughly 36% of every squad within that bubble - and since Chosen squads can pack five plasma guns apiece, and get re-roll Gets Hot...
    • Be careful of pitting him against AV13 or higher walkers (as S8 will have trouble punching through their armor) and keep him the fuck AWAY from any that have D Strength close combat weapons (such as Imperial Knights). One 6 rolled in the to wound roll and down goes Abbadon.
    • Abaddon can now become a Daemon Prince or a Spawn SKSAAOUROOAEBLEHGH. The most recent FAQ has brought back his old rule about re-rolling everytime he gets Dark Apotheosis and Spawnhood. Yay!
    • Don´t forget the Bringers of Despair: Terminators with WS/BS 5 who can reroll a single "Look Out, Sir" on Abaddon in a phase.

Supplements & Forgeworld

  • Vrosh Tattersoul (Dark Vengeance)- A dirt-cheap HQ for an assaulty squad. 65 points nets you an Aspiring Champion with an extra wound, Rage, combi-melta, power axe (plus another CCW for +1 attack), and not much else. When he kills an enemy character he always gains +1 Attack instead of rolling on the boon table. That's... really all there is to say about this guy; if you've only got 500 to 750 points of stuff then he's good at just rounding out a squad.
  • Be'lakor the Dark Master (Dataslate)- A returning character from Fantasy, Be'lakor gets the EW rule that regular Daemon Princes lack and is a Level 3 Psyker with all Telepathy Discipline by default, and if you don't think up at least five ways to abuse the Invisibility psy power the moment you read this, punch yourself in the face. He comes with the unique rules Shadow Form (4+ invulnerable save and Shrouded and automatically passes Dangerous Terrain tests) and Lord of Torment (gains a bonus D3 Warp Charge points by making enemy units fail morale checks). He also has wings and possesses a unique weapon called the Blade of Shadows (S+1, AP2, Fleshbane, Armourbane, and Master-Crafted). He also doesn't need to be devoted to a chaos god, as he serves all of them (making him a fluffy and effective choice for a Chaos Undivided army). At 350 points, he's a flat upgrade to the basic Daemon Prince and cost-effective to boot. His only weakness was that you had to terrain-hop him or Invis himself to keep him from dying to crazy fire. But now, with 7e, you can jink while gliding. Enjoy your constant 2+ cover save, mate. In short: JUST TAKE HIM FOR MALICE'S SAKE!!!
    • Alternative Opinion: Be VERY FUCKING CAREFUL around anything with Cleansing Flame (IE: Grey Knight Purifiers). They'll get 2D6 hits on you, 50% of which will mathematically wound (not including the fact that they'll be re-rolling 1s, due to Preferred Enemy), that will not only auto-hit (and therefore ignore your invisibility) Template weapons don't work on invisible units, but also ignore your precious 2+ Jink. I can tell you from personal experience that a combat squaded unit of 10 Purifiers will result in Be'Lakor's firey demise. It makes matters even worse if Be'Lakor is currently not invisible and said Purifiers are carrying Incinerators.
  • Cypher, Lord of the Fallen (Dataslate)- All in all an okay character. Just beware that he can never be the Warlord and that fielding him will take -1Ld from your actual Warlord, which wouldn't be a big problem since almost all of your HQ's are Fearless (not recommended if you have a Sorcerer as your warlord.) He gets to shoot his 16" range bolt pistol and never-hot plasma pistol twice in each shooting phase/once before or after running and overwatches at full BS (which is TEN by the way). Also uses his pistols in combat, half of his attacks with each pistol (an odd number of attacks give the bolt pistol an extra attack, never the plasma) at I8. Use him for Hit and Run trolling and granting ATSKNF and Shrouded to any unit he's attached to. Just remember Independent Characters with Infiltrate cannot give Infiltrate to non-infiltrating units, nor can they join units that lack Infiltrate before deployment. He's survived for 10,000 years with just power armour, so has no invulnerable save, but his sword gives him Eternal Warrior and the aforementioned Shrouded USR. He gives 3 VP to Dark Angels players if he's killed within 6 inches of them (1 VP for anyone else who's within 6" of him when he goes down) so don't ever be within 6 inches of a DA, duh. He will give you d3 VP if he survives the match by flipping the bird against the enemy.He can bring up to 3 units of Chosen which come separate from the FOC but can't take marks, icons or transports but have ATSKNF, Infiltrate and can apparently take power fists for 5 points! You could put him and some Havocs behind an ADL with a quad gun for a 2+ covered gunline that will never ever die, you'll just have to deploy them separately at the beginning of the game.
  • Arkos the Faithless (Forge World) - An Alpha Legion Character from the Siege of Vraks books. This guy wields the Black Blade (+2S, Rending, Power Sword), has a built-in +1 T and he also gives Counter Attack to his squad. Counter Attack is easily gained with MoK, but Arkos seems to have the benefits of a few various things, plus the rending rule can mean he may get lucky while fighting 2+ save opponents. His warlord trait is the ability to just choose to determine which is your board edge pre-game; if you do this you lose the decision of who takes first turn, but you may re-roll for Seize the Initiative... not fantastic. You may take him for fluff, but unless you have little imagination and fluff expertise you can create your own dude to represent Alpha Legion lord - he's from the times when Alphas were little more than space Taliban with lots of trained cultists, rather than modern closet loyalist anons with mind-blowingly over-complicated schemes and tons of just as planned.
    • Keep in mind that he can not be run in his own legion anymore thanks to the latest Traitor Legions Release which forbids unique characters for Alpha Legion. However TL does make him giving Counter Attack useful at least if your opponent lets you use him, thanks to Alpha Legion restricting you from marks.
  • Zhufor the Impaler (Forge World) - Zhufor is a pretty strong, well costed Khorne named HQ. He is likely better than any Terminator Lord you would be able to create with the codex with Furious Charge, 4 attacks and S5 base meaning his power fist strikes at S10 AP2, Warboss style, with a total of 6 attacks on the charge. He also has a two handed chain axe, which can be used for mulching hordes, giving him +2 attacks when using the weapon for a total of 8 S6 AP4 attacks on the charge. He packs Eternal Warrior and Terminator armour and so is much more durable than Kharn, and most other chaos HQ's for that matter. That said, he lacks AP2 at initiative that the other killy Chaos Lords can bring and cannot make sweeping advances. If you take Kharn and find that he's dying too much to AP3 at higher initiative (Space elves and Slaanesh) or S8 instant death (half the shit in the game) take this dude instead, he's likely to survive a lot longer and S10 attacks can be a lot more deadly depending on who you're facing (insta-kill those pesky wolves!). His warlord trait also gives you +1VP for each enemy character you slay in a challenge, which considering this guys stats will likely be every character without EW. He also lets you take a squad of MoK Termies as his bodyguard without filling a slot, useful if you wanted to take them anyway, they have similar attacks but bare in mind that this unit will attract a metric fuckton of attention.
  • Necrosius (Forge World) - A fearless Nurgle Sorcerer with Feel No Pain, a Poisoned (4+) bolt pistol, and a force sword. His psychic powers are pre-designated: Nurgle's Rot, Gift of Contagion, and Wasting Disease, which is a 24" range focused witchfire that automatically hits any chosen model in a squad, resolved at S3 AP2 assault 1 Fleshbane. Use it to purge those pesky GK incinerators that deny your zombies their precious 4+ FnP. He also has +1 initiative, wounds, and Ballistic Skill compared to a normal sorcerer. Sadly he can not acquire a invulnerable save thus, rarely makes use of his Champion of Chaos rule, though his I5, FNP and force sword mean he's not totally helpless.
    • The ability to take zombies as non-compulsory troops became his warlord trait, though he still grants them all Furious Charge via his "Master of the Dead" special rule. He can only take zombies from the same book he's found in (Siege of Vraks 2nd edition), but his zombies are immensely better with 4+ FnP and the "Warp Plague" rule, which allows you to add d3 zombies to a unit if it kills an enemy unit in close combat.
      • Compared to Typhus, Necrosius is better if you want to actively take zombies rather than merely using them as a preferable alternative to cultists for compulsory troops. Necrosius' zombies are far better being 90 points for 30 with FnP 4+, furious charge and the ability to generate more, compared to Typhus 130 points for 30 with only FnP 5+. If you're taking the Purge detachment found in the book you don't need compulsory troops anyway.

Troops

  • Chaos Space Marines - These are your "Line Infantry" so to speak: A 'jack of all trades' unit like their Loyalist counterparts, Chaos Space Marines tend to be sidelined in favor of other options; however, while the loyalists have the option for Bikers or Scouts to grant innate mobility or improved deployment, the only other option Chaos gets is Cultists. They're considered a "tax" unit but unlike some other tax units, they have the potential to sway a battle if used well.
    • Loadout: Chaos Space Marines start off with a Bolter, Bolt Pistol, Frag and Krak Grenades, and Power Armor, and the Aspiring Champion gets a "free" Close Combat Weapon added to his Wargear in the process. In the basic squad of 5 models, one model may swap out their Bolter for a Special Weapon, and in a squad of 10 or more models, another model may swap a Bolter out for Heavy Weapon or a second Special. In practice, you won't ever take the Heavy Weapon because unlike Loyalists, your guys cannot split up into Combat Squads, and you don't get Grav Cannons. Unique to Chaos Marines, any model can swap out their Bolter for a Bolt Pistol and Close Combat Weapon for free, or take the Close Combat Weapon while retaining the Bolter for 2 points. One additional note is that you can run Chaos Marines in a unit of up to 20 models if you really wish. You don't get any additional Specials/Heavies for running squads larger than 10, but Icons become more cost-effective the more models they affect.
      • MSU Configuration: A basic squad of 5 models, one with a Meltagun, the Champion has a Combi-Meltagun, and the unit has a Rhino. Optionally, you can equip the Rhino with a Dozer Blade or Dirge Casters, depending on your points budget. This configuration is alright if you're treating your CSM as a "tax unit".
      • Infantry Configuration: 10 models, and either 2 plasma guns or melta guns. Optionally, you can run the unit with an Mark/Icon of choice. This is alright for "disruption" if you're running Hounds of Abaddon or some other formation that buffs your rank-and-file Chaos Space Marines, though it amplifies the traditional weakness of Chaos being slow.
  • Cultists: These are your "cheap" troop choice, with the option to get a unit of 10 guys for 50 points, plus another 4 for each new guy. The actual options they get are fairly weak, but they're dirt-cheap and a good "hiding spot" for characters. You can also spend the fortification slot to buy an Aegis defense line and crap the cultists in there, for an inexpensive 2+ cover save bulwark. Don't underestimate them though, point for point they almost always hit harder than Marines, with autoguns they can gun down T 4 or less pretty effectively, and they don't have to worry quite as much about hard counters as Space Marines,
    • Don't bother with a mark. Cultists are a mass of expendable bodies, and don't need the points wasted on them only to die as expected. If you're really intent on making them tougher, take Typhus and make them Plague Zombies. In fact, if you make certain calculations, you'll figure out that an amount of points dumped into marks add roughly the same survivability or offensive capability as the equal amount of points dumped into extra bodies, and extra bodies are always better because they give you both. So forget about the marks; Autoguns, Flamers and Heavy Stubbers are the only meaningful options that Cultists have.
    • Here's a more detailed explanation why Marks are bad for your Cultists. Starting from the "best" to the worst:
      • Nurgle: Makes your lowly Cultists as tough as Space Marines. Don't get too excited because they still wear t-shirt armor. The only use it has is to make a maxed out blob harder to budge or force morale checks on. But really it's not worth the points; there are better ways to buff them.
      • Slaanesh: Your Cultists are now I4, which means that they hit before Guardsmen and at the same time as Space Marines. Nothing special.
      • Tzeentch: 6++. Needless to say, it's pretty pathetic. You "could" make the case for this if you have some other way to buff their Invulnerable Save, but most of those options can't be banked on: You don't get Divination unless you're allying in Daemons or are running Crimson Slaughter, while you can't rely on the Munitorium Crate giving you a forcefield save. If you wanted to be cute with allies, you "could" do something like running this with a Kustom Forcefield to give them an effective 4++ save, but at the end of the day they're cultists.
      • Khorne: It gives your cultists Rage and Counter Attack. And costs 2 points. This means that a 30 strong cultist squad with the mark costs just under 200 points, and chucks out 90-120 WS3, S3, I3 attacks in the first round of close combat - if it manages to get into CC completely unscathed. Realistically speaking, it's going to take at least 50% casualties on its way in - but even after you factor that in your calculations, that an avalanche of 45-60 attacks. Introduce some sort of buff into the mix - like the Zealot granted by a dark apostle with AOBF, or some psychic shenanigans or SOMETHING, and all of a sudden the situation turns into - "oh, cool, your storm shield terminators have a 2+ save. Make 20 of them, please". Naturally you will not revolutionize the tournament scene with your new amazing cultist-star, but this seems to be the way to make the buggers semi-viable.
    • While cultists certainly seem to be adequate objective-humpers, they are far outclassed by the sheer versatility presented by the updated rules for Renegades and Heretics, presented in Imperial Armour 13. Instead of a wimpy troop choice you now can take Battle-Brother rank allies that essentially function the same as Imperial Guard, with platoons and blobs on the cheap. Instead of generic CHOPPA or DAKKA Cultists, you have the choice of better weaponry and more flavorful fun.
    • As should be expected, the Cultist Champion isn’t going to be winning very many challenges, but on the off chance he does, and gets to roll on the Chaos Boon table, be sure to have a camera handy. If he wins the Chaos lottery, you want to be sure and record the look on your opponent’s face when a Daemon Prince erupts from your mob of cultist lasbolt-catchers like a stripper from a birthday cake. Especially since it’ll probably never happen again.
    • If you're dakka-ing your cultists up with autoguns, you might as well give the Cultist Champion a shotgun to give him an extra mid-range shot. Unlike Guard officers and vets, he doesn't have anything better to choose from, and since it's taken rather than replacing something, you're not sacrificing an attack for it.
  • Tzaangors (Wrath of Magnus): Tzaangors are similar to Cultists, but with +1 Weapon Skill, Toughness and the Mark of Tzeentch. They're in an odd place price-wise, costing 20 points more than a base Cultist unit, but not getting a champion unless they pay for one. They also start dual wielding close combat weapons, and must pay extra if they want pistols. They have zero special, heavy or melee weapons options, even for the Twistbray. Their Auxiliary formation makes them a respectable skirmish unit, but otherwise they're in an awkward space where they're too pricey to be cheap, and too cheap/fragile to be elite.
    • Their "Relic Hunters" special rule gives them a bonus in assaults against anyone wielding a unique artifact: they want to steal it for their daemonic masters! This ability is marginal at best, for while it makes them to be a more effective tarpit against expensive HQs and special characters, it does nothing against lists that don't do herohammer.
    • An important thing to note about Tzaangor's in comparison to regular cultists is that essentially you are paying 2 extra points per model for +1 weapon skill, +1 toughness and a 6++ invuln save that can be buffed further by the Thousand Sons "blessing of Tzeentch" special rule (that rule only affects units with VotLW). effectively making them cultists with both MoT & MoN, the one thing they lack is range, having to pay a point per model for an auto pistol & chainsword, as well as no access to the flamer and heavy stubber. Effectively they are better at being exactly what they need to be for a T Sons army, CQC blobs that can soak up wounds, tangle with SPESS MARINES, and keep your opponents infantry at bay while your Psykers prepare their mind bullets.
    • These bird-headed mutants are close to Ork Boyz in their stats and abilities, but not necessarily in role. Boyz are cheaper with an extra attack, Furious Charge, and the WAAAAGH! Their guns hit harder as well, albeit less accurately, and they have access to Shootas and Big Shootas to put out a good number of shots at medium range. Tzaangors have their (weak) invulnerable save and more initiative, and don't fight each other when they fail a morale test. Tzaangors also have their formation(see below) which gives them an equivalent to the WAAAAGH! that they lack when taken in a CAD.

Dedicated Transport

  • Rhino: Chaos gets the Rhino, and many of the normal guidelines to using it apply here as well. However, the Chaos Vehicle armory has more options than its loyalist counterpart; remember that the main advantage of the Rhino is it is "tough for its cost", so the moment you saddle it with upgrades, it loses that advantage. Besides Dozer Blades, the options worth considering are Dirge Casters (as shutting down enemy overwatch is nice), Havoc Launchers (Chaos does not get Razorbacks, and it's a fairly decent weapon), and maybe the occasional Combi-Weapon if you're running a Rhino Rush list.
    • It is completely legal to load up a SINGLE RHINO with an extra combi-bolter, combi-weapon of your choice, AND a havoc launcher. Sure, it's not cost effective or a good idea, but it sure looks cool and is decently killy!

Elites

Cult Marines are now elites! If you want them as troops, you need a Lord with an appropriate mark (Sorceror for Thousand Sons).

  • Chosen - Be very, very careful with fielding chosen now as they will get very VERY expensive. That said, Chosen got one weird ass buff in the new Codex; no longer can they infiltrate, but they get 2 attacks base(3 EACH total, 2 base, 1 for CC weapon/pistol) and get access to a metric fuck ton of war gear. Like I said, be very careful as you will spend a small fortune on the FOC slot here. If you're not running Plague Marines, Chosen are handy as a special weapon squad, with their ability to tote around a whole pile of special weapons regardless of squad size. Don't equip them all with power weapons and claws like the Dark Vengeance kit suggests, unless you have some bizarre attraction to paying Terminator prices for non-Terminator models. Give them four to five Plasma Guns, ruining Terminator armies as they try to dislodge your heavy weapons, you can do this with Havocs but then you lose a precious heavy support choice. Give them five Melta Guns, hide in dense terrain and ruin a mech players day. Also fun with five flamers and Huron giving them Infiltrate. They are good when you need a squad with a specialised role. Flamers could be good charge deterrents and Meltas are just mean combined with a KHARIBDYSS! On the other hand, in small games, especially if using the black legion supplement, where their extra attack and leadership can prove invaluable. These guys *hate* Space Marines, and with MoS and Claws or MoK and Axes WILL fuck their day up hard if they can into close combat. That's probably why VotLW is slightly pricey for em. Hail the gods: If playing Alpha legion JUST TAKE THEM. Infiltrating, free VOTLW plasma chosen are just as stupid as infiltrating Tactical Support Squad from the heresy, have better combat power after firing to, and can be taken as a small outflanking suicide unit or a larger plasma distraction unit. AL also make them far more useful as the shock-assault troops they always wanted to be, where you can mix and match meltas flamers and a power weapon or two, depending on what you expect to face. Even better if you take a few squads. One idea is to Infiltrate larger squads with meltas and maybe a power fist, then outflank smaller special weapon suicide strike squads. They become a very aggressive dangerous Troop choice, so pair them with similarly aggressive support units like Havocs, Heldrakes, Maulerfiends, Bikers (with Bike Lord) and such. Hit them hard and make them suffer. FOR CHAOS!
    • Mark of Khorne: They can be very useful only costing 1 more point than Berzerkers but they have an additional attack -1 WS, lack of fearless, and can gain furious charge from the icon. Giving them a variety of power weapons - read:lightning claws and fists - will enable them to take on just about anything short of terminators, monstrous creatures and super-mechs like Knight Titans. A squad like this can rip through an Imperial Guard army if you deploy right and keep hugging assault.
    • Mark of Nurgle: While expensive, this means your Chosen squad will not get bogged down in combat when in combat with Assault Marines or deep striking assault units. This also allows you to survive heavier amounts of fire power piled onto your squad in the shooting phase, otherwise fear is pointless.
    • Mark of Slaanesh: Allows you to take the Icon of Excess, but that's 35 points more(A steal if you have 10+ models in the squad, Lord and other ICs included). Give these guys MoS and an IoE and plasma guns for FnP, AP2 and I5 goodness. 10 of these guys and a rhino is cheaper than 10 Plague Marines with a rhino. You trade T5, I3 and Plague Knives for 3 attacks(base 2 and they have pistols/ccw) at I5 with access to more special weapons. Once you throw in plasma guns they will be more expensive, but hey, you have more plasma guns. Maybe give one or two a meltagun just in case. They will be hitting first a lot in CC and gunning down anything short of a land raider with ease. Such sweet cacophony.
      • Side-note: Re-gear five of them plus the champion for CC with power weapons, being I5 with FnP and stick them in a Land Raider and watch them outshine Terminators. Oh hey you can also stick 4 more with 4 attacks(per model) on the charge in for added killing power. So. Many. Attacks. Pre-Power Weapons, but still having the IoE, they are the same points cost as 10 'Zerkers with an Icon of Wrath, while having more standard attacks, the same number on the charge, higher initiative(but one less WS, but at this point who cares) AND FnP. Devastating when used properly. Throw in a Dark Apostle and/or Slaanesh Lord and dare anything in the history of ever that isn't Deathwing Knights to fight these in CC without thinking twice.
    • Mark of Tzeentch: 6+ Invulnerable and access to Soul Blaze, but that's for Havoc Heavy Bolter squads, and the 6+ is shitty. Skip. WAIT DON'T SKIP, instead chuck a sorcerer with crimson slaughter supplement with the balestar (ML3 of course) manage to give them a 4++ then a 3++ due to THIS! Also if you get preferred enemy EVERYTHING! Re roll those gets hots and pretty much auto melt terminators with pretty much negating cover saves.... Keep these not so gentlemen around a forgefiend for lulz.
      • Um, actually: Re-rolls are nice and all, but the off chance of rolling forewarning isn't worth the risk of paying for a 6++ the majority of the time. The other marks can get the same re-rolls while benefiting from their mark all the time. You'd be better off with a landing pad and even then you pay for close combat attacks you're not using. Even TSons can only expect a 5++. So yea, do skip.
  • Possessed Marines - Ah, the Possessed. The ever so random knife you can bring to the gunfight that is 7e. While it is true that they got a much-needed upgrade and significantly more options, they still leave a lot to be desired. Last edition, they were 26 points apiece and had to roll their daemonkin power off a D6 once after deployment, and whatever you rolled they were stuck with for the rest of the game. But now they're back, wearing a nice suit and trying to make up for their past negligence. Fleet used to be one of the aforementioned D6 options, but now it's part of their profile by default. Also, as officially part of the daemon club, they get a 5++, also by default, and also with no point increase. Their possible power-rolls each turn (now made on a D3) give them either +1 attack and +1 initiative, power weapon attacks at AP3, or the ability to re-roll all failed to-wound rolls. Still, their most critical flaw is not even the fact that they're a horrible point sink, or that they're fragile as fuck for their cost. No, it's the lack of a proper delivery system that hurts them the most. As it is, they just get shredded before they can even make it into CC. If they do manage to charge while there's some of them around, a ten man squad with a Mark of Slaanesh and an Icon of Excess, which is worth about 325, nets you 30 attacks at S5, I5, with a defense of 3+, 5++ and FNP, which should mop up any MEQ and GEW opposition in no time. Khorne-marked possessed get even more ridiculous, being able to overwhelm even terminator squads through sheer number of incoming S5 attacks... If they manage to make it into close combat.
    • Traitor's Hate Note: There is now a formation that includes a daemon prince and 3 units of possessed, and get this - as long as the prince is alive and nearby, the possessed get all three buffs. That's ridiculously powerful if you can pull it off. Not exactly compettitive material here, but not horrible either.
    • Here are some examples for a 10-model squad (that you want charging from that Land Raider):
      • With a Mark:
        • Khorne (290p): They get 4 attacks each on the charge, 3 if they get charged. Can grind most things to a pulp on volume of high power hits alone.
        • Slaanesh (290p): They are now at I5, which is good against MEQ's - adds survivability.
        • Nurgle (300p): They have now T5, which is always nice, but if you think about it, you want your Possessed to butcher everything on the charge or better yet - in your opponent's next assault phase (so that they can't be shot at during that turn), not to tarpit. The resistance to small arms fire T5 affords is nice, but it won't help against most guns that ignore the possessed's 3+ - ant that's probably what these guys will start eating as soon as they are in line of sight.
        • Tzeentch (310p): 4++ save is great, but compared to other marks, this option lacks the killy-power they should be used for. Then again, if you're getting shot by things that ignore your 3+ armour and flatten you otright, such as battlecannons, it could be good. Only problem is, it is horrendously expensive, so you should think very carefyully about whether you want to mark your guys or just add more bodies..
      • With a corresponding Icon:
        • Khorne (15p): Strength 6 on the charge (Furious Charge doesn't work when you get charged), but they re-roll charge distance already because of Fleet.
        • Slaanesh (35p): Feel no Pain 5+ is sweet as hell, if you plan on getting shot at and surviving for another charge.
        • The other two icons are completely useless, because Possessed already have Fear and have no bolt weapons to receive Soul Blaze. They do still grant +1 to combat resolution, which helps any build of Possessed do their job better.
      • Expensive? Yes, as always. But every one of their daemonkin rolls is good. Treat them as you would a squad of Berserkers: load ten of them into a Land Raider, and then ram them into whatever enemy squad you want dead.
    • Note: IF using the Crimson Slaughter Supplement, they gain a completely different table of results that are, for the most part, better, as well as becoming troops. The results turn to either Shrouded (for both them and their transport), Beasts, or a 3++ with Rending.
    • Note: If you don't buy the comparison to Terminators, ask yourself what'll happen to 10 Terminators if they get hit by a Demolisher cannon, or a Tau Ion Riptide, or an Imperial Knight's Melta Cannon. Just as dead as the Possessed you say? No shit. There is a hard counter to nearly every unit in this game.
    • FYI, if you want to run Khorne possessed, take Daemonkin Allies. They are better (By having the Icon of wrath built in by default as Daemons of Khorne), can be affected by allied Khorne Daemon Loci, and have the same killing power as before.
    • Remember this guys have no grenades, so IC is badly needed if you don't want your super-expensive squad torn to pieces after charging Guardsmen behind the Aegis without even a chance to lift a claw.
  • Noise Marines - These guys are 17 pts. and ideally taken as squads of 8-12. Take some fucking sonic blasters - they're 2/3 salvo bolters that ignore cover, and they're only 3 pts.! Throw in some Blastmasters, which still fire at either S5 AP4 Assault 2/Pinning or S8 AP3 Heavy 1/Blast/Pinning... but now ignore cover, too! Besides gun choices, they also have I5 to a regular Marine's I4. Their higher Initiative means they can be used for assault quite well, but blasters are now salvo, so you cannot charge after volley of sonic death, and you're taking these guys to chase camping units out of cover. Still their CCW costs only 1 pt per model. The champ has access to Slaaneshi goodies in the armoury, too! Go the extra mile, spend 30 points and give these guys Feel No Pain, because drugs. With the new FAQ, you can take a Blastmaster at under 10 men and a second AT 10 men, making them even more awesome! The Noise Champ even gets a CCW for free!
    • For a fun time, join a Sorcerer to a group of Noise Marines and have him roll on the Biomancy table. If you luck out and roll a 5, you can give the squad FnP, Eternal Warrior and, most importantly, Relentless! What's that? Did someone say 24" Assault 3, Ignores Cover Dakkasplooge? Or give the sorcerer Slaanesh powers and go for Symphony of PAIN, a stack-able WS/BS debuff that increases the strength of Sonic weapons. If you can get multiple Sorcerers to roll this ability, you can annihilate anything through shear volleys of NOISE! Two casts on a unit of Plague Marines and Blastmasters instant kill them right through their Feel No Pain!
    • Noise Marines can also be fun if you took Huron Blackheart and a Slaanesh Sorceror. Take a squad of 20, give them all Sonic blasters, AND WATCH WHILE THINGS GET LOUD!!! Use the Sorceror to make all of the Sonic weapons gain +1 strength, and have fun rolling 60 strength 5 ignores cover shots at the enemy with infiltrate from Huron. Extra cookie for you if they have to charge you afterwards.
    • Special Note:Noise Marine could now be the best MEQ in the game. For only one three points more than a standard tactical marine you get Fearless and I5 over ATSKNF and I4. The Blastmaster is downright dirty. FNP is a steal if you take 10+ in a single unit. Sonic weapons add dakka if you need it. For an extra point you an get an extra CCW for an additional attack, essentially making them better than a vanilla marine veteran for two less points. The Champion is great in challenges. '
    • Mathhammer: Sonic Blasters are amazing. GEQ units almost always have cover, generally 4+ or 5+. Removing that AND their armor would be nice enough, but being salvo, stationary Noise Marines put out 3x the firepower of regular marines in the 12-24 inch range. 3x the shots, with +50% or +100% effectiveness (5+ or 4+ cover) against light infantry makes Guard, non-aspect Eldar, Dark Eldar, Nids, and of course Orks cry. Even against 4+, the increased volume of fire is immense. At less than 1.5x the cost of a marine, you get x1.5 to x3 (based on range) the volume of fire, Ignores Cover, and THEN you get higher initiative, easy access to FNP, and fearless, and THEN you get the insane Blast Master and Doom Siren.
  • Khorne Berserkers - Despite coming with a shopping list of weapons and special rules that'd make most Loyalists weep with envy (Fearless, Furious Charge, Rage, Counter Attack, WS5 and two attacks with weapons) Berserkers have taken a bit of a hit compared to the 4th ed book. The extra attack from the Mark of Khorne has been lost, being replaced with Rage and Counter-Attack. This doesn't make an appreciable difference on the charge, as you'll still be getting off a whopping 4 attacks, but becomes more noticeable in protracted combats, as 2 attacks vs. the old book's 3 will make a big difference. And while Counter-Attack is suitably fluffy, any decent general will tell you if your Berserkers get charged, you've used them wrong. You can now takes Chainaxes, which grant AP4, making these guys the utter bane of any horde in the game, but this will push up the cost of an already highly expensive unit. Placement is key - on the charge they'll crush hordes, overwhelm MEQs with sheer volume of attacks and wipe the floor with non-melee units. If they're not charging, they're just Marines with Counter-Attack. Use them wisely.
    • Honestly thought, these guys play second fiddle to regular chaos marines with the MoK, being a ton more expensive (6PPM!), and lacking the ability to take any special weapon out side the crappy plasma pistol. They also require a lord to make then troops.
    • A word for the wise - a Land Raider actually makes a good transport for these guys. AV14 is a wonderful thing. Plunge it into the centre of a soft formation, unload Berserkers. Laugh maniacally. Add dirge casters for even more fun and games - or hell, have Kharn accompany them for giggles. If you've got a unit of Terminators who are Deep Striking, buy them the Land Raider and then stuff the Berserkers in there on turn 1.
    • Just because it keeps getting brought up, if you think Infiltrating these guys with Huron/Ahriman/a lucky roll on the Warlord Traits table is a good idea, remember that YOU CAN NOT ASSAULT THE TURN YOU INFILTRATE.
      • Alternate take: Wanna know what Infiltrate also lets you do? Outflank. Set those guys up for a side charge. Of course, you can't assault the turn you come on, but makes a fine threat that cannot be ignored.
      • Alternate alternate take: Get these guys a dreadclaw. Bitches love dreadclaws.
  • Plague Marines - These guys are the favourites of many a player, and it's not hard to see why. Got a price bump in the last codex to 24 points each - pricey, but they get: Feel No Pain, T5, frag, krak, AND defensive grenades - oh, and now they have poisoned close combat attacks! They are terrifyingly hard to kill without resorting to a vubdicator, or aggressive close-combat squads, thanks in part to the T5/FNP combo - only S10 (dreads, smashing monsters, demolishers) hits ignore ungodly 6-th edition T5-FNP(5+) of plags. In short: these guys can take huge abuse from just about anything, and will require very strong weapons or very specific units to remove. They double on offence, too - with no minimum unit size for weapons and the ability to take a transport, they can be thrown in a METAL BOX and hurled directly at enemy formations with twin meltaguns. Toughness 5 and the weakened Feel No Pain means you're going to get those off and possibly more whilst drawing lots of enemy fire away from other units. With the sheer volume of grenades they get, Plague Marines can counter several types of enemies, too. Beware the unit's low initiative count; most enemies will strike first, and a Power Weapon or two on a fast unit is one of the few things that can fuck up this unit's shit (though a bit less so, now).
    • Plague Marine squads, probably owing to their high base price, are the only cult marines to get their champion for free(and still get the obligatory boost to Leadership and Attack). This combined with less of a limit on special weapons than other squads, means that small squads are much more cost-effective and deadlier than running larger squads.
    • Mathhammer: Vs small arms fire (str 4, BS 4), they are ungodly. 2/3 chance to hit, 1/3 chance to wound, 1/3 chance to get through armor, 2/3 chance to get through FNP. It takes 20 shots to kill ONE Plague Marine. Even if it's AP 3 (insanely lucky rending, Thousand Sons, Vengence Bolts), in light (5+) cover it's still 10 shots. In said cover they have a 55% chance to ignore Battle Cannons and Plasma, better than a Thousand Sons Marine.
  • Thousand Sons: Oh boy, you've just stumbled one of the the most skub units in the entire game. So, you see, Thousand Sons are pretty cool; they were doing that whole Egyptian robot thing before the Necrons boarded the hype train and they have one of the best Horus Heresy stories ever (and two of the best Horus Heresy books, for that matter). And their rules look pretty cool too: AP3 bolters, 4++ invulnerable save standard, Fearless, a Mastery Level 1 Sorcerer (with force weapon!) as the Champion...and then the issues come up. They're Slow and Purposeful, meaning they cannot Overwatch, Run, or pursue fleeing opponents. It lets them assault enemies after rapid-firing their Bolters...but chances are that a good round of shooting will leave your opponent well out of assault range. The unit is also incredibly expensive at 23 points per model, and the mandatory aspiring Sorcerer is 35 points extra. The Sorcerer also comes with a Mark of Tzeentch, meaning he must generate his one and only power from the Discipline of Tzeentch. This means you either have a Doombolt vector, or the unit is serving as a Warp Charge battery. Those AP3 bolters, by the way? Yes, they're nice (especially if you catch some fellow Marines out in the open), but there's either so much cover out there, or armies can easily bring their own cover (or Jink, or use Invisibility, or whatever...) that it usually doesn't matter...at least until you start tossing out buffs or debuffs of your own; be it a Daemon Prince of Nurgle with Grotti the Nurgling, or casting Enfeeble, dropping an enemy unit from T4-T3 ups the kill factor of Thousand Sons versus Power Armor that they become akin to a small Krak Missile squad, Ghoststorm from Ectomancy lets them shunt into better firing positions to negate enemy cover, while Geomortis has one power to let them ignore cover and line of sight. Don't forget they go down just as easily as a normal Marine to light arms fire...easier in fact, because your enemy won't feel as bad firing a LOT of dakka at them. Also, if you wind up against a lightly armored enemy (Dark Eldar and Orks come to mind), you've wasted your AP3.
    • They now have the ability for every guy to take warpflamers (normal flamers with -1 AP and Soul Blaze) and one in 10 guys can get a soulreaper cannon, 24" s5 ap3 heavy 4 Rending! Overall considered to be not worth it, but now the Tzeentch table got updated so the sorcerer isn't completely shit. And they now get +1 invuln in a Thousand Sons detachment if they get a blessing cast on them.
    • Now have models :D
    • Alternative Opinion: However, as usual, it's best not just to listen to Internet Advice. Many people do prefer to run them, just because, as mentioned above, they have really, really Awesome fluff (and they can do really well in friendly games). Still, it's best to avoid them in anything approaching a competitive environment. If you do decide to take them, it's best to take them in a Rhino, to provide them with some mobility to get around.
    • Alternative Opinion: While it is true that a primarily Thousand Sons-based army is noncompetitive,this isn't because they are a bad unit, but because they fill a very specific niche of bringing enormous pain to MEQs, and they're somewhat overpriced even for that. Honestly, if you want to have a fluffy and semi-competitive army, the best strategy would probably be to lean heavily on Daemon allies and dedicated transports in order to support and mutually complement your Thousand Sons squads.To sum it up, Thousand Sons can kick all kinds of ass, you just need to really know how to use them, and who to use them with.
    • Although seemingly a shooty unit, don't forget that Slow & Purposeful prevents them from overwatching. So if an enemy squad threatens to charge them, use slow and purposeful to rapid fire and charge instead, denying the charge bonuses from the enemy.
    • Mathhammer: I do not want to fill this page with overly long proofs, so consider this: Plague Marines and Noise Marines (With banner) better resist small arms fire, and with 5+ cover, better resist ap3+ fire. While stationary, Noise Marines (with sonic guns) at 12-24 inches fire three times as many shots, tying them for marine destruction, and beating them vs light infantry. Their main advantage is when there is no cover (4++ doesn't care about, and their high AP benefits from enemies having no other save), so load a group in a rhino and plop them on an exposed objective. In the open they tank Plasma, Battle Cannons, and Krak missiles better than the other two, can shoot most infantry to death, and force bikes to jink or die. If only they were a point or two cheaper... Not Mentioned: Khorne marines, as they are melee and thus completely different.
  • Chaos Terminators: The good part: they get crazy cheap Combi-Weapons which are purchasable for each guy in the squad, cost less than the Loyalist scum counterparts and get Combi-Bolters which are better than Storm bolters on the charge. The bad part: they lack the cool Loyalist special rule ATSKNF, they have worse starting gear (power weapons as opposed to power fists), are missing out on the long range dakka with Combi-Bolters, and have fewer wargear options than loyalists do (sorry no Assault Cannons, CMLs, Storm Shields, or Thunder Hammers). On the other hand, they do have access to Icons and Marks like most generic squads. These make Terminators pretty goddamn scary, but it costs quite a lot to load a squad up with them. You can also still take actual combi-weapons and a special melee weapon (thanks to the new FAQ). Especially at higher points levels, make sure to take a Land Raider as a dedicated transport to save a Heavy Support slot. Here are a few popular loadout ideas:
    • Termicide: Give every single member of the squad a Combi-Weapon (usually Combi-Meltas, possibly a Combi-Flamer or two). This allows you to take small "suicide" squads of Termies that Deep Strike in, eat a tank or two with Combi-Meltas, then threaten a squad for Combi-Flamers and their power fists should they survive. This is only advised for higher points limits, as it can be quite expensive.
      • A three man squad with just power weapons and Combi-Weapons will only cost 112pts. Take Power Mauls/Axes with Combi-Flamers and you got the Loyalist's equivilent to Drop Pod Assault Marines with Flamers, but a little more expensive and better.
    • Close-Combat Anvil: Put 'em in a Land Raider (or Deep Strike them, or do a THIS IS SPARTAN ASSAULT TANK!) supported by a nasty Terminator Lord; Lightning Claws and Chainfists are, of course, advised for melee weapons. The Heavy Flamer is cheap and drops a nice S5 AP4 template. The Reaper Autocannon, while expensive, does offer accurate, long-range S7 AP4 fire support on the move, something that Havocs can't really do (unless you play Death Guard or give your DP the 35 pt. Fighter Aces upgrade). Forget Khorne (do you really need that extra bit of initial close-combat punch that only helps rout an enemy squad and leave you sitting ducks for the enemy to shoot at your terminators next turn?); take Nurgle in a small-arms heavy meta that focuses on dealing with terminators by forcing saves, or Tzeentch if you're in a plasma heavy meta, are probably the best Marks to give these guys (heavy guns don't give a damn about the difference between T4 and T5, and the Chainfists ignore I5 anyway). If cost is not a factor and you're willing to get the best of both worlds (offence and defence), give em the Mark of Slaanesh, take an Icon of Excess and equip them all with lightning claws and veterans of the long war to make Space Marines cry.
  • Scarab Occult Terminators (Wrath of Magnus): Thousand Sons Chaos Terminators in blue Egyptian-themed Tartaros Terminator Armor(similarly priced to standard Terminators but with a pricier yet more powerful squad leader). They are Fearless and come with the standard Tzeentch Terminator 2+/4++, khopeshes(power swords) and AP3 combi-bolters. Their sergeant is a Mastery Level 2 psyker with a Force Staff who can roll his second power from any discipline, and has TWO WOUNDS. The squad can take two heavy weapons per five, both a Hellfyre Missile Launcher(a Cyclone that has half the range and only fires kraks despite costing the same) and either an AP3 Heavy Flamer(if somehow you are still having doubts about being able to beat 3+ power armor) or a Soulreaper Cannon. These guys are NOT Slow and Purposeful, rather following standard Terminator Armor rules, presumably because their rubric nature and their agile Tartaros armor cancel each other out. Note that unlike regular Terminators, these guys can't take any combi-weapons or AP2 melee weapons, and have minimum squad size five, so be warned: you can't do a cheap termicide with these guys, despite their other strengths. This overspecialization also means they will have serious trouble dealing with other TEQ and with walkers, so don't rely on them as the only unit in your list.
    • note: They are expensive, but their seargent is a FUCKING SORCERER that not only is in termie armor, but has the same stats as a FUCKING Sorcerer, like WS5, and two wounds, seriously these guys are a steal, but don't put them up against powerfists or Ap1/2 or they will be very unhappy.
    • note: Chaos Lords of the thousand sons get one of the most brutal melee weapons in the game in the form of Seers Bane. Take a Chaos Lord in Terminator Armour, have the sorcerer cast force, and watch as he eats TEQ units solo
  • Mutilators: Unlike most other units, Mutilators are taken in squads of 1 to 3 models, meaning you can run them "solo" should you wish. Effectively two-wound "melee" Terminators, with the Slow and Purposeful and Daemon rules, Mutilators are figuratively (if not literally) Swiss-Army Sword. Whenever they're in close combat, in every fight sub-phase they choose a pair of weapons to use for that fight subphase, with the restriction they cannot use the same weapon in two consecutive Player Turns: Chainfists, Lightning claws, Power Swords, Power Axes, Axes or Power Mauls. While relatively cheap for a two-wound Terminator, they have their problems: They're "Slow And Purposeful" meaning you have to go out of their way to use them aggressively, they have no ranged options whatsoever, and bad scatters can easily ruin your plans. They have a very low number of attacks meaning they're not actually that good at carving through large units, though they can "solo" vehicles or small squads of Bikers...assuming they're not shot, and the opponent doesn't just Turbo away. Rather, think of solo Mutilators as a distraction in conjunction with an army built around them, or use them to "spread a net" and lock down your opponent's movement options. Worst comes to worst, a single Mutilator with the Mark of Nurgle can be a cheapish Objective Holder that isn't worth shooting at. Their slowness means you need to plan accordingly. If you're running Daemon allies or don't mind burning wounds off your Sorcerer from the getgo, Cursed Earth helps Mutilators by providing a "no-Scatter" Deep Strike zone, as well as improving their Invulnerable for the time being. Ectomancy lets you Soulswitch with them and improve their threat range, while Geomortis can give them terrain to surf on.
    • Marks: For most builds, you want the Mark of Nurgle. Toughness 5 saves you from being doubled-down by Strength 8 weapons, and makes you slightly more resilient to small arms fire. You "can" run them with Tzeentch if you're running Daemonology, since it would give them a 3++, but this isn't an efficient deathstar compared to other options. Khorne "does" give you an extra attack on the first round of close combat, but doesn't help you survive to get there. Slaanesh is arguably the worst because two of your three main weapons are Unwieldy, thus making the Initiative bonus pointless, plus you cannot pursue enemies due to Slow and Purposeful. Overall, they are not great - unless you count the Cult of Destruction. Go read on it in its own section - it's hilarious.
  • Helbrute - The Chaos Dreadnought, the Helbrute's claim to fame (or infamy) is the "Crazed" rule: Whenever the Helbrute takes a glancing or penetrating hit, then you roll a D3 on the following turn to see what happens: 1 forces him to "Fire Frenzy" (he counts as Immobilized for the turn, and fires twice, preferably targeting an enemy that took a Hull Point from him), 2 makes him ignore shaken/stunned results and give him rage, and a roll of 3 is the same as a roll of 2 but the Helbrute also gets fleet but must run if not within 12" of an enemy unit.
    • Compared to Loyalist Dreadnoughts, you don't get a "free" Storm Bolter, nor do you get Assault Cannons, the ability to double-up on twin-linked Autocannons (you make do with a single piddly Reaper Autocannon), or to be run in a squadron (eh). You do get the option for a Thunder Hammer or Power Scourge, as well as the option to double-down on fists (though you will want a gun, since every bit helps). The Helbrute is the only unit besides the Obliterator with access to Multimeltas or Plasma Cannons; the Multimelta can find use in the Mayhem Pack formation, but otherwise its range leaves something to be desired. This anon personally prefers Plasma, simply because it only takes one well-placed blast to blast a hole in a unit of bikes, and that's enough to threaten your opponent to Jink.
    • Working around Crazed: If you take a Sorcerer with Ectomancy or Geomortis, you have powers which allow the Helbrute to move despite being immobilized, so Fire Frenzy does not become as much of a hassle. Though it will probably be FAQ'd otherwise, Power Of the Machine Spirit does not have any restrictions against being used when a model runs, so you could use it to keep your Helbrute firing whenever it gets Blood Rage. Alternately, take clear note of the fact that the Helbrute must run only if there is no enemy within 12" of him, and consider that Allies of Convenience are considered enemies. That Ork Big Mek providing a Kustom Forcefield save to your Helbrute would also prevent him from being forced to run off and jeopardize your battle plans.
    • Knight Hunting - Thanks to the GW Errata giving them 4 attacks base combined with the option for free Hatred(Imperials) from Black Crusade, a Helbrute has the attacks/means to seriously damage if not destroy a Knight for a fraction of the cost...provided it can survive to get close. Terrain remains your friend of course. The problem is they both have the same Initiative, so by default you're engaging in piece-trading, the idea being losing a Helbrute is worth finishing off a Knight. That said, it doesn't have to remain a MAD scenario, especially if you have Summoning/Incursion. Fiends of Slaanesh are a notable unit worth summoning, because when they charge, any enemy unit engaged with them suffers a -5 Initiative Penalty. This would notably let your Dreads get the drop on most anything in the game (except the odd Bloodthirster or Solitaire, but those are extreme edgecases), as you'd even be able to get to swing first versus Wraithknights and stuff; while this won't matter as much against the Wraithcannon/Suncannon variants that like to "hang back" and bombard you, the Skatach remains the most popular variant nowadays and it's a notoriously short-ranged combatant.
  • Chaos Contemptor Pattern Dreadnought (Forge World): Similar to the loyalist version, in that it has a WS5, S7, FA13 and Fleet all in one death-slinging package. Compared to a loyalist Contemptor, they replace Atomantic Shielding with a Hellfire Reactor, which bestows a 4+ save against glancing hits and a 6+ save against pens. Oh, and he deals a S2 AP2 I10 automatic hit to any enemy psyker in base contact, in case you face Grey Knights. The Contemptor gets access to ranged weapons like Heavy Conversion Beamers and Butcher Cannons along with the standard dreadnought weapons, but you really shouldn't; these guys need to be in close combat. Chainfists and power fists are the go-to here; there may be an exception for the Havoc Launcher as it's cheap and doesn't take out a close-combat arm not to mention the in-built heavy flamer and twin-linked bolter. Plasma Blasters (an assault 2, 18" Plasma Gun) and Soul Burners (changed: S and AP 4 rending blast at 24") can however push it over the threshold of pricey. Regardless, remember when Grey Knights do their 'Psyfleman Dreadnought' thing? You now have an even better, choppier version albeit much more costly. Get your cup out to collect your opponents tears as you ruthlessly obliterate his Devilfishes with Pulse Carbine bearing Fire Warriors inside. BA rhino with Sternguard Combi-Melta spam? No problem, (swiftly followed by a very ironic) KA-BOOM! Speaking of things going boom, keep in mind that it also has the Loyalist version's larger explosion range if it gets a Vehicle Explodes result on the vehicle damage roll and that the ensuing explosion will possess the Soulblaze rule as well. On top of that, they can be dedicated to the Gods as follows:
    • Khorne: Your Contemptor gets Rage and Rampage. This is arguably the best one because of its price plus extra armour running you 225 points. 7 attacks on the charge that needs to be destroyed or immobilised to stop it reaching CC - eep!
    • Tzeentch: Your Contemptor gets to re-roll 1s on Invulnerable saves, and all its Heavy Flamers get Soul Blaze. It's... underwhelming. The price paid is a bit much for the re-rolls and Soul Blaze just sucks.
    • Nurgle: Your Contemptor gets It Will Not Die. Pricey, but it can help your survival; won't do much if you're immobilised or lose an arm, though. If you want a thing that just won't die and keeps regenerating itself, consider the Decimator instead.
    • Slaanesh: No, you don't get your sonic weapons back, but you do assault and defensive grenades. Do note that nothing says you cannot throw these grenades despite them being "count as", so enjoy an additional blast or blinding attack. Still, not super great considering...
  • Slaaneshi Sonic Dreadnought (Forge World): Guess who's back Bitches! The Sonic Dreadnought is back in IA:13 is a really awesome addition. It starts naked with a TL Sonic Blaster, Doom-Siren and CHAINFIST w/ Storm bolter (no mistake... even references it later) as well as the WS/BS5 statline of a venerable. It also counts as having grenades. It doesn't have the same upgrade options, so there is no Scourge or Thunder Hammer, whilst the Sonic Blasters may be upgraded to the usual guns or second arm with TL bolter... not Storm Bolter. But you'll replace it with a Blastmaster because all of the other rules on the Dreadnought benefit your sonic weapons greatly. First you may choose to overcharge your sonic weapons and give them Rending / Gets-Hot.(It should be noted for 20 points more you can always having Rending without Gets Hot, but you'll also have to spend 5 points on a TL-Heavy Bolter or TL-Autocannon, neither of which ignores cover) Also if you remain still in the movement phase you may double your rate of fire for the turn with all your sonic weapons. Meaning twice the pain. There's no reason to NOT get this dreadnought over a Helbrute unless you are trying to save points or are adamantly adhering to a mono-god list.
    • The Sonic Dreadnought fulfills chaos's need for a rifleman, while maintaining its ability to kick ass in close combat. They work very well alongside static emplacements like artillery pieces and tanks where they can baby sit the heavy support and still make themselves useful with a blastmaster. Even Knight Titans will think twice before assaulting anything near this stunted box, or else risk getting chain fisted in the next assault phase.
  • Ferrus Infernum Dreadnought (Forgeworld): The other replacement to your Helbrute, more generic and customisable than the Sonic Dread, but no less potent. Starts off with the WS/BS 5 combo making it better and all of the standard weapon options. After that, you may dedicate it to your chosen God for either Rage/Rampage (Khorne), IWND (Nurgle), Assault/Defensive Grenades (Slaanesh) or 6+ Invulnerable Save and Soul Blaze flamers (Tzeentch). Finally, you may further customise it by adding ONE extra special rule.
    • Veteran of the Long War - if it ever EXPLODES! you roll on a table that can either turn the model into a gibbering flesh monster which at least mitigates some of your loss / re-rolls the explodes result so you might get something else / Dark Apotheosis either way this upgrade depends on you exploding... not simply being wrecked. It can also issue Challenges, as if it were a Character.
    • Host of the Daemonic Icon - for starters he ignores Shaken/Stunned on 2+, next anyone who hurts him in the Fight Sub-phase immediately takes a S4 AP3 hit per hull point lost. Therefore charge this guy directly into MEQ and your enemy will hate you. Good for Dreads with blast weapons where either of these results on the damage table would usually mean you can't fire at all.
    • Destroyer of Cities - you turn your dreadnought into the loyalist siege dreadnought and must replace your arms with the Assault Drill w/ heavy flamer and get a Flamestorm Cannon. You also increase front AV by +1 and get move-through-cover like an Ironclad Dreadnought. Not a bad choice for both vehicle hunting and close range infantry purging. In the event you're playing Cities of Death, it also gets a free Wrecker stratagem.
  • Decimator Daemon Engine (Forge World): It's the Chaos Contemptor's retarded brother piled into Imperial Armour 13. They're pricey at 205 pts., its armor is now better than a Contemptor's (by one freaking point on the rear), and not as fighty (WS/BS/I 3) at first, although it does have more attacks and a higher strength. But after reading its rules, you'll notice that it can bounce shaken/stunned results on a 2+ because of Daemonic Resilience, gets a 5+ invulnerable save for being a daemon and can deepstrike. The big deal with this guy is the "Unholy Vigour" rule: it can regrow destroyed weapons and un-immobilise on 5+ AND can revive itself from a Wrecked result on a 6+ ON ANY TURN, regaining D3 HP in the process! The only downside is that rolling a 1 once it's wrecked means it stays dead for good, but why look a gift horse in the mouth? The Decimator can give up one or both of its claws to mount the following weapons:
    • Decimator Siege Claws: your Decimator comes stock with two of these, providing a total of 4 S8 AP 2 Lightning Claw attacks plus built in heavy flamers. They also confer smash with some extra fun: a smash attack against a building or transport that successfully penetrates will do an additional D6 heavy flamer attacks against the occupants per heavy flamer, meaning two siege claws and a charge gives you a potential 6D6 heavy flamer hits against anyone inside - Falcon PUNCH! This is the seven billionth thing Forge World has given us with the word "siege" in it.
    • Butcher Cannon: Not much of point taking these anymore, seeing how a Forgefiend already has two guns with an identical profile plus pinning. For added redundancy, there's now heavy weapon platforms that mount the Hades Autocannon, at a fraction of the Fiend's cost. I guess if you really, REALLY wanna cover the board in S8 AP4 fire, then by all means take a decimator with butcher cannons.
    • Storm Laser: 36" S6 AP3 Heavy D3+2. Purchased as a pair, lasers are hilariously effective against anything with a 3+ save, especially things that might be a bit too scary up close. Death Company, Lychguard, Crisis Suits, Tyranid Monstrous Creatures: Deep Strike a Decimator in and laser those pesky trouble spots.
    • Soul Burner Petard: One higher strength and worse AP compared to the Contemptor's Soul Burner and it uses the large blast marker as opposed to the small. This weapon will squish Orks/Bugs/Guard and all other manner of tarpits to dust. You only need to buy one of these (Ordnance weapon), retaining a Siege Claw for the fighty bastards that get too close.
    • Heavy Conversion Beamer: Very expensive and radically alters the way you play this guy. There isn't much this gun can do that butcher cannons (which are now pointless) or siege claws will. On the one hand, you can hide this thing in some ruins and if you're lucky, you might be able to tag one or two vehicles/squads before they get out of its useful range. Best give it a pass - the Defiler does this better.
  • The Decimator can be dedicated to one of the Gods (Note: you require an independent character with that same mark/daemon of same god in order to do so) as follows:
    • Khorne: Gains the Rampage USR for +15 pts. Against hordes you're guaranteed an additional D3 attacks, not to mention the damage a double siege claw or claw/soul-burner and Khorne dedication can do to MEQs and TEQs.
    • Nurgle: Gains the It Will Not Die USR for +25 pts! Arguably the best, no matter what the load-out. Think of it as a possessed vindicator, only better. Send this badass barrelling against the enemy lines as it just flat out ignores being shot at by most weapons. Seriously, any army that isn't equipped for the job will have an outright bitch of a time putting down a Nurgle Decimator!
    • Slaanesh: Counts as armed with assault and defensive grenades. Now that you can Deep Strike this one is... still iffy. You are probably going to go last against space marines and if you're fighting guardsmen or Tau, you have heavy flamers that can do the job better. You could alternatively use the defensive grenades and take a conversion beamer, which is still kinda puzzling because the defiler does that mobile artillery thing way better.
    • Tzeentch: Re-roll to-hits of 1's for shooting attacks and counts Heavy Flamers (if any) gain the Soul Blaze special rule for +25 pts. It's expensive and Soul Blaze sucks, but re-rolling 1's for shooting makes this the double-gun Dakka dedication. If you were planning on taking storm lasers, you're taking this.
  • Plague Ogryns (Forge World): 50 pts./model ogryns with S6, FnP and D6 poisoned 2+ attacks. Just like everything Nurgle here, they require you to take a squad of plague marines to field these. Unfortunately, they have Slow and Purposeful and really shitty armour meaning that they actually manage to be more useless than Mutilators. Take them if you want to see them go down to bolters before they get anywhere near an enemy that will likely hold out against them!
  • Spined Chaos Beast (Forge World: 140pts for WS5,S7, T6, 4 wounds, I4 and 3 attack MC. Not at all bad. Comes stock with Fearless, IWND, Daemonic Instability (what? but it's Fearless?) and Deep Strike. The two major downsides of this unit is that it's unit composition is 1 and cannot be taken in groups which takes up our precious Elite Slots and it MUST be a Daemon of a specific god:
    • Daemon of Khorne: FREE. Furious. Charge. S8 on the charge is a fucking steal for 0 points!
    • Daemon of Tzeentch: it's only 5pts. It gives you dick in terms of psychic powers, but 5 points to re-roll invulnerable save 1's is slick. Pairs nicely with Divination 4++ re-rolling 1's; adding Cursed Earth will give it a 3++ save! T6 with 3++, oh please do throw your anti vehicle shots at me!
    • Daemon of Nurgle: Garbage at 15 points. Giving a close combat unit Slow and Purposeful should be against the rules or something. Oh sure, it has shrouded, but it already has a 5++ and if you're gonna walk this guy through cover, you're gonna waste the game not getting it into combat.
    • Daemon of Slaanesh: The other 15 point upgrade, but this one's worth taking. Fleet, Rending and +3" to your runs makes this the speed demon dedication. It's actually better in a Daemons army, where it serves as a cheap replacement for a Slaanesh-Grinder.

Fast Attack

  • Chaos Bikers - If Loyalist Bikers can best be thought of as a "horse archer" unit, engaging at close range before withdrawing to a more tactically advantageous position, Chaos Bikers are better thought of as a "pursuit cavalry" option. They're one point cheaper than their Loyalist counterparts, with the usual lack of Grav/ATSKNF/Chapter Tactics that this entails, but unlike Loyalist Bikers, they get the Bolt Pistol/CCW bonus for an extra attack each. While White Scars and Ravenwing will use "Hit and Run" to avoid getting bogged down by tarpits, Chaos uses extra attacks to hope to break through.
    • Loadout: The first thing you'll notice is you have the option to give two models Special Weapons (Flamers/Meltas/Plasmas), by trading in either the secondary Close Combat Weapon your Bikers get, or trading in your Bike's Twin-Linked Bolters. Both options have their pros and cons, but this anon's personal opinion is to swap out the Twin-Linked Bolters. You only get to fire one gun anyway, and you want every attack you can get when it comes time to assault. When it comes to Bike Squads, it may be ok to go against conventional wisdom and actually buy a Power Weapon for your Champion; unlike vanilla Marines, you have the mobility to dictate your own fights, and a few lucky rolls on the Chaos Boon table could have your squad turn into a surprisingly frightening DISTRACTION CARNIFEX!
    • Marks: When it comes to Marks, you can take them or leave them. Khorne gives extra weight on the charge, while Slaanesh grants access to the Icon of Excess, which does better in this formation due to the improved toughness. The Mark of Nurgle costs more on these guys than normal, simply because it ups your Toughness. While this can give you near-immunity to small-arms fire, it provides no defense against attacks which don't work against toughness. The Mark of Tzeentch is even more pointless on these guys than on other units; while it's cheap, a 6+ Invulnerable won't mean much when you have the option to Jink.
    • Retinue: Bikers are an excellent retinue for a Slaaneshi Biker or a Khorne Juggernaut Lord. They provide ablative wounds and clear out the chaff while the Lord takes care of priority targets. Don't be afraid to put a Lightning Claw on the Champion, this way he can challenge and eliminate the enemy squad leader and allow the Lord to slaughter the rank-and-file. Remember, the Lords benefit from the Icons as well!
    • One of the greatest units in the Chaos Codex: With the addition of Traitor Legions these guys have become something amazing! Death Guard? T6, Fearless and FNP with ReRolls of 1 to FNP PLUS SHROUDED IF 18" AWAY albeit I3. Emperors Children? COMBAT DRUGS ON THESE GUYS! T6? 3A BASE? WS5/BS5? I6?. Black Legion? Crusader, Hatred EVERYTHING! World Eaters? 2D6 movement which they can move 12" during movement AND Charge with Re-Rolling charge ranges + Rage + Furious Charge?! Seriously. If you're playing Traitor Legions and the retrospecting Legions Formation Detatchment pick up like 3 units of these guys plus they have Objective Secured AND Double Boons so kit out those Sarges! Dakka plus Choppy and in many armies Fearless. Underated is an understatement. Only the Thousand Sons players should skip them, really...because they're probably playing the Grand Coven anyways.
  • Chaos Raptors - Chaos' Assault Marines with Fear. Reasonably priced and can get shit done. Icons and double-special weapons make them respectable. Can have up to 15 models in a unit. Slaanesh and Khorne are easily the best (and cheapest) mark options for them. A solid unit, through and through; you can't really go wrong with Raptors.
    • Loadouts: Meltaguns tend to be the weapon of choice. They let you light up transports or heavier vehicles, while your Bolt Pistols/CCWs let you shred through lighter infantry. Flamers are alright except for overlapping roles, while Plasma Guns are not particularly worth taking, as you do NOT have Relentless and won't be able to charge after firing them. Unless you're deathguard, in which case go ham. Plasma pistols are a useless choice since Melta guns are 5 points less, don't Get Hot and don't take away either close combat weapon.
    • Marks: Mark of Slaanesh makes for three I5 attacks each (on the charge), Icon of Khorne gives 4 I4, Icon of Nurgle makes them T5 (and thus harder to kill), and Tzeentch gives them Invulnerable saves which you'll almost never make :)
  • Warp Talons: Oh, boy, here comes the proverbial shit twinkie in the CSM codex. Here it goes. Take everything you may like about Raptors (but strip them of ALL THE FUCKING GRENADES! I mean what the hell Phil?!) and turn the diarrhea up a few notches and TA-DA! 30 pts. a you power armoured dude with a pair of lightning claws, the daemon USR and when he deep strikes with the rest of his crew, their pimping bling has a chance of blind everyone within 6". Usually a 33% chance (against marines, if they don't have a character in that squad). Should you actually manage to blind the enemy, most things will hit you on a 6 at range or a 5 in close combat making them easy, defenseless pickings. Too bad it almost never works. These guys should have been your first wave, coupled with Oblits for fire support and Maulers for hard targets. What makes them extremely shit is the fact that they can't assault after deepstriking, which means that even if they did manage to get in turn 2, they will get shot at by everything they didn't blind (read everything) and then do some more dying when it gets time to eat that overwatch. Theoretically they can be good with an icon of Slaanesh (Lol nope) and a Jump Pack Lord for extra punch. However, the cost is so prohibitive and the potential so limited that... No. Just no. Also work exceedingly well in Planetstrike missions; the 7th ed update in Sanctus Reach means that Deep Striking attackers can still assault after arriving on the table, meaning your Warp Talons can truly benefit from inflicting blindness on nearby units and don't have to stand around for a turn while they get blasted away. Bottom line is - they're just too fragile to survive and too expensive to take in large enough numbers to make a dent in the enemy lines after getting shot at for a turn. It really is a shame, cause they have one of the most dynamic, detailed kits out there (same one as the Raptors).
    • STOP THE PRESSES:: The Raptor Talon formation introduced in Traitor's hate finally gave Warp Talons some love. See, now they can not only assault on the turn they came in - their fear ability might actually turn out to be useful with that -1 to LD AND fear, if two or more units manage to charge. Now, scatters will be scatters, so it's not guaranteed that you will always be able to get two units in CC - but if you manage to do so on anything less than a TEQ chances are you're going to tear it a new asshole. Now - as counter-intuitive as that may seem, almost any mark EXCEPT khorne is a good fit on these guys. Slaanesh & banner (warp talons can't take any banners, just marks) makes them more survivable as they will hit first, ignore armour saves and if they get hit back FNP. Nurgle helps you not get thinned down by overwatch and not lose dudes to regular CCW's. Tzeentch could help you if you've just charged someone who can ignore your 3+, as a 4++ can be decent. Overall, using this formation is a gamble, but unlike anything else you could do with these guys, it has the potential to actually pay off.
    • Alternative opinion:: Blinding a 3-dudes XV-88 Apocalypse squad (can't be done anymore since all Tau suits get immunity to Blind from their Wargear) and giving a turn to your machines (especially Fiends, Helbrutes and Defilers) to shoot and get to CqC could be worth the risk, you can shred the armoured weeaboo next turn. Unless you took the Dimensional Key and manage to activate it, you have a reasonable risk for a bad scatter dice roll, and kissing your nasty melee unit goodbye. Vanguard Veterans suck, people (save in the case of Blood Angels, for whom they are just on the edge of hilariously awesome). You can also hop-scotch them over terrain for a turn-2 assault with your Initiative 5 (Mark of Slaneesh) or RAGE-fueled (Mark of Khorne) lightning claws. Beware that this will make them a huge fire magnet for a relatively fragile unit with only 3+/5++, so keep them screened by cover or friendly vehicles on their first turn. Or you can crap them the Mark of Tzeentch to have a 4+ inv. to be more confident about anti-MEQ weaponry. Not definitive, but nice.
    • Alternative opinion #2:: Deep Striking these guys is a bad option. Like, Michael Jackson Pepsi commercial bad. Yeah, the warpflame can be nice--IF IT WORKS. Remember, most boards are going to have you against I 4 (dem Marine), so it's a 1-4 shot of them passing the test. It's too risky to rely on the Blind to take care of getting shot the fuck to bits. Also, these things Deep Striking at vulnerable bits makes people shift fire to end your panty raid nice and quick. Unless you're diverting fire (and who wants to pay so much for a diversion--just use a distraction Mutilator instead). What I've found works to lulz-worthiness is giving them to Slaanesh with a Sorcerer with a Jet pack. Take at least one power from Slaanesh (all are great), and then Biomancy it up with what is left. These guys will tear up damn near anything they run into. OR...
    • Alternative opinion #3:: Ally with daemons. You know how any mass-deepstriking daemon army abuses the fuck out of icons and instruments? Yeah, you can do that too. Ta-daa! Enjoy precision deepstriking these guys to blind enemies so that your daemons can survive that 1 turn of shooting before they can get into melee!.
    • Faction Thoughts:: The best legion tactics for these are probably Black Legion or World Eaters. Black legion because of their awesome bonuses from Raptor Talon on the Speartip, while the World Eaters basically are the same as Khorne Daemonkin, only cheaper per model in exchange for a slight reduction in damage vs slaanesh daemons. To be honest, though, they actually mesh quite well with any of the marked legions. Night Lords is still good, but Stealth is not very useful with a 5+ invulnerable save base. Iron Warriors really shouldn't be using them, but may work as a sort of Death Guard lite or cheaper, slower Emperors Children. Word Bearers and Alpha Legion grant basically no benefits (though, with the prevalence of ultramarines units hanging about, it may be worth it for WB). Just ignore Crimson Slaughter. Black Legion does exactly the same but infinitely better (CS require the full Black Crusade detachment to get a weaker version of the same effect)
  • The Unnameable Beasts : According to legend, during a dark, terrifying time not so long ago, these were but a sick joke; no one took that which must never be named, not even in funny lists, not even for flavor nor fluff. No sane person took them; they were easily the worst unit in all of 40k, which is a hell of an accomplishment, considering Pyrovores existed back then too.. Not anymore! Chaos Spawn are now the workhorse of any assault based Chaos Space Marine army- OH MY GODS NO PL- BJADKJFOASIHDOLADMFNCAOSJ. Anyways, Run them forward ahead of your Rhinos and tag team them with your Maulerfiends. If even a single Spawn makes it into combat then they've served a very important purpose: tying up the enemy while your assaulting units hop out of their rhinos. They will also divert fire away from your Rhinos because the opponent is left with selecting 1 of 2 bad choices: either shoot the spawn to prevent his units from being tied up in combat or shoot the rhinos and hope they get disabled while still getting assaulted by the Spawn. Spawn now get access to a similar mutation ability to Possessed. Spawn also lost slow & purposeful but they eat up a slot now. Unless, that is, one of your dudes gets mutated into one. This isn't as bad as it sounds, as long as it's not a major loss and the resulting Spawn is within combat range. Their new stats make them excellent suicide melee units if one is to suddenly pop into existence, and can hopefully make back a few of the points lost by whatever 'spawned them. But being a Daemon Prince is like, 40,000x better.
    • Alternative opinion: The new buffs of rage, a ten point price drop, the minor but useful random ability at the start of each fight sub-phase, the ability to take marks (36 points for a t6 w3 unit) and the fact that you can now control the damn things mean they can actually be useful when used to escort ICs across the board, such as a bloodcrusher mounted lord with the axe of blind rape, bike sorcerer (giving him much needed protection), or if you don't mind wasting their movement, Typhus (who becomes t6 and can use the destroyer hive without wiping out his own unit). If you enjoy cheese, take 5 with MoN, stick a Nurgle Biker Lord in there with plenty of bells and whistles, and you have a ridiculously durable unit that is almost guaranteed to get your Lord across the board, whilst drawing tons of firepower away from your other units. Less than 200 points for 15 T6 wounds that can close the gap between you and your opponent ridiculously fast is a steal, and so durable that they'll most likely stick around for use as late game objective clearers. And if they don't, your oppponent has probably been diverting enough firepower towards them that the rest of your units can move up the board practically unassailed.
    • Alternative Option 2: Run 5 of these all with MoN, then use Be'lakor to cast invisibility on them. 5 T6 3W beasts which can only be targeted by snap-shots running up the battlefield and getting anywhere from 5-30 attacks per combat sounds pretty damn good.
    • Pro modeling tip if you already didn't figured it out: Their box contains 2 square and 2 rounded bases. Make 2 legitimately, then use some green stuff/playdough/hot glue to make an additional two (just model up some snake bodies, slap some spare heads and tentacles. Alternatively, pour some hot glue on top of another model/random cluster of bitz and push some appendages in while the thing is still warm). Profit!
    • Detachment Bonus! They are the cheapest auxiliary unit in most Traitor Legions, so get a mascot if you want the detachment bonus but are mainly running Core. Although none of legion armies buffs them directly except Night Lords, legion-specific detachments can help the Unnamable Things to get closer to close combat (WE Butcherhorde or BL Speartip) or hide them from enemy fire before they can charge (Alpha Legion Insurgency Force).
  • Hellturkey: (Attack Flyer) Here be dragons(Swoop)(no swooping, swooping is bad(at least for your enemies))! This is that it's a flyer, which you need now, unless you want to invest in a Sicaran. What it can do is Strafing Run with a Hades Autocannon (R36" S8 AP4 Heavy 4 pinning) or drop a S6 AP3 torrent. However, it's prized ability is the vector striking at S7 against land or air targets - yowza! A good move will have you wiping your opponent's aircraft and a unit of troops off the field. For even more fun, you can use its Daemon Forge ability once per battle to reroll your wounds/pens! Careful though - although more resilient than most with 12/12/10, the bird is still thin skinned. Even though it has a 5++ and can jink in addition to being a flyer that Will Not Die, a good penetrating hit will drop it right out of the fucking sky. Still, arguably one of the best units of the entire book - sailing carelessly through air, your opponent's army it shall RIP AND TEAR... ahem, take two and take Baleflamers. With the advent of 7th edition and the FAQ (see below), Heldrakes are no longer the unbelievable, unlimited rape machines they were in the past. The 7th edition nerf to Vector Strike hits the Heldrake just as hard as the nerf to his weaponry. Since the Heldrake can no longer feasibly flame/gun the unit it Vector Strike-d (but note that you can still burn something else), you're often going to have to make a choice between getting a vector strike in, or positioning yourself for effective shooting. This dramatically reduces the Heldrake's usefulness, unless you're using the Death From The Skies maneuverability rules. This isn't to say Heldrakes aren't usable, but no longer are they an auto include in any CSM army.
    • The latest FAQ put a stop to the turret fun as the heldrake's weapons are treated as hull-mounted now, so no more Asses of Fire. Guess GW got tired watching the Corpse Emperor's lackeys burn in the fires of the warp and decided to nerf this Chaos flyer back to the Eye of Terror from "everyone bitches about how cheese it is" to merely "good". Tragically, this is not a surprise.
  • Chaos Storm Eagle (Attack Flyer, Pursuit 3, Agility 2, Forge World): 20 pts. cheaper than a loyalist Storm Eagle, still a fast attack, can't take a Typhoon Missile Launcher instead of its Heavy Bolter, but can upgrade to a Reaper Autocannon for free. It also loses the Power of the Machine Spirit rule, like every other Chaos unit, but everything else is otherwise the same. You can buy Possession for this thing, which is recommended. Take a full squad of marines, cult marines or termies and away you go! Alternatively, put Kharn and some 'zerkers in this, watch your opponent cry.
  • Hellblade (Interceptor, Pursuit 5, Agility 3, Forge World): Was Chaos' own Supersonic Flyer long before the Helldrake was on the scene, comes with two AND ONLY TWO EVER reaper autocannons, which is nice because it's only BS3. Can be possessed, though with only 2 HP there's no point in doing so. If you can't fit raptors, havocs or drakes into your list, you could always settle for one of these in your fast attack slots, but don't expect it to survive: AV10 all around and only 2 hull points makes it thin skinned, although it gets 4+ evade. With 6th ed, it's a full-fledged flyer, allowing it to hate on heavy infantry and light vehicles with impunity, while its high volume of decent strength shots make it deadly against other flyers. Be warned, even a Fighta-Bommer's defensive big shootas or a fucking Pintle-mounted Stormbolter can blow this thing out of the sky due to it's shitty armour. The updated rules give it a price break, though once you upgrade its reapers to Helstorm autocannons (And really, why the fuck would you NOT?) it sits once again at 115pts. It now comes with a straight-up 5++ save and a fun little ability to allows it to be repositioned D6+2" before it takes a move, and the "Unnatural Predator" rule lets you pick out an enemy flyer before the start of the game and re-roll all To Wound or AP rolls of 1 against it, which is rather nifty.
  • Hell Talon (Strike Fighter, Pursuit 4, Agility 4, Forge World): Oh, you thought 'Blood Slaughterer' was a stupid name? A fighter bomber with Supersonic, 4 hull points and Strafing Run - which makes it having sex awesome! With its single Reaper autocannon it can put holes in heavy infantry, light vehicles, and aircraft, with its bombs it can blow apart blobs in a glorious inferno, and with its twin linked lascannon it can put holes in enemy tanks, making Mech Guard and Nidzilla cry. Another nice feature is that if the enemy army is light in MEQ units, you can swap out the autocannon for a havoc launcher instead to really get some pie plate hate on things. Just like the Blade, it gain the point break, autocannon upgrade, free invuln and teleport ability. It also gets to pick between a whole load of bombs, each of which if more fun than the others against a specific target, giving your bomber some versatility. These are bananas. Not only do they have great Flyer stats, but they suffer no penalties for shooting at ground targets the way generic fighters do. If you're expecting enemy Flyers, take these a pair of Hellblades above and continue shredding stuff on the ground.
  • Dreadclaw Assault Pod (Attack Flyer, Pursuit 1, Agility 1, Forge World): The Chaos Space Marine version of the loyalist drop pod, the Dreadclaw has the nifty advantage of NOT being immobile (it's a deep-striking flyer with hover) and it's an assault vehicle with better armour than a rhino. Unfortunately, it eats a fast attack slot but it can deep strike 10 marines, 5 termies (though they can already do it just fine without) or a dreadnought. It counts as a Fast Skimmer once it Deep Strikes onto the table, not Zooming, therefore, you don't need sixes to hit but you can Jink to get 4+ cover (3+ if nightfight). It can Deep Strike onto the table Turn 1 and unload a shooty alpha strike unit, or move Flat Out 18" to set up a perfect Turn 2 charge. 100 points, but it gives us some fun new options and mobility. Also note that since it's a Dedicated Transport for CSM you have an Objective Secured fast skimmer (or Chosen in an Abaddabadon or BL list) to snag or contest objectives.
    • Edit: all is good and beautiful, but it has no "transport" rule. So beware rules lawyers. Mind, it also has the Daemonic Possession thingy, so shoving expensive units inside is highly undesirable (ahem, Dreadnoughts). Remember, it is rolled even if the unit starts the game already embarked upon such vehicle! Yet despite this you gain a deepstriking assault transport you can land somewhere safe (there's no Inertial Guiding System on that thing, don't treat it like a normal Pod) then flat-out towards the target. Jink to avoid the inevitable storm of hate that will head your way, move again, deploy, and assault. For the mathematically inclined that's 6+6+2d6 = 18" - 24" charge range. Take these if you have want a glorious chaos drop pod assault. Feel like a legionnaire.
    • Forgeworld has finally released an update that brings all of its Flyers up to date with Death from the Skies. What's weird is that Dreadclaws and Kharybdis are included in this document, as a rare case of "technically a flyer but." While all but worthless in a Dogfight and as maneuverable as a rock, they can be taken in Wings now and gain Attack Pattern benefits.


  • Blight Drone (Attack Flyer, Pursuit 3, Agility 4, Forge World): Possessed hovering flyer with a BS2, Daemon of Nurgle (i.e. Shrouded & 5+ Invulnerable save), reaper autocannon and a mawcannon (without tongue). It costs 150 pts, has pretty decent armour (12/11/10), but it will also explode when wrecked so be sure you get this thing as close to the enemy as possible! They can be taken in squads of 1-3 too. The mawcannon has a flamer mode (S6 AP4) and a large blast (S8 AP3).
    • Forgeworld's DFtS expansion make these buggers fair to middling in a Dogfight, but BS 2 and only having 1 direct-fire weapon and no Skyfire makes these rather lackluster. You may be able to use your USRs to tank through a Dogfight, but you won't be grounding enemies this way. YMMV.

Heavy Support

  • Defiler - So here's this giant enemy crab-Dreadnought. Your Swiss-army vehicle; can do anything to some degree or another - and do it (decently) well. Has Fleet, 4 hull points, is somewhat better at shooting than a Dreadnought (with access to more long-range weaponry, including a Battle Cannon) and all the other Daemon Engine flair (5++, fear, IWND and Daemon Forge). This unit is amazingly flexible; you can have it shoot off plenty of firepower when stationary (It has a Reaper Autocannon, Battle Cannon, and Heavy Flamer by default), can be upgraded to be even more shooty by replacing the Reaper Autocannon with a Twin-Linked Lascannon or Twin-Linked Heavy Bolter, and the Heavy Flamer with a Havoc Launcher. Unfortunately, the cannon is Ordnance and even bound Daemons can't handle firing Ordnance as well as a Heavy Flamer or Havok launcher, apparently. With 6th Edition ruining Havoc Launchers, the shooty option is a Reaper Autocannon or Heavy Bolter Snap Firing to your Battlecannon's tune. You can go the full Monty for the Assault route, and replace the Autocannon and Flamer for a power fist or scourge respectively. The fist will get you a +1 attack and is free which is nice, but it already has two (walkers get +1 attack for EACH weapon after the first, which means 5 attack, 6 on charge) and the scourge will reduce the WS of models in base contact, so you don't even have to use it, just be in contact. Also this will leave you with only battle cannon assuming you didn't take havoc, since battle cannon is ordnance you don't need any other shooting weapon). With its ability to fire off tons of firepower AND/OR rush forward and rape things with its giant crab-claws, this thing is as versatile as units come. Its main drawbacks are that its melee and firing accuracy are average (BS/WS/I3) meaning that Power Fists smack you around and all the other Dreadnoughts except Orks go before you, and they can buy two Deff Dreads to your one Defiler. It's also an extremely large vehicle, and one that will attract a lot of enemy fire, causing enemies to put a lot of resources into attacking its weak point for massive damage. Which you can even capitalize on, using the weak side of the Defiler as a lure to bring in some of their anti-vehicle troops in right where you want them. The catch is its fairly high cost - a basic defiler is just under 200 points, and is essentially an AV 12/12/10 walker. This renders it less effective, for all its new toys, than its previous incarnation. For all it's versatility it's not very good at anything for it's cost. Sure you can make it decent at melee, but then it has to GET there. Compare it to a doomsday ark.
    • Note DO NOT charge dreads with a defiler. Contrary to the fact that one of the most popular artworks of defilers is one in which a deffie pulls a dreadnought apart with its claws, now that dreadnoughts have FOUR power fist attacks at I4 that will be hitting you on 3... chances are the crab will be wrecked before it gets a chance to swing its manifold limbs. This reduces its usability by a fraction.
    • Alternative Opinion: When you do compare it to a doomsday ark, you'll notice that it will fall apart pretty quick when something gets too close to it. Not quite so for a defiler - while a D-day ark might have to try and run off to avoid getting popped open, you can throw a defiler happily at almost anything in charge range. Giving it a power scourge over its heavy flamer has the hilarious advantage of reversing any close combat prey's fortune as they will now hit on 4's and YOU hit THEM on 3's! Warp flame gargoyles on your guns will also do well to soften up a target before a fleet-assisted charge.
    • Havoc Launcher not doing it for you? How about TWO Havoc Launchers? Defilers have access to the chaos vehicle armory (page 102, Defiler entry, bullet point three) which is largely overlooked, meaning they can take an additional havoc launcher along with a combi bolter and a combi melta/flamer/plasma, so your defiler can always have a little bit more close (combi flamer/melta) mid (combi bolter) and long (havoc launcher) firepower, damn this crab is versatile! Warpflame Gargoyles make all your ranged weapons soul blaze, meaning the shooty Defiler can mulch infantry with even more effectiveness. And they can take Dirge Casters, meaning the assaulty Defiler can't be overwatched. Neat!
    • Alternative Opinion 2: I have had plenty of success in casual games running a Defiler with a Scourge and Fist, relying solely on the battle cannon to handle ranged combat. While the additional attacks granted to Dreadnoughts makes this less clear cut, let's look at a possible situation. A Defiler fighting a two Dreadnought squad with twin lascannons. Being generous to the dreads, we'll give each side three rounds of shooting. Statistically, the Dreads will likely connect with all six shots, four will inflict damage, 2.66 will get through it's save. Most likely suffering stun/shaken results, which it will resist, and in three turns will likely recover one HP from IWND. Given three shots, and Demon Forged, we'll assume at least one is a direct hit, and that of the other two, one shot scores a single hit. As it averages 1 hit per round of firing, we'll assume Daemonforged effects one of the hits. 2 hits at a 50% chance of causing damage (We'll simply assume glances out of the kindness of our hearts), boosted to 75% (Ordnance), 1.5 wounds, with one shot being what, a 1/16 chance of failing to penetrate? So, ~2.5 hull damage, vs ~1.66 by the time they meet. If we give the Defiler the charge, and an average result on the scourge (2), the Defiler attacks 6 times, hits with four of them, and inflicts ~3.33 HP of damage. On Dreadnought dies, the other attacks four times, hits twice. Inflicts slightly more than one HP. The Defiler is down to 1 HP and some change, but the other dread isn't doing any better. It dies in the next round, and your crab-bot scuttles off to find new prey. Cover, Meltaguns, and even a little luck COULD swing that (I did skip overwatch, which would contribute a portion of a wound, not enough to swing this to an "average chance of a loss" but close), but saying "Don't charge dreads" is a little disingenuous, with the right set up. (Where are you getting this from? Defilers are I3, Dreadnoughts go before them, not after.)
  • Havocs - Havocs are essentially "Chaos Devastators." You start with a squad of 5, that can take four Specials/Heavy Weapons at any squad size. There are two primary ways to run them: Either as long-range fire-support, or as part of a "Rhino-spam" army. In the former case, this is one of the notable units where you do want to give them Veterans of the Long War. The difference between Leadership 9 and Leadership 10 (or more realistically, Leadership 8 versus Leadership 9 due to the sergeant tending to be a glorified bullet-catcher) matters all the more when your fire support is camping by the table edge! In the second case, you'll want "two Specials and a Rhino". The Chaos Warband gave this option a new lease on life, as being able to run obsec Special Teams alongside small obsec Chosen Teams has its appeal.
    • If you still fancy using heavy weapons Havocs, Forgeworld has you covered with pretty little SM autocannon sets of five for both Legion and Kalibrax pattern (that are compatible with default vanilla arms) for just over double the price! Consider using those since everybody and his dog knows how bullshit GW Havoc box sets are (a hundred pounds for a complete set of weapons, really? Devastators have this for, like, half the price, and that's with other toys like combis, hammers and shit.)
    • Heavy Weapons Havocs become a lot more viable if you play Death Guard, giving them FNP and Relentless
  • Chaos Rapier Weapons Battery (Forge World): For 40 pts. you get an Artillery unit armed with Quad Heavy Bolter and manned by 2 Chaos Space Marine crewmen. Might take up to 2 additional Carriers with crew for 40 pts. each. The weapons may be upgraded to a Laser Destroyer (TL Ordnance AP1 Lascannon), Ectoplasma Cannon or Hades Autocannon (the same as Forgefiend's), or a Heavy Conversion Beamer. The Chaos Rapier allows you to fill the Heavy Support with fairly cheap heavy weapons on miniature tank treads, and it is worth noting they have the usual CSM BS4. Lastly, the Hellish Demise special rule means you must roll a D6 when the Chaos Rapier is destroyed. On a roll of 1 it explodes in a S3 Large Blast, 2-5 do nothing, whilst 6 does the same as 1 but leaves a non-scatter DS marker for any units with the Daemon USR. Pretty much all Rapier configurations are superior to the Havoks and Forgefiends in BOTH firepower and survivability, while being cheaper (though Fiends have their mobility and once-per-game damage booster, and Havocs can bring special weapons for Rhino drive-by or missile launchers for versatility). It should be no surprise for anyone that Forge World prices for Rapier models are outrageous.
    • Rapiers are great models for niche roles in your chaos army. Conversion Beamers are an excellent addition to any CSM ranged list, while Hades autocannons are impressive anti-infatry/MC/flyer units. There price and immobility also negate the 'better than havocs' argument. They are different, and expensive over time. But totally worth it when used appropriately.
    • Alternative take: Probably the best heavy support option for CSM. You like Vindicators yes? How about 3 Vindicator blasts at double the range that don't get fucked by melta & Haywire. Yeah they get suckier the closer the enemy get to them but you are CSM! If the enemy is getting closer to them you can charge them with your superior fighty units. They can also be pretty cheap to make. Just buy some of the Conversion Beamer arm mounts from FW and scratch build your own bases for them (or just buy 3rd party tank tracks) you're chaos so anything works, nurglings carrying it, mount it on the back of a daemon, have loyalist slaves haul it around, get creative.
  • Chaos Land Raider - It's the classic Land Raider pattern (aka, schizophrenic multiple personality disorder). The Chaos one is slightly less useful than the Loyalist version because despite being 20 points cheaper there's no Machine Spirit. It usually serves one of two major roles - as a heavy offensive vehicle (it's expensive but dear Tzeentch does it get the job done whilst being a giant fire magnet in the process) and to insert your huge, nasty, pulsating close combat squad deep into the soft moist folds of your opposition. If you use it for the latter, load it up with Extra Armour, and keep it rolling forward. Daemonic Possession isn't really worth the points, or the dip in BS. Even with twin-linked weapons, turning a 3+ to-hit into a 4+ is a tough sell, and all you really want the damn thing to do is move. And besides, do you really want to take the risk that the tank will OMNOMNOM your Terminator Chaos Lord on turn one? Because that's a thing now (your models risk being omnomnomed when you embark, which is a great mental picture, but can ruin your shit if you're unlucky). Unlike loyalist, can take dozer, greatly reducing chance for your 230+ pts transport to become utterly useless in one dice throw.
  • Chaos Land Raider Proteus (Forge World): Oldschool battle tank type Land Raider - it lacks transport capacity and assault ramp of regular Land Raider, but comes cheaper and has multimelta AND melta-immune options. While loyalists get some neat reserve-based abilities for their Proteuses, the Chaos one gets Fear and a troll-tastic upgrade that forces anyone trying to shoot it to pass a pinning test first. Overall a good choice if you want to use it as battle tank instead of a Terminator party-buss, or to deliver special weapon squads into rapid fire/melta/flamer range. Can take the "Ark of Unnameable Horror" upgrade, meaning all units that fire on the vehicle must make a pinning test or Go to Ground immediately, not firing. Doesn't work against Fearless units, units firing without line of sight (such as barrage), or units without a leadership value. Taking the Ark drops transport capacity from 10 to 8.
  • Chaos Infernal Relic Achilles (Forge World): Not as unkillable as the Heresy-era Achilles or the one corpsefuckers use nowadays, as it lacks lance-immunity and -1 to damage (still melta-proof, though), but in a typical Chaos fashion it picks it up on the offensive, gaining +1S and -1 AP for its quad-mortar each time it loses an HP. Watch your opponent rage as 1HP Achilles drops 4 S8 AP2 blasts across the board. Unfortunately it costs an absurd amount of points, making it all but unusable in competitive games. Makes a good tar-baby to carry your Oblits/Mutilators/Typhus in.
  • Chaos Spartan Assault Tank (Forge World): Land Raider on steroids. This thing is armed with 2-shot TL lascannons at each side, could fit up to 25 guys inside (or 10 termies, Abaddon and Typhus with room to spare) and has 5 HP. There is no reason to buy Land Raider, if you have enough souls of firstborn to afford this model. That moment when you realise just how difficult it is to fill this vehicle. You can only fit one squad + Independant characters so only cultists can fill it to the top. You could also ally in some spam from the Renegades and Heretics list to bulk this out. Also - don't forget - Dirge Casters for 5 points! Watch your opponent's face as the full capacity of your Spartan spills out and they can't even overwatch against it!
    • The Forge World Land Raiders are comparably easy to convert from normal Land Raiders - you just need plastic card (or wood, or styrofoam) and enough guns.
  • Obliterators - A long time Chaos army favorite with plenty of Dakka fitted in a small, deadly package. They used to be absolute cheese, but even though every time they appear in a codex, they get weaker, they're still the best heavy support choice in the book. Formerly the Techmarines of their chapters, Obliterators have contracted a warp-contagion that sears their flesh to their armour and causes their weaponry, likewise, to be subsumed. In time they have become enormous arcano-cyborgs, not quite marine, not quite machine, not quite daemon (well actually they are considered daemon type units in this rulebook, so they cause fear now, nice bonus). They're tough as hell and can take phenomenal punishment, even though they lost their fearlessness from last edition (seriously, how did that happen? But they don't give a fuck in fluff but will retreat if fighting gets too hot). For 70 points, you get a model with 2 wounds, a 2+ armour save, 5+ invulnerable save, and the ability to Deep Strike. Suffice to say, they can find a role in damned near any army, since they can soak up damage and demolish squads in pretty short order. That said, you should nearly always be deepstriking them. Parking them in cover and using Lascannons and Plasmacannons each turn is a sure enough way to waste both their durability and their firepower, and if that's the tactic you want to use why aren't you just taking Havocs? Timing is everything with an Obliterator drop, and you need to know when to drop them to deal with a problem unit, be it a cover-camping squad of Fire Warriors or a big squad of SPHESS MHUREENS tacticals. Getting them into heavy cover basically turns them into a strongpoint. They're also decent in assaults. Still, you'll want to avoid getting them tarpitted, regardless of whether it's by Guardsmen or Bloodletters. With only one powerfist to work with in close combat, it takes them forever to kill anything that's not just a vehicle or small squad, and even with the buffs 2+ armour, they're still going to die if they get caught by any elite melee unit. With the new codex they can now take marks, making then T5 or improving their save to 4++, making them an even larger pain to get rid of (You CAN give them Rage or +1I...but that would be missing the whole point of the unit). Oblits can use the following weaponry (they all come on a single model, and because Phil dislikes the cheese in the previous rulebook, he's made them trickier to use because now you can't pick the same weapon two turns in a row): Lascannon, Assault Cannon, Plasma Cannon, Multi-Melta, Heavy Flamer, Twin-Linked Flamer, Twin-Linked Plasmagun, or a Twin-Linked Meltagun. He also packs a single Power Fist for use in CC.
    • Tactics: if you buy 3 Obliterators, you're looking at around 220 points. Ideally you'll want to drop them first next to a tank you want gone and fire up their multi-meltas, so that they can make a chunk of their points cost (around 150) back. Jackpot if the enemy is bringing a Land Raider. Slow and Purposeful allows you to fire the Multi-Meltas even after deep-striking, but if you happen to scatter within 6" of the tank it is a safer bet to use the twin-linked meltas instead as they have more accuracy. After that, you'll want to set your eyes on infantry, Monstrous Creatures or other light transports - 3 Assault Cannons do a great job of causing lots of damage for either enemy type. Alternately you can drop three Plasma Cannon blasts on any MEQ/TEQ unit you catch outside cover. Sadly Obliterators can't fire overwatch due to SNP, but they do have their powerfists and 2 attacks each for desperate measures. If you have given them MoT, they could charge an MC they have wounded and try to finish it off quickly.
    • Alternative opinion: Whilst Obliterators are unquestionably versatile, even with the mandatory switching of weapons every turn, they are no longer the sole Heavy Support unit you will see players fielding. Obliterators are tough: ridiculously so. However, they pay a lot of points for this durability, and it makes their firepower-to-cost ratio rather low. 2 lascannon shots a turn for 140 points before marks is a rather expensive way to deter vehicles. Compare to the other options, such as Havoks and Forgefiends, who are incredibly economical in their distribution of ammunition, and the Obliterators start to seem a bit pricey. Obliterators sit somewhere between Havoks and Foregefiends in terms of durability. They are vulnerable to anti-infantry guns being Toughness 4, but have a 2+ armour save to protect them and 2 wounds. Their higher armour and multiple wounds entice players to fire anti-tank guns at them, but they can grab cover more easily than vehicles, and a lucky shot will only kill half the squad, rather than the entire vehicle. The downside to this mid-range endurance is that every unit the enemy has can affect them. Any unit in range has a chance hurting them, so concentration of fire to eliminate them early is a very real danger. This is rather unfortunate, as the durability that they pay so many points for can end up their achilles' heel.
    • Marks are very important, especially MoT or MoN. Some key things to remember: a 4+ invulnerable save is a godsend when the opponents will surely target you with AP2 weaponry (and this can be bumped up to a 3+ if you happen to, say, park them on a Skyshield Landing Pad) but most AP2 weaponry will Instant Death the crap out of them. This is where MoN is taken into consideration; there are far more strength 8 and 9 weapons in the game compared to Strength 10, which means that the opponent will be less likely to fire those weapons your way, as there's little point in doing so if they can only cause one wound anyways. It also means that they might just try the more time-honored tactic of drowning you in small arms fire - again, the MoN comes in handy here, as T5 is a hella lot more resilient than T4, and you still get your your 2+ armour save and your 2 wounds, so your total squad firepower wont be dropping anytime soon even if he directs 100 guardsmen to fire at your obliterator unit (you'll take about 3 wounds. Don't underestimate lasgun fire en masse). A lot of it depends on your meta really. If you generally play a lot of superheavies than MoT can be better than MoN due to more access to S10 and the D, but otherwise don't bother, as even if you're opponent brings a vindicator it's pretty easy to just deepstrike and pop it.
    • With deepstrike accuracy being such an important issue here, an obvious choice in HQ department is someone with Dimensional Key, probably a Daemon Prince. With Ahriman or Huron as Warlord, one can then infiltrate said Prince for a turn 2 charge and bring these guys in turn 3. This also has good synergy with heavy melee deepstrike, our strength over the loyalists with Raptors or Warp Talons, both of which have gone up in the world since the Heldrake nerfing. Except you can't assault when you infiltrated; consider the Raptor Talon formation or the new Psychic Powers from Traitors Hate so you can get a guaranteed charge! EXCUSE ME?! Daemon Princes do not need help getting into charge range and also AREN'T INFANTRY meaning you can't infiltrate them with Master of Deception.
  • Chaos Predator - Pretty much the same as the loyalist version, in both performance and cost. As long as it doesn't come up across Haywire or D-weapons, parking one of these guys in a corner will give you a good source of Lascannon fire that will take a fair share of firepower to shift from the table. As an actual battle-tank, for moving-and-shooting, the Predator isn't particularly useful, not only because of snap-shooting only one weapon at a time, but because its relatively large-ish side-arc makes flanking it easy.
    • Loadouts: By default, the Predator gets one Autocannon, which can be upgraded to a twin-linked Lascannon. This simply won't do for damage, so you will want to upgrade it with sponsons, of the Heavy Bolter or Lascannon variety. The three main ways to run a Predator: Autocannon & Heavy Bolters for anti-infantry, three Lascannons for anti-tank, or the Autocannon with Lascannon Sponsons for versatility; the "Lascannon plus Heavy Bolter Sponsons" loadout in practice should never be used. Points permitting, toss a Havoc Launcher on top of one of these tanks as it gives you slightly more firepower than your Loyalist brethren. Traitor's Hate gave Predators the ability to be fielded as a Squadron; if a full squadron of three are alive, that squadron gets Monster Hunter and Tank Hunter. In practice, this isn't worth doing because your vehicles do not have easy access to Power of the Machine Spirit.
    • Dirty Trick vs Tau: This is the cheapest source of Lascannons your army gets. If you're going heavy on Psychic support and can get good cover (either from fortifications or using your own Rhinos as glorified wrecks), Say your opponent runs Broadsides or so. AV 13 makes the Predator immune to Smart Missiles, while S9 AP 2 instant-deaths their battlesuits. Run a Geomortis Sorcerer with one of these models, and this thing now ignores cover and can now shoot through walls/line-of-sight blocking terrain. You now have the opportunity to beat Tau at their own game. If you're feeling cheeky, you could take a Havoc Launcher and reroll "hits" to hope it scatters onto a nearby Pathfinder unit, but that's not particularly recommended.
  • Chaos Infernal Relic Predator (Forge World): Your standard Predator, only with huge variety of weapons available. In addition to all toys of a standard Predator, it have an option to get a set of sponson heavy flamers (which you probably don't wont, but they're there anyways just in case), and one of the five new turret weapons:
    • Flamestorm Cannon, the default weapon; it sucks socks, since you cannot come close enough fast enough to use it to its full potential.
      • Thanks to the new psychic powers it's now possible to fling this baby right into the heart of the enemy. And if you go the extra mile you can even use PotMS to burn two different units. Let the galaxy burn!
    • Autocannon with Inferno Bolts, which is an autocannon with AP3, and thus OK (especially with malefic ammo).
    • Magna-Melta, which is OK on it's own, if a bit overpriced, but rises a question why didn't you just take a Vindicator instead.
    • Plasma Destroyer, which is an awesome MEQ/TEQ killer gun.
    • Heavy Conversion Beamer, which is more difficult to use, and certainly useless on BLoS-heavy tables, but massively powerful on the long range.
  • Chaos Relic Sicaran Battle Tank (Forge World): Fast 13/12/12 Tank, armed with a monstrous Twin-Linked Heavy 6 Rending Jink-ignoring Autocannon and a hull Heavy Bolter, comes with Extra Armour stock. It is superior to Predator Destructor in every way imaginable, while being only slightly more expensive (point-wise anyway, the model itself is FW-priced). It really shines at dealing with enemy Skimmers, as it is the perfect counter to the Serpent-spam. Sicaran can even be made melta-immune or take sponson weapons like a Predator. It might upgrade all of its guns with Rending USR, but it's not really worth the 40 points cost.
  • Chaos Vindicator - No more Dozer Blade included or Siege Shield. Daemonic Possession helps and mounting a Havoc Launcher gives it a backup weapon. It mounts a Demolisher Cannon, which will basically win back its points the second it fires. Heavy front armor and intense firepower means that this thing will draw huge amounts of abuse. If you throw Daemonic Possession on this thing, you will have a field day watching players go to obscene lengths to kill/get away from it. Mounting a couple extra guns will help keep the odds of losing your demolisher cannon early on low.
    • New Supplement! We can now take these in squadrons of three. While all three are alive and can fire their cannon, you can designate one to fire an apocalypse blast instead of the vindicators firing normally. It also ignores cover.
  • Chaos Deimos Pattern Vindicator Tank Destroyer (Forge World) - While Guard invented their wannabe Vindicators by replacing Rapier destroyers on their tank hunters with Demolishers, marines did the exact opposite, and this what they got as a result. This is a walking twin-linked ordnance AP1 lascannon (meaning you can re-roll both to-hit and to-pen, and blow up things on 5+). More so, it fires THREE times per turn if stationary with a chance to overheat. This thing eats tanks and may even threaten super-heavies by it's own. You can be a pussy and downgrade it to only two safe shots, but you're playing Chaos, for Gods' sake - be a man and take that risk, it's only one HP with 1/6 chance anyway. Oh, and it costs less than three artillery-type Rapiers while still capable to move and shoot (if only once). If there wasn't enough reasons to never take las-Predators in a Chaos army, here's another one, because it's flat 10 point's cheaper than tri-las Predator while being all-around better.
  • Forgefiend: Whoever decided that CSM needed Daemon Dino-bots - well, thanks! Forge Fiends come with a pair of Hades Autocannons, which throw out an absurd amount of dakka (that's 8 S8 AP4 pinning shots a turn, making Psyflmen Dreadnoughts blush). Furthermore, they can trade their Hades Autocannons for 2 S8 plasma cannons for free, and take a third one for +25 pts replacing the damn thing's face! (Most) Deepstriking terminators will piss themselves, especially Draigo's shiny dozen when faced with 3 instant-death plasma blasts a turn. On top of this, like all other daemon engines it has a 5++, fear, IWND and Daemon Forge, which comes in very handy with this guy.
    • Alternative Opinion: Opponent fielding fliers? Pop a Forgefiend down with a pair of Hades Autocannons. Eight shots give it excellent odds of hitting - even if it's only on sixes - and it's Strength of 8 will cut though almost any flier (including the Stormraven) as if it were made of paper mache. This machine can be incredibly versatile over it's cousin with the right setup. Allying with Chaos Daemons for a cheap Tzeentch Divination psyker turns this bad boys into monsters. Rerolling to hit is HUGE at BS 3, and against enemy fliers. Pop Daemon forge that turn and watch the enemy cry as its fliers implode.
  • Maulerfiend: The other Daemon Dino-bot. Comes with a pair of power fists and magma cutters, which deal a meltabomb auto-hit that can strike non-vehicle units, too! This big beastie can also move at 12", ignore difficult terrain and has Fleet on top of that! Lasher tendrils reduce Dreadknights/Terminators to A1 and dreads to A2. You use this monster to run down other vehicles, charge isolated infiltrator squads, bust open fortifications and close combat backup should things not go just as planned. Also has all the Daemon Engine tricks of 5++, Fear, IWND and Daemon Forge. Maulerfiends are not designed to hunt infantry. Lasher tendrils are awesome against charging terminators, but you can't really rely on them to keep the beast alive forever, and the magma cutters aren't great against anything other than vehicles. An interesting point worth mentioning is that a maulerfiend is surprisingly good at is mushing otherwise tough models that have multiple wounds, 5 toughness, but preferably - no invul save. Looking at you, centurions and cataphrons. What maulers lack in versatility and killyness against most units, they more than make up for with sheer speed. They happily dash across the board, smashing into units you don't want shooting at your other stuff - and can keep said units preoccupied for quite a while, and even do some damage. Additionally - two maulers - one with cutters, the other one with tendrils, on the charge, should be enough to dismember a knight (especially a ranged weapons one) - which is a big deal, since knights are becoming more and more popular. Another point worth noting is that this thing is actually a daemon - which means that Cursed Earth bumps its invulnerable save to 4++ - and that, in combination with its 12/12/10 AV is nothing to sneer at.

The prevalent opinion about maulers is that they're OK on their own, but in order to really shine they need to be taken in pairs. Although there are better options that could fill your heavy suppoert slots in a CAD, few are more menacing than two dinobots. Another (arguably better) way to field them is in a Helforged Warpack. See the formation's entry below for more information.

  • Plague Hulk (Forge World): Essentially a budget Soul Grinder of Nurgle that you can take without paying the ally tax. Carries a poisoned 3+ S5 AP3 flamer and a rending, 36" range S6 battle cannon.. Like all Daemons of Nurgle it now has Shrouded. It is only 150 pts, and with the rules from IA13 no longer requires a squad of plague marines to field; that said, it's about as tough to bounce as a regular Soul Grinder of Nurgle.
  • Blood Slaughterer (Forge World): Don't be fooled by the name, these are goddamn rape-blenders! Rage, Rampage, Daemon (of Khorne, granting furious charge should you lose your DCW), Daemonic Resilience, Deepstrike, Fleet, WS5, FA13, comes with a DCW, gain D3 attack on Charge (in addition to ANOTHER d3 from the Rampage) and can be taken in squads of 3: good god, things are gonna die! Each also gets the option to take a ranged weapon called an impaler which always hits on 4+ regardless of BS, CANNOT ever be snap fired and allows you to drag vehicles and monstrous creatures towards you, DRAGGING THEM INTO CLOSE COMBAT if they happen to move in BtB contact with the Slaughterer, which means it is the only model in the game that can (kind of) charge right from Deep Strike. They can be taken in vehicle squadrons of 3, cost a scant 130 points but do require a squad of Berserkers to field. The "downside" is that it has shitty 5E Rage (it must charge at/move towards the closest thing it sees); chances are you were probably going to do that anyway, and with the combination of fleet, an impaler and a shedload of S10 AP2 attacks there is damn near NOTHING that can survive a pack of Slaughterer.
  • Fire Raptor Gunship (Attack Flyer, Pursuit 3, Agility 3, Forge World): Comes naked with TL Avenger Bolt Cannon, 4 Hellstrike Missiles and two Independent-Turret Quad Heavy Bolters; the latter which aside from firing at their own targets as rumoured, don't count towards the number of weapons fired! A Legion or CSM army can swap the quad bolters for a Reaper Battery for 10 pts each, 40K Marines get a TL Autocannon for free. With all the twin-linked goodness, Strafing Run and PotMS/Independent-turrets; this bastard can dump its entire payload in a single turn and hit almost every time and it's only 260 pts altogether for the ceramite armor and reaper battery upgrades.
    • 20 pts cheaper due to the loss of PotMS but can buy Daemon Possession for the same price. Since there's no worries about passengers getting NOM'ed, TL/Strafing Run counteracts BS3 well enough and the way the turret works you don't need PotMS altogether make the Chaos Fire Raptor much nicer then it's Loyalist counterpart; which is rare. And to make it even better, it gain assess to malefic ammunition, because Rending on something with so much dakka is insane.
    • There is something to be said for adding warpflame gargoyles on these. On a single platform, for a mere 5 points, you can potentially light up 3 units a turn (or more if you clip multiple units with Balefire missiles).
  • Kharybdis Assault Claw (Air Leviathan, Pursuit 1, Agility 1, Forge World): Land Raider size Drop pod. At cost of Land Raider+ it gives you HP: 5, 20 cap/Drednought/Helbrute, special attack (with 2 versions, deep strike is S6 AP5 D3+3" ignore cover nova (at this size even 4" covers nice area), and fire sweep is flame trial with same strength and ap (ANY model under its path takes hit so be carefull), rule that allows you to ram (not when arrive from reserves, using its special attack or disembark troops) and pinning (like chaos have not enough pinnings attacks) TL stormbolter AND all drop pod rules that we love. Drop pod assault + guidance system + 20 cap + Berzerkers/muliators/helbrute with multi-melta = RAGE (also enjoy a 1/6 chance of your Possessed Transport munching the dread it was deepstriking and arriving empty, making your enemy laugh himself silly, although, if you are transporting the Warpsmith/Sorcerer/Abbs necessary to take more than one, it's not an issue). Remember that you can't charge on turn 1 though so land somewhere safe then flat-out towards the target. Jink to avoid the inevitable storm of hate that will head your way, move again, deploy, and assault. For the mathematically inclined that's 6+6+2d6 = 18" - 24" charge range. Take these to support a glorious chaos drop pod assault and safely deploy your Mutilators/Terminators/Cult Marines/Chaos Marines/possessed right in the middle of the enemy deployment zone.
    • Forgeworld has finally released an update that brings all of its Flyers up to date with Death from the Skies. What's weird is that Dreadclaws and Kharybdis are included in this document, as a rare case of "technically a flyer but." While all but worthless in a Dogfight and as maneuverable as a rock, Kharybdis pods have some new tricks. Arguably, wings are a nonstarter with the Kharybdis, due to being Infernal Relics, so no Air Superiority Detachment shenanigans to make your list outperform DA in combat drops. But on the plus side, ALL of your Kharybdis Storm Launchers can be fired with Skyfire while Zooming, without counting against your allowed weapons, as long as you don't suffer a Crew Stunned (HAHAHAHAHA). You also can shoot them all during a Dogfight as long as you aren't doing a Head-On Pass. Nothing says "FUCK OFF," like 10 Strength 6, AP 5, Twin-linked shots. Additionally, normal Crew Stunned does nothing but turn off this ability to Skyfire everything (again, if they ever manage to get it to stick).

Fortifications

Here are the general tactics for fortifications http://1d4chan.org/wiki/Warhammer_40,000/Tactics/Fortifications

  • Aegis Defense Lines: These are popularly used for Cultists, and with good reason. They're 50 points, they can be upgraded with a Skyfire weapon (no longer do you have to rely on Heldrakes!), and you can add a cheap little comms relay to mess with Reserves (pretty much the only way to do so with the CSM). You can also park your Autocannon Havocs here — let the Champion man the Quad Gun while his squadmates spam S7 shots from cover/eat bullets for him.
  • Skyshield Landing Pad: Pretty respectable in a small number of cases, almost worthless in most others. It has some strange special rules, but the provided advantages boil down to a decent defensive structure and an ability to deep-strike without fail. Potentially useful, but if you can't immediately see an opening for it in your army there probably isn't one.
    • Note that MoT grants +1 to invulnerable saves. MoT Las-Havocs or Oblits with a 3++ sound particularly useful. If you play the Thousand Sons Traitor Legion and add a Blessing it becomes 2++. No it doesn't the limit on MoT still applies and stops sacking beyond 3++.
    • This thing can now be used to create a flying daemon fortress, take one of the warpsmith formations, sit the smith and his daemon engines down on top, and have some Geomortis sorcerers fly them around the board blasting everything to bits while hiding under a decent invuln save. Fun to try at least once, and decently fluffy in an Iron Warriors list.
  • Imperial Bastion: Surprisingly potent. An Imperial Bastion provides a useful anti-air, a place to hide a Cultist or 5-man Chaos Marine squad, and a good place to plonk a squad of Havocs to allow them to blow the shit out of everything while benefiting from 4+ cover and access to the quad-gun (which is good against flyers). The 4 free heavy bolters which can be legally placed all on one facing, gives your men the advantage of height and cover. This is especially good in a very defensively oriented army - and note that it unlocks all of those sweet extra things listed on the fortifications page, like a comms relay for reserves manipulation or tank traps to force people to disembark so you can shoot them for a turn befopre they reach your lines.
  • Void Shield Generator: Big ol' AV12 bubble to hide behind and shoot with impunity. 50pts. Want two more layers? 100pts. Excellent in a defensive army, but Void Shields do not prevent Deep Strikes. You could fill that 12" bubble with cannon fodder, either in the form of cultists, or better still, allied in Plague Zombies, for the points, because they actually keep Deep-striking Meltas out of Melta range, which would have to deploy at least 13" away from whatever you were bubble-wrapping, which nixes (Combi-) Meltas and hampers Multimeltas. Or you could focus on Havocs and Obliterators - who needs tanks?
  • Promethium Relay Pipes: Rubric Marines now have Flamethrowers, making this thing worth consideration. Take the big fortification with Void Shield Generators for a sorcerous fortress.
  • Wall of Martyrs Imperial Bunker: Cheap, tough with 14 armour, you can get inside, on top and it has holes for up to 8 dudes to fire out. And pretty safe to fit a squad in. Put inside someone like Noise Marines, or Havocs, throw in an ammo pile inside for extra accuracy and you can bet no troops will wanna get close to your dakka box.
  • Wall of Martyrs Firestorm Redoubt: For a few points less than a Land Raider you get an Imperial Bunker but bigger and with anti air guns. (though you may change either of the Icarus Quad Cannons for different weapons if you own them) with four 96" range interceptor/skyfire lascannon shots. While being forced to fire at BS2 seems like a pain, being twin linked means that you hit approximately 55% of the time, but you can upgrade it to BS3 if you want to pay more points on the machine spirit, but then any enemy aircraft on (or coming on to) the table has to worry about the incredible amount of dakka heading its way since massed S9 AP2 skyfire is extremely rare. Sadly, only six models can fire from the inside, so it's more suited for heavy weapon teams.
  • Plasma Obliterator: Oh my...a simple building at AV14 all around you can get inside it has fire holes and has a Plasma Obliterator which fires a 7" Massive Blast at S7 AP2. Want to obliterate its point cost in heavy infantry? Look no further. However, it still gets hot (luckily since it's a fortification it gets a 4+ save against it), and it has a new rule called Plasma Overheat which means if it takes a glancing hit due to Gets Hot! a unit embarked takes D3 randomly allocated wounds (just as with classic gets hot! allow saves). You'd think a building the size of a Bastion would have an external cooling system to prevent this fucking rule...still, at land raider cost it's quite an expensive Fortification, but oh man will this thing melt hordes, regardless of how good their save is.
  • Wall of Martyrs Vengeance weapon battery You can't get in or on top but it is cheap, you can fit two in a single slot and fires classic battle cannon or punisher cannon shots.
  • Fortress of Redemption: Expensive both in points and actual cost, this huge model doesn't exactly bristle with guns as you would expect. But now, you are able to dominate everything on the table - tanks will be sniped with the '96 lasgun, fliers will be decimated by AA guns.
  • Macro-Cannon Aquila Strongpoint: Str D large blast or apocalyptic mega blast a weapon on a large imperial Bunker with AV15. It is even more expensive then the fortress of redemption
  • Vortex Missile Aquila Strongpoint: Its all in the name. It's the Aquila strongpoint except this version fires vortex missiles
  • Haemothrope Reactor: Boosts Void Shield Generators and plasma weapons (Plasma Obliterator included). Given that you have almost no infantry plasma cannons, it's not really worth the investment.

Lord of War

  • Magnus the Red, Daemon Primarch of Tzeentch: The biggest Character model GW ever made for 40k. 650 points for the big cheese of the Thousand Sons himself. Rules wise, he's a beast. He's a Flying Monstrous Creature, Fearless, Eternal Warrior, Deep Strike, Fleet, It Will Not Die, VotLW, and is the highest Mastery Level in the game at ML5. His high Mastery level is somewhat hamstrung by the fact that all 15 of his powers are from the updated Tzeentch discipline, the Chaos Daemons Change discipline and force. Mind you this means he knows 2 Destroyer powers. What he lacks in variety he makes up for in sheer Psychic rape. He always harnesses warp charges on 2+, and thanks to his Omniscient Eye relic, Magnus has line of sight to every enemy model on the table during the Psychic phase. Nobody is safe from being smacked by D-weapons. His wargear is also amazing. His Crimson Crown gives him a 4++, which re-rolls 1s since Daemon of Tzeentch obviously, and he never suffers Perils of the Warp. His Blade of Magnus is a S:User (so S8) AP:2 Force weapon with Soul Blaze and Transmorgify (slain opponents become those unnameable beasts). Comes with an expected beastly statline at WS/BS7 S8 T7 I7 W7 A6 Ld10 and a 4+ Armor save (not moot since it's there to determine grav-weaponry's effectiveness). In all, what else did you expect?
    • Using Magnus: If you do take Magnus, chances are you're taking more Psykers alongside him. As a rule, he's going to want to stay in the middle to anchor the rest of your army, though beware of Poison as he's not a GMC. Ideally, you want to start your Psyker Phase with him casting Spell Syphon, your other casters breaking out a few Witchfires (Shriek versus MCs/infantry, Heretek powers versus vehicles), then using the extra Warp Charge for Magnus to finish things off with a bang. Do you like Burning Chariots? Boon of Flame makes it incredibly easy to conjure up 100 points each turn for popping tanks or finishing off Marines with a solid Torrent of Pink Fire.
    • Another Take: He might be awesome though don't forget he's not a Gargantuan so that time when a D attack hits him and your opponent rolls that 6, that's 650 points gone in the blink of an eye. However if a D weapon rolls a 6 against anything, chances are high it will die regardless of what it is unless its a Warlord titan. What you should REALLY fear from this is Poison and Sniper weapons, which GMC's are immune to but Magnus is not!
    • This editor has found another but very risky way to counter him, used by his very own Legion: Athenaean Scrolls. Pray Tzeentch to rolle Warp Lure on Sinistrum table and add a couple more dice to your Psychic test for higher chances of success and guaranteed roll of double. Laugh at your opponent's face (and watch for your own) as the most powerful servant of Architect of Fate struggles to cast the simplest spell. Just as planned, hehehe... Except Magnus is still likely to win the roll-off due to very high mastery level and you will mostly hope to roll the draw. Forcing him to forget a power is almost impossible and he has so many anyway that most can substitute each other for anti-tank or anti-infantry power while some are stil not very useful "cough" Tzeentch's Firestorm "cough". Bring the allied detachment/unbound Kairos for better rolls. But the biggest problem is: The Athenaean Scrolls wielder will become a huge fire magnet once the opponent guesses that you are planning to do. The Warp Lure also requires to approach Magnus within 24", and he would be surrounded by dozens of Rubricas and their angry masters. Even without his bodyguards and magicka, you still have to think about how to kill him and he is gonna be within a charge range to give you the ass-whooping then turn you into the Chaos Sp... well, you get it.
    • According to the faq, Magnus can generate powers from malefic daemonology tree. Magnus cannot use daemonology with this FAQ update as he starts the game knowing all the Tzeentch and Change powers, but DOES NOT generate powers.
  • Khorne Lord of Skulls: Khorne's big badass close combat death machine. It starts with only 4 attacks, but gets more (up to ten) for each hull point it loses - even if it recovers those lost hull points later! This is made better by it having It Will Not Die and a 5+ Invulnerable save and the fact that his CC weapon is Strength D! This thing also has two ranged weapons. His arm weapon is a 48" Heavy 12 gatling gun with Pinning but can be replaced with a 60" S9 AP3 Apocalyptic blast that forces successful saves to be re-rolled. His belly gun is an MEQ killing Hellstorm Template that can be replaced with either a 48" S7 AP2 Large blast gun or an even deadlier Hellstorm Template that has Gets Hot but also has Instant Death. Well worth considering, that is, if it wasn't for it's pants-on-head retarded point cost of 888. Really, the only use you'll get out of this is buying one to convert into a Kytan.
Forgeworld
  • Chaos Typhon Heavy Siege Tank (Forge World): Courtesy of Perturabo's fondness for superior firepower, this tank is basically a super-Vindicator. Larger than a Land Raider it boasts an all around AV 14 and 6 HPs. Equipped with a Dreadhammer Siege Cannon this thing is the ultimate bane of anything that is T5 or below and/or has only one Wound. I mean, the cannon fires a S10 AP1 Primary Weapon 1 Massive Blast (7") which, wait for it, Ignores Cover. Wanna save your sorry asses with cover saves or Jink? Well, tough luck. The Typhon can also be armed with Predator-esque sponsons and a pintle-mounted weapon up to and including a Multi-Melta. It has the option to take Armoured Ceramite in order to become nigh indestructible. May take Chaos Vehicle upgrades from the CSM Codex too. Combined with its reasonable 350 pts. stock cost it might serve as a nifty Lord of War choice in a standard-sized game.
  • Chaos Fellblade Super-Heavy Tank (Forge World): The Space Marine-grade equivalent to the Baneblade, the Chaos Fellblade packs some serious firepower on a durable platform. With AV 14/13/12, 12 HPs and the ability to take Armoured Ceramite it's not going to blow up anytime soon. As such, it has plenty of time to bring all of its guns to bear. The default arsenal includes two Quad Lascannon sponsons (4 TL Lascannon shots total), Demolisher Siege Cannon, Heavy Bolter and finally the main weapon the size of which would make Slaanesh giggle: Fellblade Accelerator Cannon. This oversized double-barreled beauty has an astounding range of 100" and two profiles: S8 AP3 Ordnance 1 Massive Blast (7") or S9 AP2 Heavy 1 Armourbane Small Blast. All of this for 540 pts. stock. Like the Chaos Typhon, the Fellblade can rake a pintle-mounted weapon and Chaos Vehicle upgrades from the CSM Codex as well. Even though it lacks Destroyer weapons of the Titans this Super-Heavy Tank still boasts considerable firepower and is arguably better balanced as far as standard-sized games are concerned.
  • Chaos Thunderhawk Gunship (Forge World): Good ol' Super-Heavy Flier which has grown some spikes. For 685 pts. it has mediocre AV 12/12/10, but at the same time it's got 9 HPs and in-built Armoured Ceramite that compensate for this. With a large transport capacity of 30 it is also explicitly permitted to transport Jump Infantry and Bikes, and boasts Assault Vehicle to go with this. Regarding the armament it has a MEQ-killing Thunderhawk cannon which might be upgraded to Everything-killing Turbo-laser destructor with Strength D, four TL Heavy Bolters (because ne'er enuff dakka), two Lascannons and 6 Hellstrike missiles. For 50 pts. it might become a Daemon with 5++ save, though the price for this is that you must roll a D6 each time a unit embarks or disembarks from the transport. If you happen to roll 1, D3 models are nommed by the Daemon Thunderhawk and restore an equivalent amount of lost HPs.
  • Renegade Knight (Renegade): Another use for an upcoming board game is to use the knight packaged as your LoW. Though it lacks any Marks like the FW Knight, it compensates by being far more customizable. It can be made to imitate any of the Loyalist Knights (With its stock build being a Gallant), but the bigger bonus is the ability to mount two of the same gun, meaning double gatlings for all the dakka goodness. It should also be noted that since this is technically CSM, Orks can finally ally with a Knight and not be uber-fucked. They...just can't repair it if it gets hurt.
  • Kytan Daemon Engine of Khorne (Forge World): Wow. And those poor bastards thought they had you cornered with their Knight bullshit. Right, so it's better armoured, has a better invulnerable save, better WS and an impressive gun. For 525 pts. Rules here. Not a perfect weapon but it can handily outclass most, if not all Knight variants and take on damn near anything on the battlefield up to Warhound titans. Also has a handy rule where if you wipe out something with its gun, you can charge something else in the assault phase so be sure to coordinate your fire to take down that squad of MEQs and then charge that superheavy or MC/GC and fuck its shit up!
  • Chaos Knight (Forge World): Rules here. The Chaotic answer to the Imperial Knight. Comes in Paladin and Errant forms. Click and paste of the normal Knight rules and weapons, but with fun Daemon upgrades and the ability to take Dirge Casters. As well as getting the Daemon Special Rule (which is ungodly since it now has an invuln save in close combat) each Deity dedication grants the Knight a special ability as follows:
    • Khorne: D3 extra attacks on the charge instead of 1, can re-roll the amount of stomp attacks it gets, and has Hatred (Slaanesh). A nice buy, to be sure.
    • Slaanesh: Opponents must make a Leadership test at -2 or become I1 for the fight sub-phase. Has Hatred (Khorne). You're purely relying on luck, but if it swings your way, bye-bye that unit the Slaanesh Knight charged.
    • Tzeentch: Heavy Stubbers gain the Soulblaze Special Rule, re-rolls 1 to-hit, and has Hatred (Nurgle). Stupid, the main weapons should have gotten Soulblaze for it to be even worthwhile, and the knight's best weapons are blasts. Re-rolling 1s to hit is useless. This works in close combat so it has potential with only 3 attacks. You're also allowed to reroll the scatter for blasts even if you can only reroll 1s.
    • Nurgle: Gain IWND and Hatred (Tzeentch). Incredibly powerful, and incredibly expensive.
  • Brass Scorpion of Khorne (Forge World): Hilarious amounts of super-heavy walker rape in a segmented can. For 700 points, you get a Baneblade-level armored big metal arachnid with a Demolisher Cannon for a face, Inferno Cannon-equivalents in both arms, a S6 AP3 Heavy 10 splattergun on its tail, and close combat capability that will pretty much make anything that survives its ranged weaponry bombardment shit itself (though it's only WS3). Oh, and it makes enemy psykers explode and goes supernova when it finally gets taken down by the massive ordnance your enemy will inevitably deploy to kill the hell out of it before it does a berserk charge and tears his shiny Titan seven new assholes. What's not to like? Worth to say there is two models of Brass Scorpions - regular Defiler-like one you need to scratch-build yourself and buffed out Great Brass Scorpion, who's model is also one of the most bad-ass-looking thing Forge World ever made. Greater Brass Scorpions get +3 attacks, and +1 to SP and front armor for like 150 extra points (new Apocalypse book puts it at 300 more now. In exchange it's demolisher ignores cover, it gets more stomp attacks, gained It will not die and is a daemon.) - still totally worth it, considering awesomeness of FW model.
  • Chaos Warhound Titan (Forge World): The desecrated Scout Titan is a force to be reckoned with. Costs 730 pts. AV 14/13/12, 9 HPs and 2 Void Shields mean it's quite tough. The Agile special rule allows it to shoot all weapons, fire a single weapon after a Run move or Run twice instead. Has the Dirge Caster by default. The Chaos Warhound possesses two weapon slots and may pick any combination from the list of: Double-barreled turbo-laser destructor, Plasma blastgun, Inferno gun or Vulcan Megabolter. All weapons are powerful but the turbo-laser erases entire chunks of the enemy army with its delicious Strength D Large Blasts (2 from one weapon!). On the other hand the Megabolter is one of the rare Titan-grade weapons that might actually fire at a Flyer or Swooping FMC, and with S6 AP3 Heavy 15 it has a reasonable chance of downing one with a single salvo. What sets it apart from the loyalist version is the ability to dedicate it to a Chaos God. This is advisable for the Daemon 5++ save, the rest are mostly bonuses:
    • Khorne: The cheapest (along with Slaanesh) at 50 pts., gives Hatred (Slaanesh), lets you re-roll the number of Stomps you get, and gives +D3 attacks on the charge. Because you were going to charge instead of just shooting it with your guns anyways right? Meh upgrade really.
    • Nurgle: The most expensive at 100 pts., it gives Hatred (Tzeentch) and It Will Not Die. Despite the high cost this seems to be the best option, granting increased survivability to something that is already a huge fire magnet.
    • Tzeentch: 75 pts. granting Hatred (Nurgle), re-rolls for 1's To Hit, and gives the Inferno Cannon Soul Blaze. Despite Soul Blaze being kind of overkill and not really effective the re-rolls make up for it. Another good option. Tzeentch is probably the worst dedication. Re-rolling 1s doesn't mean shit if all weapons except for one are blast weapons
    • Slaanesh: the other 50 pts. option, this one grants Hatred (Khorne) and in CC forces the enemy to take a LD test at a -2 or reduces their initiative to 1. If it wasn't for the fact that most CC threats are I1 anyways (other Walkers maybe?) this would be good.
  • Chaos Reaver Titan (Forge World): In fact, at 1,460 pts. this Battle Titan costs almost as much as a regular army. Anyway, the Chaos Reaver is extremely tough with AV 14/14/13 and 18 Hull Points protected by 4 Void Shields. It is further equipped with a Dirge Caster and must select one carapace weapon and two arm weapons. The carapace weapons are Warhound-grade whilst the arm slots have even stronger BFGs. The Laser blaster in particular is an enhanced version of the turbo-laser with Strength D AP2 Primary Weapon 3 shots per gun. You can totally equip the Reaver with two of those and a carapace turbo-laser to fire 8 Strength D Large Blasts each turn. Why? Because MAIM! KILL! BURN!, that's why. Like the Chaos Warhound it may be dedicated to a Chaos God for the Daemon USR and certain other bonuses:
    • Khorne: The cheapest (along with Slaanesh) at 100 pts., gives Hatred (Slaanesh), lets you re-roll the number of Stomps you get, and gives +D3 attacks on the charge. Because you were going to charge instead of just shooting it with your guns anyways right? Meh upgrade really. People tend to forget how much this can save their bacon. A common tactic against Reavers is to tarpit them with blobs of cheap units so they can't shoot. Re-rolling stomps can really help you clear out tarpits.
    • Nurgle: The most expensive at 200 pts., it gives Hatred (Tzeentch) and It Will Not Die. Seriously, a Daemon Reaver Titan of Nurgle will not die. Despite the high cost this seems to be the best option, granting increased survivability to something that is already a huge fire magnet.
    • Tzeentch: 150 pts. granting Hatred (Nurgle), re-rolls for 1's To Hit, and gives the Inferno Cannon Soul Blaze. Despite Soul Blaze being kind of overkill and not really effective the re-rolls make up for it. Another good option. Tzeentch is probably the worst dedication. Re-rolling 1s doesn't mean shit if all weapons except for one are blast weapons (and why would you take the Vulcan Mega-Bolter over an Apocalypse Missile Launcher or a Laser Blaster?).
    • Slaanesh: the other 100 pts option, this one grants Hatred (Khorne) and in CC forces the enemy to take a LD test at a -2 or reduces their initiative to 1. If it wasn't for the fact that most CC threats are I1 anyways (other Walkers maybe?) this would be good.
    • Alternative Opinion: Dedicating your Reaver to Nurgle really isn't worth it. Dedicate it to Khorne and give it the "Veteran Of The Scouring" legacy of ruin. It's 20pts cheaper than Nurgle and still grants IWND and Daemon. Hatred (Space Marines) is also way better than Hatred (Tzeentch). If you want proof, compare the amount of Tzeentch players to the amount of Marine players... yeah. Not only this, but you also gain +D3 attacks on the charge (not that useful, to be fair) and re-rolls for the amount of stomps you get (excellent if your opponent is trying to tarpit you). If you really want to piss off your opponent, take the Reaver dedicated to Khorne with "Veteran Of The Scouring". Add in Daemon allies and take the Grimoire of true names and some Malefic Daemonology and pray to the dark gods for Cursed Earth. That gives you a 2++ Invuln, but wait, there's more!. Take Be'lakor as you're warlord and spam invisibility. You're left with a Reaver Titan with a 2++ Invuln that can only be hit on 6s. Watch the loyalists cry!
  • Warlord Battle Titan - Hoo boy, just when you thought you were safe. Forgeworld has noted that this beast can be taken in a CSM army [1]. This destroyer of wallets is also a destroyer of friendships, as it's rules are as ridiculous as you think. Making an appearance in HH:5, it brings the pain in oh-so many ways. Coming in at a whopping 2750 points it sports 6 void shields and 30 RUINOUS-POWER-DAMNED HULL POINTS. Should you reach said hull points it has a 5++ save against hits to those hull points. It has a variety of go-fuck-yourself weapons (most of which are blasts) and rules, such as; the ability to fire Overwatch with some of its built-in weapons, immunity to being locked in combat as well as the Haywire rule and all non-Witchfire psychic attacks (and ceramite plating, fuck melta weapons), can only be hit in assault on a roll of 6 by infantry and MCs (or a 5+ by other superheavies and GCs), and all of its stomps use a Large Blast template. Oh, and should anyone actually manage to destroy it it explodes in a 12"/24"/36" blast with its own table, 1 is S D/8/4 AP 2/3/5, 2-3 is S D/10/6 AP 2/3/4, and 4-6 is S D all round and AP 1/2/2... Good luck finding someone who will play you with this, asshole.

Supplements

Chaos Space Marines core codex is lackluster, and many of the best rules are spread across the supplements! Anyone with a Chaos Space Marine army in mind should read this guide, to figure out what supplements they will need.

Crimson Slaughter

Crimson Slaughter 7e Cover.jpg

Yes, the Chaos warband from Dark Vengeance that nobody had heard of before got their own supplement for some reason, and before most of the 10,000-year-old veterans get their own, to boot. This is an undivided army that cannot take VotLW, and takes Possessed as troops... and is better at it than Word Bearers, for some reason.

Unfortunately, the new revised version brought some serious nerf to this supplement. Gone is the ability to buy a cheap upgrade to your chosen to give them Preferred Enemy, and the Renegades of the Dark Millennium changed quite a bit, so that you can no longer take special characters or daemon princes.

Get this supplement if you want to play as the Crimson Slaughter, like their wargear or formations, want to play undivided CSM with access to Divination, or want any sort of Possessed-heavy or non-VotLW list.

  • If you are playing a Legion, don't get this book, you have no use for it.

Traitor's Hate

Traitor's Hate Cover.jpg

This nifty little book includes some really nice formations in addition to the official dataslates for renegade knights AND Khorne lord of skulls. All in all, not a bad deal. While the formation dataslates and updated Lord of Skulls are compiled in Traitor Legions, the renegade knight rules are not, and nor is the Black Crusade detachment. The Black Crusade is the main gem of this supplement for many players. It is a generic formation-based detachment for any Chaos Space Marine army, regardless of warband or legion.

Get this supplement if you want to play a formation-based detachment or use the CSM-only psychic disciplines, and don't want to use Traitor Legions stuff.

  • If you run Crimson Slaughter, Red Corsairs or Fabius Bile & Co., or a list containing special characters from multiple legions, you need this book if you want a formation based detachment.
  • If you are playing a Legion, you will only need this book if you are including a Knight in your army list, or if you prefer Black Crusade to your legion-specific detachment. Otherwise skip it, there's greener pastures ahead.

Wrath of Magnus

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This supplement gives some love to Thousand Sons players as well as Tzeentchian Daemon players. For Chaos Marines, this updates the rules for Thousand Sons and Ahriman, updates the Lore of Tzeentch, and adds rules for Exalted Sorcerers, Tzaangors, SCARAB Occult Terminators and Magnus himself! In addition to the Thousand Sons Grand Coven, it also adds rules for any detachment to become a Thousand Sons detachment, thus granting it access to a new set of Relics and Warlord Traits, and it includes reprints of the powers from Traitor's Hate.

Where this gets amusing is the fact that any Detachment can be made a Thousand Sons detachment, and standalone formations are Detachments. This means if you really wanted to, you could run a Cult of Destruction, and give the mandatory Warpsmith the Astral Grimoire for a unit of Jump Obliterators, if you were so inclined. Alternately, a Daemon Prince casting Cursed Earth on itself would have a 3+ Invulnerable and reroll 1s. The jury is out as to whether a Detachment can belong to different Legions with mutually exclusive requirements (example: a Tzeentchian Cyclopia Cabal), but discuss this with your opponent beforehand and generally assume the answer will be no.

Get this supplement if you are a big Thousand Sons fan or want the updated Horrors rules for summoning.

  • You don't need to get Traitor Legions or Traitor's Hate if you have this book and all you are planning on playing is Thousand Sons, unless you want the generic formations or the Knight.
  • If you are playing Thousand Sons as part of your army but aren't mono-Tzeentch, get Traitor Legions instead, you won't miss any Thousand Sons rules by not buying this book.
  • Don't get this book if you are Crimson Slaughter. There's nothing in it for you unless you want to use the splitting Horrors rules.

Traitor Legions

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Riding on the tide of the Wrath of Magnus supplement above, this one will grant special rules and detachments to all named traitor legions, including the ones from WoM. We haven't seen something like this since 3rd edition, folks!

Traitor Legions contains ALL the current(as of December 2016) rules for EVERY Traitor Legion. Each Traitor Legion has its Legion Tactics: every model that can take VotLW in your army gets it for free, and then every model that has VotLW benefits from the Legion's special rules. Traitor Legions contains all the CSM rules from Wrath of Magnus concurrently, you get the same from either one. It also replaces the older Black Legion rules, improving them tremendously. Most importantly, though, it takes all the neglected legions and makes it so you can finally play a fluffy list, and adds a truly enormous amount of unique wargear and special rules. Daemon weapons for every god are back too! Even if it doesn't necessarily make every legion a top tier army, this book finally makes CSM FUN like it used to be!

Of note is that this book makes boys over toys more important: For relic burdened characters, take the old supplements, and pretend this doesn't exist. For better rules for all models, use this supplement.

Also included are updated Lord of Skulls and psychic powers for both the undivided disciplines and the mono-god disciplines, so you'll definitely want to get this just for those if you run sorcerers.

Get this supplement no matter what. It's important.

  • You don't need Traitor's Hate or Wrath of Magnus if you buy this book, even if you plan on running Thousand Sons. The only exception is if you specifically want the Black Crusade detachment(for instance if you aren't running a Legion), a Chaos Knight Renegade Knight (Chaos Knights are the Daemon-possessed versions, available from ForgeWorld) or the updated Horrors of Tzeentch rules for summoning.
  • Even if your army isn't a Legion, you will likely want to get this book anyway just for the psychic powers.

Imperial Armour 13: War Machines of the Lost and the Damned (Forge World)

Imperial Armour War Machines of the Lost and the Damned Cover.jpg

Forge World provides HUGE support for Chaos. Though it's spread between several books, IA13 is your primary go-to sources for goodies. Included in this huge book:

  • Predator, Vindicator and Land Raider variants
  • The SPARTAN ASSAULT TANK
  • Dreadnought variants
  • Drop Pods
  • Flyers
  • More Daemon Engines
  • Super-Heavies
  • Rapier Artillery
  • Legacies of Ruin

...and more

Get this supplement if you want to take the really big/crazy/good stuff and have a hundred dollars to spare.

  • Forgeworld has it as Out of stock, doubtful reprint as the Chaos Dreadnoughts have been removed from sale, find a PDf or fork out on Ebay..*

Experimental Rules (Forge World)

These Forge World rules are available free of charge. Just download them and print them off if you want to use them. Be sure you have a suitable model first, however.

https://www.forgeworld.co.uk/en-US/Downloads

The current free CSM rules include:

  • Chaos Knight(Daemon Knight variant)
  • Cor'Bax Utterblight, Daemon Prince of the Ruinstorm
  • Deimos Pattern Vindicator Tank Destroyer
  • Kytan Daemon Engine of Khorne

Other Supplements

Other books containing CSM rules:

  • IA: Apocalypse(3rd Edition): Contains several special characters not found in IA13, as well as Apocalypse-only formations.
  • IA: The Siege of Vraks: Contains several Nurgle-related datasheets as well as The Purge detachment rules.
  • Warzone: Pandorax: Contains several super-heavies not found in IA13, as well as Apocalypse-only formations.
  • Death from the Skies: Contains a datasheet for using the Heldrake with the advanced flyer rules.
  • Starter Sets: The Start Collecting! box and the Dark Vengeance box + Chaos expansion have their own formations. Dark Vengeance has an Aspiring Champion special character.
  • Renegade: The Renegade Imperial Knights set has a datasheet for the Chaos Knight.
  • Dataslates: Include a Kharn formation, Cypher, a Cypher formation, Be'lakor, and three Helbrute formations. Back from when GW was having its micro-transaction phase.

Outdated Supplements:

  • Black Legion formerly had its own supplement before being absorbed into Traitor Legions. Under this old supplement, Terminators were not troops, VotLW was not free, there was no Hatred(Everything!), and no big formation based detachment other than the generic one in Traitor's Hate. Suffice to say, Traitor Legions is a big boost to the Warmaster's forces! Note that there was an older Daemon Prince + Possessed formation in the old Black Legion supplement which is not reprinted in Traitor Legions, however. It is printed in Traitor Legions, but they seemingly forgot to add it to the speartip. So keep an eye out for a faq. Another interesting rule was is in the first edition of Black Legion, where Abaddon's Chosen Terminators were an upgrade to a unit in a CAD, not a formation. In addition, in the updated pure black legion supplement, you could take any number of relics from both black legion and the vanilla codex, unlike the bullshit only one from traitor legions. Thus, if you want to play a tzeentch force, take the wrath of magnus and an old black legion character as an unbound additional HQ: It is just better.
  • The older version of the Crimson Slaughter has the Chosen with Preferred Enemy be something taken as a 10 point upgrade, not a formation, meaning you could take a squad of pref. enemy plasma chosen in a CAD without paying the Possessed tax. In addition, you could take models with VotLW(such as Daemon Princes and special characters) as long as they came with it stock and you weren't buying it.

FAQs

Both GW and Forge World have these. Don't ignore them, they are important because they also give errata.

The Legions

With the release of Traitor Legions, you can now run your Chaos Space Marines to represent one of the nine fallen Legions! To do this, any detachment (be it a CAD, Ally Detachment, any standalone Formation [at least, those without restrictions like "This is a Thousand Sons Detachment", etc], or Detachment of Formations) can count as belonging to one specific Legion if it adheres to certain restrictions; in exchange, you get several benefits, as well as access to a Legion-specific warlord table and list of artifacts.

Black Legion

Black Legion offer versatility with a wide variety of tactical options, while being a somewhat more elite army than your typical CSM army.

  • Requirements: Abaddon is the only Unique Character you can include in a Black Legion detachment, and any unit that can take VotLW must do so for free.
  • Benefits: You have Hatred (Everyone) and VotLW gets upgraded so you re-roll to hit against Loyalist shitheads (any Armies of the Imperium) every single combat phase. Terminators and Chosen are troops, and any Psyker with a Mark of a chaos god can choose to roll all of their powers on their god-specific table.
    • Note: Traitor Legions updates the previous Black Legion rules, removing their infamous VotLW tax and instead letting them have it for free, and finally giving them their own detachment.
    • A note on marks: Black Legion is one of two legions that has access to Thousand Sons units. Not terribly useful, but it does give them access to the Exalted Sorcerer and Scarab Occult Terminators for anti-MEQ, divination and one-use orbital strikes.


  • Warlord Traits
    • 1: Black Crusader: Same as the original, Preferred Enemy (Space Marines) for your Warlord and friendlies within 12".
    • 2: Eye of the Gods: Whenever the Warlord rolls on the Chaos Boon Table or Gift of Mutation Chaos Reward, they can re-roll the result once. For a good challenge-based Warlord, this is a big save and it stacks with the Warband benefits for extra insurance. Bonus points for rolling this in a Black Crusade.
    • 3: Gift of Balefire: Warlord can shoot one single-use S4, AP5, Assault 1, Soulblaze template. Considering the goofiness of Soulblaze this isn't a really great gift. Still better than Black Crusader if you're facing a different army.
    • 4: Unholy Fortitude: Warlord gets It Will Not Die. YES.
    • 5: Soul Stealer: When in combat, any to-wound rolls of 6 become Instant Death. Grab your Claws and go murder some MCs and characters.
    • 6: Chosen of Abaddon: Warlord and friendly units within 12" gain Stubborn. Excellent force multiplier that takes advantage of your high Ld and patches your lack of ATSKNF.


  • Relics
    • Spineshiver Blade: AP3 Daemon Weapon. Gives +1I when in combat. Neato. Combine with a Slaanesh Chaos Lord for an Initiative 7 MEQ killer! Also note, for what it's worth, that the +1I bonus is always active, regardless of what weapon you're using. Moreover, until faqed, this does not replace a weapon, so a prince with this gains an extra attack!
    • Crucible of Lies: User has -1T, but can re-roll Invuln Save rolls of 1. Why would anyone ever take this? Maybe you have a Terminator Lord or Sorcerer of Tzeentch with a Sigil of Corruption hiding in the middle of Terminators squad bodyguards. That's a 2+ armor save with a 3+ invuln that only fails on a 2. Could also work with a Disc of Tzeentch or Bike(you'd still be reaping the benefit of a bike unit's majority toughness) to negate the loss of Toughness, but then disallows the use of Terminator Armor.
    • Last Memory of the Yuranthos: A Psyker with this Relic gains an additional Mastery Level, but instead of rolling for another power, you simply get the Sunburst power from Pyromancy. Additionally, you have the option to cast Sunburst with an increased radius for a higher Warp Charge cost (declare the "target" before rolling); a minimum of 2 successes to use Sunburst with a 12" radius, and a minimum of 3 for an 18" radius. Note that should you Perils for any reason, your Psyker is slain outright!
      • Analysis: If you're dead-set on rolling a Telepathy/Ectomancy/Sinistrum Psyker, you won't want this Relic because it will cost you your Psychic Focus and Psychic Shriek is a good Primaris. Likewise, if you like running non-Battle Brother Allies, you'll also want to avoid this power because any Orks or Necrons you bring along for the ride will be hit by this power too! Otherwise, if you don't care about the Primaris powers or like to "Mix and match" (or are playing a Marked Sorcerer/Daemon Prince), then it's worth consideration as it's only 5 points more than a hypothetical 4th Mastery Level. Having a Nova on-hand can actually help extricate smaller Marine units from nearby close combats with small units, and can effectively nullify certain "extreme MSU" threats to your army. However, be careful because the moment your Sorcerer gets entangled in a fight, you won't actually be able to cast this power. If you're dead-set on running a Daemon Prince, then this is a handy "Fly By" power to cast before Swooping away from retaliation. You don't have to overcharge the Last Memory, but against certain "extreme MSU" builds (mass Scatterpacks come to mind), sometimes it may be well worth sacrificing your Sorcerer to cover an 18" radius of the map in a de-facto neutron bomb.
    • Eye of Night: User can make one single-use Large Blast attack that is S5, AP4 and does 1d3 auto-pen hits to buildings and vehicles that ignore cover. Don't expect to ruin Land Raiders with this. It can, though, intimidate that transport full of enemies or mess up artillery. At least one auto penetrating hit is not to be sniffed at, and against vehicle less enemies, it is great for clearing out tarpits. But it is also obscenely expensive, so make it count, and put it on something with BS5. It really comes into its own in low points games- above 500pts or so, an enemy can survive one vehicle being put out of action. However, in small games, where the enemy has only one vehicle, it not being able to fire for a turn, or it losing the ability to ever move, is ridiculously good.
      • Alternate opinion:Considering how hard it is to get a vehicle in a decurion, this might not be as expensive as it appears. Think of it as a cheaper, slightly worse triple-las pred. On average you will get 2 penetrating hits for 75 points as opposed to being forced to buy into a fist of the gods for some 400 ish points. With ignore cover no less. You might even get lucky and come up against a wall of armour.
    • Skull of Ker'ngar: User has Eternal Warrior and Adamantium Will. Nice. This is your only place to get EW outside of lucky warlord trait rolls.
    • Hand of Darkness: When in combat, the user can trade his attacks for one S*2, AP1, Armourbane, Fleshbane, Instant Death blow. Not really gonna do much unless in challenges (and being CSM, that will be often) or if you want to pop a tank. In a challenge this will mesh well with the Eye of the Gods trait. Falcon - PUNCH! This became slightly better with Traitor Legions, as anybody that can take this now has built in hatred, meaning you get to re-roll your one attack.
      • What you want to be using this against is monstrous creatures with multiple wounds that you can take down before they get the chance to strike. Thanks to traitor legions we now hate EVERYBODY and get to re-roll to punch a dreadknight in the nads every round. Make your Apostle punch some Carnifexes or Tervigons in the face or something.
      • STOP THE PRESSES: Flying MCs start the game gliding. If you can get first turn in a speartip with a raptor talon, you can falcon punch that dirty flyrant back to the future before he takes off. Or D-Thirster, or whatever. This thing got a new lease with Traitor Legions. This also applies to psychic buffs or things like the Riptide nova reactor. Falcon - PUNCH! indeed.


  • Mission Objectives
    • 1: 1 VP for destroying a unit in turn.
    • 2: 1 VP if enemy failed Morale/Pin/Fear test.
    • 3: D3 VPs for killing every enemy Independent Character.
    • 4: Roll a D6 and get 1 VP when your Warlord controls the objective marker with the same number.
    • 5: 1 VP if you kill a unit or D3 VPs if killed by your VotLW unit.
    • 6: 1 VP if manifested a power, D3 if that was a conjuration, D3+3 if summoned a Greater Daemon.


  • Black Legion Tactics

Black Legion are much more viable than before, thanks to Traitor Legions making VotLW free and making Terminators a Troops choice.

With Chosen as Troops, you can have a small unit with only a heavy weapon like a Lascannon or Autocannon, and have them sit on an objective. This gives them an advantage over Cultists. With Terminators as troops, you can have a durable, quality-over-quantity army with bare minimum T4 2+/5++ and ObSec, mass teleportation and the ability to counter a variety of lists through choices of combi-weapons and power weapons.

The Artifacts are mediocre at best, while Hatred (+better Hatred vs the Imperium) is good for a codex written to jump into enemies' faces. On the bright side, you have excellent leadership across the board with most units, plus having a Daemon Prince of Tzeentch with Eternal Warrior is cheese, especially if you use them as allies in a Screamerstar list. And getting re-rolls to hit the first round of every single melee helps your units do their job and be quite reliable in close combat. Kitting units for close combat pays off better because of it.

The best way to play the Black Legion is by taking advantage of your scoring Chosen and Terminator squads. Kit the Chosen with special weapons of your choice, and load them in METHAL BAWKSES! Even flamers aren't bad if you want to keep them cheep, just add another Chosen with a Meltagun and you're set. Using a mix of Chaos Marines and Chosen units gives you more mileage. Since Chosen will carry a lot of special weapons, you don't have to worry about adding them into Marine squads, but do have them watch the Chosen's back. Brothers look out for each other after all!

Meanwhile Terminator squads make for a great vanguard. Deep strike them in, unleash your heavy and combi-weapons to destroy a target, and then start killing things in melee if your opponent fails to shoot them off the board in one turn. Alternatively, put an objective forward outside of your deployment zone and then parking an Objective Secured Land Raider full of Terminators on it.

If you run lots of Chosen, consider which unit should take Marks, if any. Chosen are a vulnerable unit, not tougher than regular space marines but costing more due to their ability to put out more damage. Keep in mind that quantity over quality is better in this edition, so use Marks with caution if you plan on taking them. On the other hand, Marks on Terminators can be very useful, as they are already a tough unit designed to work in close combat: giving a squad a Mark can push it over the line and make it quite deadly.

It should be noted that with Chosen you are essentially paying +3 points per model for one extra attack. If you are looking to Rip and Tear, you may as well take them, as on the charge they will get 4 attacks per model.

  • 5 extra attacks with the mark of Khorne- Yes, they have more attacks than Khorne Berzerkers. Give them Icon of Wrath and you have Berzerkers who can take better wargear and have +1 attack, at the cost of chainaxes and fearless. And you are paying a whole 1 point less per model in turn.

The Black Legion is a mixed bag, some of their unique traits work, and others are left to be more desired. It can be wise to keep a few of your squads cheep, and only upgrade those that need it, to save points for your Chosen kill squads/Terminator deathstars.

Raptor Talon and Terminator Annihilation Force are utterly lethal if they contain your warlord due to your detachment special rules.

Note: An often overlooked combination in this supplement allows you to make one of the most durable nameless Lords in the game by equipping a Tzeentch marked Terminator lord with a Sigil of Corruption and the Skull of Eternal Warrior. This is the only way chaos can field a 2+/3++ EW lord so slap a lightning claw and chainfist on him for the additional attack, give him a retinue, and tank everything your opponent throws at you.

  • Despoiler’s Contingent: Take Abaddon the Despoiler along with his Terminator Squad in formation (only take 3-4 if you take a Land Raider). Throw in a 2nd HQ, either a Lord with Spineshiver blade or Hand of darkness trades out with Abaddon in challenges accordingly, OR a Sorceror, Biomancy rolls for certain, Mark of Nurgle may result in best support, Tzeentch adds “cheap” shots (powerful ones if lucky) Slaanesh may be best melee choice. As for the Terminators themselves, give them either Mark of Tzeentch, Mark of Nurgle or Mark of Slaanesh along with Icon of Excess. Stick them in a Land Raider or deepstrike them and drive deep in to the warm moist folds of flesh of your opponent's army.
    • Traitor Legions Update: This strategy becomes much stronger in Traitor Legions. If you take the unique Black Legion detachment, you start rolling for Deep Strike reserves turn 1, and your Warlord's unit arrives automatically! This means you can build your list around dishing out a brutal alpha strike.
    • Traitor Legions: Objective Secured Variant: Don't take Abaddon's formation, instead just take Terminators as troops in a CAD. Place objectives all over the battlefield then drop Objective Secured deep striking Terminators and Land Raiders all over the place, seizing ground while at the same time performing a massive blitz. It may be advantageous to take Mark of Tzeentch or Nurgle for this strategy, to avoid getting shot off your objectives and losing them to the enemy.
  • Melta Assault: Simple, take those chosen as troop, fill them up with all the Melta, Give them Mark of Khorne or Slaanesh (along with the appropriate Icon) for a better-than-average general assault squad (Slaanesh arguably being better since Feel No Pain adds to your staying power) with the potential to hurt anything in the game with all those melta guns.


Thousand Sons

The thousand sons do two things really, really well. Eating MEQs and ruling the Psychic phase, with AP3 bolt weapons and power weapons all over the place, and psykers in nearly every unit. They're also pretty durable, having lots of invuln saves and plenty of ways to buff up. Their also the only CSM Legion that can take their Primarch. Expect the rest at the start of the next decade, or is it? Mortarion coming soon!

  • Requirements: Only special characters allowed are Ahriman and Magnus. Everyone must take VotLW (for free), and have/must buy Mark of Tzeentch. Daemon Princes must take Daemon of Tzeentch.
  • Benefits: Rubric Marines are Troop Choices. Tzeentch Psykers can roll all of their powers on the Tzeentch Table. Any unit that gets a blessing cast on it gets +1 to their Invulnerable save, you reroll to-hit against Space Wolves in every round of close combat, but Space Wolves have Hatred(Thousand Sons).
  • Warlord Traits
    • 1: Arrogance of Aeons: Warlord has Adamantium Will, and can re-roll 1 dice when trying to deny.
    • 2: Undying Form: Eternal Warrior.
    • 3: Aether Stride: Warlord and unit isn't affected by difficult terrain and do not suffer initiative penalty when charging through DT. Great on a Terminator Sorcerer bro-ing it up with Terminators.
    • 4: Lord of Forbidden Lore: Warlord knows an extra psychic power.
    • 5: Walker of the Webway: Warlord has Deep Strike. If he already does, he and his unit do not scatter upon deep strike.
    • 6: Lord of Flux: All enemies within 12" treat all terrain, even open ground, as difficult terrain. Any unit that runs, moves flat out, turbo-boosts, or charges within this bubble must take Dangerous Terrain.
  • Artefacts of Tzeentch
    • Astral Grimoire: A single friendly unit within 12" gets the Jump Infantry rule. Note, this means any friendly and not just 1k Sons. This can mean anything from Jump Obliterators to Plague Zombies with Hammer of Wrath. This is probably the best all-comers option from Wrath of Magnus.
    • Athenaean Scrolls: If you roll any multiples of any number when casting a psychic power, it cannot be denied. Even a perils. This is if you want to sling lots of Witchfires and Maledictions around, as those are usually the easiest to Deny. That said, this artifact is near-useless against armies with no psyker presence, from Necrons to Gladius Razorspam to Tau and chances are you'll have a massive surplus of WC anyway. That said, the moment this helps you cripple a Wolfstar or Seer Council, it pays for itself then and there.
    • Coruscator: Ranged weapon: 12: range, Strength 4, AP 3, Pistol, Blast, Soul Blaze. Can be situationally useful, but severely overcosted.
      • However, you might notice that it is just about the only Pistol in the game that a Terminator can take. Lets you shoot some shmucks without losing your bonus attack.
    • Helm of the Third Eye: Gives the bearer and their unit Overwatch even if they have Slow and Purposeful, and gives them BS2 Overwatch if they do not have S&P. Again, trying to make up for the obvious shortcomings of the 1k sons. Consider using these on Mark of Tzeentch Obliterators, too! Stick in a mob of Tzaangors or Cultists for impractical yet hilarious overwatch. Alternatively, take a rubric marine squad armed entirely with warpflamers and attach a sorcerer with Helm of the Third Eye. Watch as no one charges you ever.
    • Seer's Bane: A Daemon Weapon with the following profile: Strength as user, AP 2, Force and Daemon Weapon with the Bane of Wisdom rule: the strength of the weapon is equal to the bearer’s Leadership characteristic (except against vehicles) as strength and the target’s Leadership characteristic as their Toughness. Use the targets normal Toughness for the purposes of Instant Death. Particularly nasty for monster-hunting if you can Leadership debuffs from other sources. Entertainingly, for the Sorcerer legion, this is by far the best on a Chaos Lord: Ld10 means it is brutally efficient, plus the higher weapon skill and generally more reliable durability JUST HURTS!!!
    • Staff of Arcane Compulsion: Melee weapon, Strength +2, AP 4, Concussive, Force, Repelling Sweep: enemy units charging the bearer or his unit suffer a -2 penalty to their charge roll. Remember Force (the spell) counts as a blessing for Blessing of Tzeentch, and is automatically known.

Overall: Unlike the mostly offensive-based CSM relics, these are somewhat more defensive, since most of these are force multipliers rather than creating a close combat monster, which still can be done if you want to give a Daemon Prince the Staff or a Sorcerer the Seer's bane.

  • Mission Objectives
    • 1: Kill 9 or more enemy models during your turn.
    • 2: Nullify a psychic power for a VP at the end of enemy's turn. Wording means you get this automatically if it was done at least once before generating that objective.
    • 3: Kill loyalist scum unit during your turn.
    • 4: D3 VP if your opponent controls no objective markers and you control at least one.
    • 5: Kill a unit during psychic phase to score D3 VP.
    • 6: Manifest 3 powers of different types for D3 VP, but you manifest 6 powers of different types (to be exact: "usual" witchfire, nova, beam, blesiing , malediction, conjuration), score D3+3 instead. Too dependent from your magic roster and more likely to be discarded in small games with a single HQ.


  • Thousand Sons Tactics

The Thousand Sons are meant to be a very small, yet powerful fighting force, with lots of Psychic dakka. As such, getting a regular CAD would be good enough for relatively low-point games.

Iron Warriors

Iron Warriors get bonuses against Fortifications, Tanks, and Imperial Fists, like you'd expect, and they're also a little tougher than most marines.

Requirements
No unique characters (which may change if Perturabo gets a model).
No Chaos marks.
Benefits
All units which can take VotLW must do so for free.
All units with VotLW gain 6+ FNP and re-roll failed to hit every combat round against Imperial Fists, but the Fists gain Hatred (Iron Warriors).
Obliterators and Mutilators are troops.
Units gain Shred against buildings; if you pen, you get +1 to the building damage table.
Havocs, Obliterators, and Mutilators get Tank Hunters.
DP can roll all powers from their god's discipline.
Warlord Traits
1 - Iron Without
4+ FNP, which can't be improved (not like you are able to).
2 - Cold Calculations
Fearless. A waste on everything but a fluffy Heretech Sorcerer or Warpsmith. You may want to roll it only for a Warlord-Champion in very low-budget games with no HQ unit and no way to use IW Grand Company benefits.
3 - Master of Fortifications
Gives a piece of terrain in your deployment zone +1 to cover.
4 - Technovial Manipulator
Friendly Obliterators within 12" of the Warlord can fire the same weapon in each shooting phase.
5 - Steel Castellan
Warlord and Unit have Split-fire and Counter-attack when in cover.
6 - Master of Blasphemous Machines
Friendly vehicles get IWND when within 6" of warlord.
All are highly situational; 2 is nearly always useless, 3 depends highly on the terrain (or if you took fortifications which, believe me, you should Specifically says it cannot be used on Fortifications that are part of your army list) and gets neglected quite often, 4 would be a That Guy mono-build (and even then, focusing all your soldiers on one point of the battlefield? SWEET! ), and 6 means your Warlord (who, just to remind you, can't be a Warsmith) stays in a defensive position. 5 is... ok.
Alternate view: A Lord with a huuuuge axe in a bubble of Dinobots and Helbrutes? Sounds like IW to me.
Shove him into a Helcult and enjoy a virtually unkillable Hellbrute. 3+ cover, IWND and the Warlord gets a unit to hide among. For extra cheddar make your Warlord a Warpsmith for repair rolls,
  • Relics
    • Warpbreacher: You can possess a vehicle each turn as though it had Daemonic Possession vehicle equipment. Warpsmith only. Not worth it, as the wording of Daemonic Possession doesn´t help you after the damage was resolved.
    • Nest of Mechserpents: (Warp Smith only) In a challenge, resolve first 2 hits normally. If both hit the remainder of your attacks have Instant Death. Warpsmith in CC? Could work, but they are way too expensive for this.
    • Axe of the Forge Master It's a power axe with Armourbane and Master-crafted. Only worth it on a DP, otherwise unwieldy neglates the nice boni against walkers.
    • Fleshmetal Exoskeleton: Fleshmetal armour with IWND. Start building your own budget Smashfucker.
    • Cranium Malevolous During the enemy shooting phase enemy vehicles within 2D6 of this relic suffer an automatic haywire hit, no cover allowed. Combine with Dreadclaw for extra lulz.
    • Siege Breaker Mace: Master-Crafted Power Maul that you can make a single S10, AP 1 attack with. Actually, consider... no. Don´t. Not for a chaos lord anyways. Put it on a daemon prince, and he's strength 8 in combat.
  • Mission Objectives
    • 1: 1 VP if you kill a unit even partially within 18” your table edge.
    • 2: 1 VP if you kill a unit that was controlling an objective.
    • 3: 1 VP if your oblits/mutil destroyed a unit.
    • 4: Nominate an objective marker, get D3 VP if you control this at the end of the next turn or the end of the game.
    • 5: VP if enemy forts/buildings lost HP or Wound (wait, does any building or vehicle in this game has a Wounds stat?), D3 if at least one was destroyed.
    • 6: 1 VP if you destroy an enemy vehicle, D3 for at least 3, D3+3 if you managed to destroy five.
  • Iron Warriors Tactics
    • Units that actually benefit from the master of annihilation rule: Defilers with battle cannons, vindicators and vengeance weapon batteries. Nothing in the chaos arsenal has barrage. Future proofing? As for now, just stick with regular Traitor's Hate warband rules.
    • Aegis Defense lines are a cheap way to get more out of your Havocs - they get cover, Fearless and their Sergeant can apply his Tank Hunter to air defense. And of course look to Planetary Onslaught for other fortifications: strongpoint or vortex missiles will be great addition for your army. Now IW is the only Decurion that includes fortifications at all!
    • They work best as an Auxiliary Detachment for your main force - 2 units of Obliterators, 1 unit of Havocs and a Sorcerer fit in nearly anywhere.
    • Remember, you have Obliterators in Troops. In combination with Mayhem Pack your army becomes Deep Strike spamming clutches of fuck. It may be quite annoying, because your enemy does not know which your unit is more dangerous: he may destroy one, but another will do his work!
    • If you like Daemon Princes, you cane give the Exoskeleton and Deamon of Tzeentch special rule to your lovely horny guy. Black Mace also adds some deadliness.

Alpha Legion

Alpha Legion let you play sneaky cheeky chaos marines, with lots of infiltration and the tactical flexibility that offers. They've also got some fun relics and one of the most hilariously useful tricks of any army that effectively makes every single Character be your warlord, so no Slay the Warlord VPs until every last Champion on the board is dead. Also, new Warlord trait every time one of your Sergeants get "promoted.".

Requirements
Your army contains no unique characters (discuss with your opponent if you are using Arkos the Faithless) and no marks of Chaos. Daemon Princes both RAI and RAW are exempt from that restriction and can roll all powers on their god's table. Any unit that can take VotLW does so for free.
Benefits
Forward Operatives
Chosen become troops and Chosen, CSM and Cultists gain infiltrate.
Many Heads of the Hydra
If the Warlord is slain, pick a friendly Alpha Legion character. He generates a warlord trait immediately. You can do this as long as you have characters to do it with. Opponent won’t get Slay the Warlord if they haven’t killed your last remaining character. You can even do this with returned units of cultists, so with lucky return rolls, you can have infinite warlords.
Warlord Traits
1: Forward Agent
Gain Infiltrate. Though slightly annoying Alpha Legion characters don't get this already, nice to have.
2: Faceless Commander
Once per game, your warlord can switch positions with another friendly character of the same unit type. Could be used for fun shenanigans. Take note that if you're swapping with a regular champion - not an IC - he and his squad would have to run towards each other trying to restore coherency. And it could be super easy to remove them from play with tank shocks later on. So, keep this in mind.
3: Expert Timing
From turn 2 on, one unit auto passes reserve rolls. Remember that having Infiltrate automatically confers Outflank, so if you roll this one consider leaving units in reserves for auto-Outflank.
4: Hidden in Plain Sight
Gain Stealth. Excellent; remember that one model having Stealth confers the cover save to his entire unit. Wondering what if you roll Shrouded on HQ or champ of the squad he has joined to? Stealth and Shrouded are cumulative (just like for Tau Stealth Suits).
5: Cult Leader
Cultist units within 12" get Furious Charge and Feel No Pain (6+). Get your warlord into the backfield and enjoy your endlessly respawning, outflanking, angry cultists.
6: Alpha Strategist
Acute Senses and Outflank. Unlike Infiltrate, a single model with Outflank can confer it to the entire unit, so use it to take units that don't get infiltrate (like Havocs and Terminators) into the enemy back line.
Relics
The Mindveil
At the start of your movement, instead of moving normally, the bearer and his unit get to move 3D6 immediately. This can take you from combat and the enemy cannot consolidate. Makes a wonderful companion for the Soulswitch Psychic Power. Mindveil out of melee, switch places with something scarier, then gain charge bonuses to beat the stuff you struggled with. Might also stack with World Eater's Talisman Of Burning Blood for +3" to Mindveil move.
Blade of the Hydra
An AP5 Daemon Weapon with Rending and the the Multi-headed special rule: every roll of 6 to hit generates another attack and extra attacks DO generate yet more attacks. On average, this will multiply your total attacks by 1.2.
Viper’s Bite
A bolter with S5 AP2. Cost of a Plasma Pistol, but infinitely more useful. Either give it to a Termie Lord or use it to make a Warpsmith scarier at range.
The Drakescale Plate
A 2+ armor save that gives a 2++ vs. flamer weapons. Chaos Artificer Armor for the win! Also since it's a relic and has no restrictions at all, it can be taken by Daemon Princes. Make your Prince a Daemon of Tzeentch to re-roll those pesky 1s. The invuln versus flamers is a rather niche rule due to the almost total lack of AP2 flamers in the game, but could be useful in a few cases.
Hydra’s Teeth
Special bolter ammo, which can be used in pistols, combi-bolters, combi-weapons, and boltguns. Gains Blast, Ignores Cover and Poison (2+). Cheap and nice for shooting up some light infantry. If you want a shooty Chaos Lord, toss either this or Viper's Bite on him and go to town. Also consider giving this to a Terminator or Biker Lord to take advantage of Relentless and the combi-bolter rules. Double-tap with twin-linked, poisonous explosives, then get stuck in.
Icon of Insurrection
Friendly Cultists within 12” gain Zealot. Give it to a Sorcerer, hide him in a blob of Cultists and have at least one other Cultist unit to take advantage of the bubble and you're good to go. Stack with the Cult Leader Warlord Trait for super-Cultists.
Mission Objectives
  1. Capture an Enemy or Unclaimed Building before or after generating this objective.
  2. 1VP if a Cultist unit gets Destroyed.
  3. Destroy a unit with Deep Strike, Hit & Run, Outflank, or Scout during your own turn.
  4. A unit with Infiltrate kills a unit. Roll D3 if you killed at least 3 units by Infiltrate units
  5. Control any objective marker into the enemy deployment zone, roll D3 if you control more than one.
  6. Kill a Character during your turn, get D3 VP if 3 Characters are killed, and D3+3 if you kill 5 characters.
Alpha Legion Tactics
Like their 30K incarnation, Alpha Legion are a primarily infantry-based army who specialize in unconventional tactics. Shrouded infiltrating infantry en masse are quite hard for anyone shy of Tau to shift. Tie up and block off enemy units with cultist chaff while your elites strike at the heart of the enemy force.

World Eaters

Good old Khorne Berzerkers, you know them and you love them. Or maybe you don't. Either way, World Eaters limit your tactical flexibility but make you much meaner in melee and most of your army is going to be straight up fearless.

Requirements
Your only available special character is that swell guy (agree with your opponent about Zhufor).
No psyker scum.
Only available mark is Khorne.
Only Khornate Daemons can be taken in this army.
Benefits
Berzerkers are troops.
Every unit that can take VotLW does so, for free.
Units with VotLW have Adamantium Will, Fearless, and Furious Charge.
  • Warlord Traits:
    • 1 - Arch-Slaughterer: Warlord has the Rampage special rule.
    • 2 - Slaughterborn: When rolling on the chaos boon table, you instead can swap the roll you made to gain +1 attack. This right here can get you pretty nasty pretty quickly, given that per Favored Scions rule you actually get two rolls instead of one, boon of mutation is just a 10 point +1 attack buy for you, and that you can never get either the short or the long end of the stick that is Chaos Lottery up your arse. Challenge sergeants! Have more attacks that you know what to do with!
    • 3 - Unrivaled Battle Lust: At the end of your opponent's charge sub-phase, your warlord and his unit can declare a charge as long as they are not locked in combat themselves and the nemy unit IS locked in the combat. Now this here just screams kill me hard, especially when on a Juggerlord.
    • 4 - Disciple of Khorne: Re-roll all failed to-hit and to-wound rolls in a challenge. Now this is nice.
    • 5 - True Berzerker: While in combat, you have Eternal Warrior and Feel No Pain. Well, if you aren't always locked in combat, you're doing it wrong.
    • 6 - Violent Urgency: Warlord and all friendly MoK units within 8" can roll 3d6 and pick the 2 highest when determining charge ranges. A Maelstrom of Gore unit with this and the talisman can reliably pull of 12 inch charges.
  • All in all, you can use any of these traits to your advantage, with only 1 being a "nah".
  • Artefacts of Khorne
    • Talisman of Burning Blood: Bearer's unit can move 3” extra when moving, running and charging. Combine with a Maelstrom of Gore formation for a guaranteed 8" charge minimum.. Best suited for a lord on bike or juggernaut, as it enhances those already fast fuckers. use on a 20 man Berzerker squad, nothing screams BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD more than 80 S5 attacks on Turn 1.
    • GOREFATHER: S+2, AP2, Armourbane, Murderous strike (sixes to wound are Instant Death), 2-handed, Unwieldy. Use this on a DP to totally steamroll monstrous creatures and the particular special snowflake.
    • Crimson Killer: Plasma pistol with Soulblaze instead of Gets Hot. Never ever worth it. Alternate take, there is no restriction so an extra attack and a plasma shot without gets hot for terminator or a prince could be nice.
    • Brass collar of Bhorghaster: Bearer can Deny the Witch on a 4+, and if he succeeds, the psyker suffers perils. Nice to have when you really depend on it, but then you are playing against either a fuckton of witches or just one or none at all. Highly situational at best.
    • Bloodfeeder: Unwieldy specialist power axe replaces all bearer's Attacks stat with 2d6 but can be increased as usual through charges, having another Specialist weapon, etc. Each roll of 1 (when rolling for attacks, hit, wounds or all together??? Need email to GW or FAQ) is a wound to you with no armor saves. Axe of Blind Fury's retarded cousin. (Alternate take, this means rolls of 1 when rolling for the number of attacks. This is absolutely brutal. Take on a terminator lord with a Lightning Claw and watch as (with Furious Charge and Rage) you get an average of 10 strength 6 AP2 hits on the charge with only a 2/9 chance of losing a wound. Say good-bye to any vehicle short of a Land Raider and explode your foe's special snowflake in a challenge. (If you live long enough to do so.))
    • Berzerker's Glaive: S+2, AP3, Daemon Weapon, Specialist Weapon, 2-handed, Epitome of Rage (bearer gains FnP & IWND but loses Independent Character rule). Sweet on a DP or Juggerlord, depending on your play-style. Very fitting if you don't want your general to Rip and Tear through the whole squad and then face down all those pesky guns all on his own.
  • Mission Objectives
    • 1: 1VP for denying the witch.
    • 2: 1VP when you kill an enemy controlling an objective marker.
    • 3: Khorne rewards you with a VP when 3+ of your units make charge.
    • 4: Kill a character in challenge during your turn, D3 VP if you kill the enemy Warlord that way.
    • 5: An interesting one. If one unit from any side dies, get a VP, but you earn D3 instead if units die on both sides. And thid all must happen on your turn.
    • 6: For each unit wiped in assault you get a VP (maximum 6).
  • World Eaters Tactics

The World Eater rules are a Khorne-send for folks who want to play Mean, Red dudes. The Warband Core formation adds a good bit of tactical flexibility, allowing you to have maneuverability and shooting. Also, it doesn't take a particularly big stretch of the imagination to get some first turn charges, which is a relative rarity in this game as the overwhelming majority of the units that WOULD be able to get within a charge distance on turn one, are prohibited due to restrictions from Scout / Infiltrate.

The Detachment Command Benefit "Blood Mad" gives all non-vehicle units a free, optional 2D6" move. Note that this is OPTIONAL. Do you have a unit of havocs sitting on an objective? Good. Don't worry. Khorne loves blood and skulls, but he's not Chaotic Stupid. He knows that you have to have fire support to blow up the tanks that let all those other little skulls come pouring out of. Additionally, there's nothing that says that the movement needs to be directly towards an enemy, so it could effectively be used to redeploy, shift, or otherwise hop on an objective just outside of your deployment zone before the beginning of turn one. Considering relics like the Talisman of Burning Blood, this lets you fly across the battlefield at breakneck speed. For example in conventional deployment styles you are 24" away if you're toeing the line. You move up an additional 2d6 (average is 7), move up 9 on your movement phase and you're only 8 inches away from the closest whatever it is on the enemy line. That's assuming you're walking. If you're on a bike or a juggernaut, you're given even more flexibility for your charge ranges. Move over, Nurgle Bikers, you're no longer the only game in town. Oh also you can re-roll charges. Congrats on your free Icons of Wrath all around, y'all.

There's a compelling argument to be made for not taking Khorne Berzerkers ever again as regular Chaos Marines can be made almost as good for a couple points fewer per model. With the World Eater upgrades they have Rage, Counter Attack, and Furious Charge, have a Bolter, Bolt Pistol and CCW, a MUCH greater selection of special weapons (with no loss in attacks in close combat). The only thing you lose out on is weapon skill five, but given the fact that the majority of players you're going to face are probably space marines, that's mitigated by VotLW's hatred.

Alternate Take: Let's not discard the Maelstrom of Gore formation as the Core choice though. It gives you +3" to charge and Fleet, plus the Red Rain rule [I know it's situational but the first abilities are worth it alone]. If your only tactic is to charge ahead with a swarm of berzerkers anyway then this option is for you. True, you don't have objective secured but sweeping objectives with assault is still viable and a 5" to 15" charge range with Fleet can get you there real quick. Add in the Talisman and that becomes 8" to 18", with Fleet. Fire support can be added with auxiliary choices or a CAD.


Emperor's Children

The new Emperor's Children rules play up their sensation seeker angle, giving them bonuses to durability and letting them attack even when slain, painting a picture of an army of masochists gladly throwing themselves onto the blades of their enemies just to kill and be killed.

  • Requirements: Only special character allowed is Lucius. Must take Mark of Slaanesh, only take Mark of Slaanesh. VotLW is compulsory, and free. Daemon Princes must be Daemon of Slaanesh (Not a tax since Daemon of Slaanesh is awesome)
  • Benefit: VotLW units get Fearless and 6+FNP (which is upgraded to 4+ by the Icon of Excess). Noise Marines are troops. If you are killed in combat before you attack you still can make one attack (VotLW only). Slaaneshi psykers can roll every power from Slaanesh discipline.
  • Warlord Traits
    • 1 - Glutton for Punishment: Eternal Warrior. An excellent grab for a Daemon Prince in particular, but is great in almost all cases.
    • 2 - Quicksilver Reflexes: +2 Initiative. I8 Chaos Lord of rape and fury who beats Eldar to the punch, or I10 Daemon Prince that hits first against Bloodthirsters. Amazing against slower units that are not Fearless(Like Necrons and Tau), making a Sweeping Advance nigh impossible to defend against.
    • 3 - Nexus of Debauchery: Warlord and unit have +1 to their Feel No Pain. 5+ FnP with bare bones EC, and 3+ FnP if you took the Icon of Excess. Holy hell that's awesome.
    • 4 - Psychotropic Aura: Warlord has Fear, and all opponents must test fear on 3D6. Unremarkable, considering 5 armies in the game ignore it outright or have something to circumvent fear (Ethereal, Commissar, Fearless, Instability). This is gonna be an utter bane of the Eldar's existence, though.
    • 5 - Stimulated by Pain: Gain an extra Attack each time you lose a wound, but effects disappear if you heal it somehow (Life Leech, Lay Leech).
    • 6 - Idol of Mindless Devotion: You can choose to auto-pass "Look out, sir!" rolls. If rolled on DP, you may choose to re-roll this.
  • Artefacts of Slaanesh
    • Intoxicating Elixir: 25 points. Bearer makes D3 rolls on combat drugs. These are cumulative if you roll the same one more than once and with the combat drugs from the detachment bonus. With the right rolls on a Bike-Lord, you can potentially (1 in 3888) end up with a Toughness 9, cocaine addicted indestructible motherfucker. You have the same odds of getting I9, of course.
    • Shriekwave: (REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE) 20 points. Once per game, you can fire off this gun with 12” S8 AP2 Assault D6, Mental Trauma (before attack target makes an ld test, and if they fail you get Shred). It is a good buy especially since Emperor's Children tend to lack high strength ap2 shooting.
    • Soul Snare Lash: 20 pennies. If used as a ranged weapon: 6” S4 AP5 assault 2 ; if used as a melee weapon, S user AP5 melee. Either way, both attacks have the Soulsnare rule (rending, but rends also cause instant death).
    • Endless Grin: 10 points. You have fear, and enemies within 6” have -1 leadership. Add to a Sorcerer to get your own Teke, the Smiling One, aka "That Grinning Bastard." Very useful against Eldar since they already get a Leadership penalty against Mark of Slaanesh, stack and show up those cheese lords.
    • Bolts of Ecstatic Vexation: 15 points. The bearer's bolter, combi-bolter, bolter part of combi-weapon, and/or bolt pistol gain blast, ignores cover, and pinning.
    • Blissgiver: 30 points for a Power Sword with the Daemon Weapon rule, and Catatonic trance - target must pass Ld test/wound or be removed from play. Give to a Daemon Prince that hopefully rolls Terrify from Telepathy and have it tag team an enemy unit with a Raptor Talon Chaos Lord rocking the Endless Grin for maximum lulz.

Overall: In all, not too bad. The Blissgiver is a welcome return that combos well with various Leadership lowering shenanigans. Intoxicating Elixir will forge an amazing Chaos Lord or outright terrifying Biomancy wielding-Daemon Prince of rape and fury.


Mission Objectives
  1. Wipe a unit through Noise Marine sonic weapons. THINGS SHALL GET LOUD NOW!
  2. Win a challenge. Simple.
  3. Kill a unit that is falling back.
  4. 1VP per enemy unit that fails Morale, Fear or Pinning, you can score maximum 3. Spess Mehreen meta makes really hard to get "Squad Broken!"
  5. Your enemy must pick an objective marker and you get D3VP when you take it.
  6. D3 VP if your enemy controls no objectives but if you control all objectives, roll D3+3.

Emperor's Children Tactics: The Emperor's Children have one of the best tactics, only bested by Death Guard in terms of the ability to survive what ever most enemies can throw at it, aside from being outright brutal in assault since Power Fists and Melta Bombs will still get to make 1 attack even if you got smacked before you could strike. Don't forget, Noise Marines with free VotLW for 6+ FnP on top of ignores cover boltguns are the best MEQ in the game, as per the tactics discussion. On the other hand, they do not synergize well with Combat Drugs, unless you roll +1 Toughness or +1 BS. Your first choice should be a Chaos Warband, as it also provides you with anti-air and plasma weapons. I dare say that Emperor's Children, if you spam enough Icons of Excess, are surprisingly hardy for a rapidly moving force, given how they get 4+ Feel No Pain and can strike at I5 compared to I4/3, making it much easier to run down opponents when you win combat.

  • Raptor Wing is a good Auxiliary choice for them as it benefits very much from MoS and Combat Drugs and synergizes well with Blissgiver and Endless Grin.
  • The Warpsmith formations get even more expensive with the MoS tax. The Hellbrute formations are a good replacement, unless you really want those Maulerfiends.
  • If you are taking a regular warband as core choice, it could be a good idea to stick to regular traitor's hate warband rules in smaller games. You'll get 2 boons per turn instead of army-wide combat drugs.

Death Guard

Death guard are about what you'd expect, being tougher across the board than standard CSM, but they also gain relentless, which could be useful, and they're fearless, which is huge. They are, however, slower than your typical marines with -1 to initiative.

  • Requirements: Only unique character available is Typhus (and probably Necrosius, but we need FAQ from FW). Mark of Nurgle Only. VotLW. Psykers must take one power from Nurgle.
  • Benefits: VotLW gain Fearless, Feel No Pain, and Relentless, but suffer -1 initiative unless they are Typhus or Plague Marines, which count as troops. (Combine with The Purge to get the most out of your Havocs and Oblits.) Fearless Terminators with T5 and FnP? Oh, HELL yeah! Also, psykers may roll all powers from Nurgle discipline.


  • Warlord Traits
    • 1 - Insensate to Pain: +1 to your Feel no Pain rolls. 4+ Feel No Pain. Or get a Biomancer and hope for Endurance for a 3+FnP-EW monster of a Chaos Lord.
    • 2 - Tainted Regeneration: IWND.
    • 3 - Lord of Contagion: Friendly units within 7" get Contagion: All enemy units locked in combat with a unit with this rule take D6 Poisoned (4+) AP4 auto-hits at the Initiative 10 Step
    • 4 - Hulking Physique: +1 Wound. That Carnifex over there surely looks frail now.
    • 5 - Rotten Constitution: Eternal Warrior. Roll this on a Nurgle Biker Lord and drink your opponent's tears.
    • 6 - Arch-contaminator: Poisoned weapons get an extra +1 to their effectiveness, to a maximum of Poisoned (2+). For example, Plague Marine's Plague Knifes with the Poisoned rule become Poisoned (3+). Works only for Warlord and his unit.


  • Artefacts of Nurgle
    • Puscleaver: Poison 2+ CCW. Turns your DP into an MC killer. Or just take the Black Mace instead.
    • Plague Skull Glothia: One use only. Range 8" S1 AP - Assault 1, Poison (2+), Large Blast. 15 points better spent elsewhere.
    • Pandemic Staff: Poison 2+ staff. As a ranged weapon, it's a template S1 AP5 Assault 2. As a melee weapon, it's a Power Maul. Take this on a Demon Prince. He becomes strength 8 in close combat and becomes very capable of popping tanks or walkers plus he wounds most things on 2's and rerolls 1's since the staff also has poison 2+.
    • Dolorus Knell: All friendly Death Guard units within 14" of the bearer have Fear during the Fight-subphase. Additionally, enemy units have to roll 3D6 while testing for Fear. Again, kinda "Meh" in the current meta.
    • Poxwalker Hive: Turn your cultists into zombies. At start of each turn you grant FnP to a friendly Cultist unit within 7". They can't run or shoot for the rest of the game but gain Fearless and D3 cultists come back to life in every infected unit if they are still within 7".
    • Plaguebringer: Power sword with Poison 4+ and Daemon weapon. At 35 points, this could be a slightly cheaper and weaker Black Mace on your DP as you will be re-rolling 2+ (Poisoned states that it always wounds on a fixed number UNLESS a lower result would be required) to wound vs everything with T5 or lower.


  • Mission Objectives
    • 1: A VP if 3+ of your units are on enemy table half.
    • 2: Make 7 FnP rolls in any single phase. Make them and laugh.
    • 3: Kill a unit with Poisoned weapon or Psychic power.
    • 4: Pick a character. If he is alive at the end of the game.
    • 5: Score D3 VPs if you control EXACTLY 3 objective markers.
    • 6: If you kill 7/14/21 models you get 1/D3/D3+3 VPs.


  • Death Guard Tactics:

These tactics are something that people have been drooling over for, and with good reason. Death Guard are perhaps the tankiest Chaos Space Marine army out there, but that blow to initiative will really hurt if you have to chase someone down, or pass a Blind test. Regular squads of 10 CSM are the way to go, in their decurion they are able to go up against most mid-range shooty armies. Keep in mind that all the models with VOTLW get Relentless, which not only makes Havocs and extra CCW Marines absolutely disgusting to use but also keeps with the fluffy Death Guard theme of footslogging through the heaviest fire without stopping. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF RELENTLESS. In addition, Spawn with a Sorcerer on a Bike will ruin most people's days. The Nurgle discipline is absolutely great with no real drawbacks, the Primaris is very much the unsung hero of the discipline, especially when up against those cheesy 'sit in the corner camping Tau lists' that are around the place.

The builds with the best synergy are Chaos Warband + Cult of Destruction and Plague Colony + Hellforged Warpack. Lost and Damned are only worth it if you take Typhus, otherwise a Hellcult benefits you more. Terminator Annihilation Force is fun (and need I remind you these are Fearless, T5, FnP, 2+/5++ assholes that are not going anywhere any time soon?), Raptor Talon can be worth it if you combine it with Bikers and Fear icons. Also, uniquely you've got an interesting options to run MSU of Raptors with Relentless Plasmaguns, as ghetto Crisis Teams. Sure Chosen and Havocs get more guns, but you are much zippier and still decently survivable.

But the most important thing to do with DG is to keep moving towards the enemy. You don't want your units sitting in the middle of bum-fuck nowhere getting their asses handed to them by a shit tonne of forced saves. Oh, and keep out of the way of Rending and Poisoned. Not fun.

Night Lords

The Night Lords are about what you'd expect; fast, scary, and stealthy.

  • Requirements: No unique characters. No Chaos marks. Must take VotLW for free.
  • Benefits: All units with VotLW gain Fear, Night Vision and Stealth. Raptors are Troops (Warp Talons are still in the same organization slot). Enemy locked in combat with you take Fear tests at -2 (-4 if you took the Raptor Talon formation, -5 if you took the Vox Daemonicus as well). DPs are allowed to roll all powers from their patron's table.


  • Warlord Traits
    • 1 - One Piece at a Time...: Warlord has Hit & Run.
    • 2 - Murderous Reputation: Warlord and unit re-rolls 1's to wound in assault (applies for Icy Aura too). This trait is redundant for your Warlord if you're not using one of the weapon relics, but the ability to re-roll 1s can help his squad out in a pinch. Sp...those things end up hitting that much harder due to this for example.
    • 3 - Fierce Hatred: Warlord has Hatred. You'll want to re-roll this versus Marines of course.
    • 4 - One With The Shadows: Warlord has re-rollable cover saves. Pray you're not up against Tau. Alternatively, might be helpful against Marine shooting attacks, especially while Night Fighting is in effect.
    • 5 - Dirty Fighters: Warlord and his units have HoW, which stacks with pre-existing HoW for re-rollable HoW wounds. This one is also rather nice, especially for a large Biker blob.
    • 6 - Killing Fury: Warlord has the Rampage USR. Does your opponent use "big" models rather than large armies? If yes, re-roll this.

Most of these traits are fairly solid, other than Fierce Hatred and occasionally Killing Fury, but they mostly affect the Warlord's unit in some way or another; two items are defensive (re-rollable cover, or Hit & Run), while re-rolling 1s to-wound or getting/buffing Hammer of Wrath means a meaner charge; you can't rely on getting H&R, but you can rely on this table working well if you want to run a larger escort for your Lord, be it a large Bike unit or of sp-OHGODNOBBLRBBBBBB!!!


  • Artifacts of the Night Lords
    • Scourging Chain: You get Shred in melee. Very nice budget option if you didn't take Lightning Claws. Still, for just ten more points you could take the drastically better Curze's Orb.
    • Claws of Black Hunt: A pair of Master-crafted, Strength +1, Rending Lightning Claws. Make an evil Murderwings.
    • Curze's Orb: Re-roll 1s to Run, To Hit and To Wound. You want this mostly for the re-rolls to-hit and wound; the most immediate choice would be to give this to a melee lord and have an easier time chopping the enemy up, but note that you can use this to re-roll 1s to-hit for any attack. If you're feeling cheeky and like the idea of using an Ectomancy Sorcerer to mow down small squads of infantry, this little item will give you that extra zap. Or if you're feeling even cheekier, give this to a character manning a Plasma Obliterator...generally though, this item loses to the relic below.
    • Stormbolt Plate: Fleshmetal Hide that also grants the user +1 to Cover Saves; combine with the free Stealth from Veterans of the Long War, and this can give its user a 2+ Jink Save. A Daemon Prince of Tzeentch equipped with this effectively becomes immune to most shooting (though Hunter's Eye-boosted Grav squads still won't give a fuck, nor will Psychic Shriek), giving you one of the most prominent Distraction Carnifexes in the game.
    • Vox Daemonicus: Enemies within 6” get -1 Ld, and they get -1 to Reserve rolls so long as the bearer is on the field. Always take this!
    • Talons of The Night Terror: Each fight sub phase make additional D3 attacks (or D6 if it's a turn you charged) which are S user AP5, Shred. Although not necessarily the most optimal kit for a Daemon Prince, the Prince does have the highest base Strength and WS among generic HQ choices, as well as AP2. Hence he would be most likely to benefit. Consider using this with a Daemon Prince of Khorne, to gain the added bonus of Furious Charge for some shenanigans on the Charge.


  • Mission Objectives
    • 11: Hunter, Prey - Score 1 VP (DING!) for slaying an enemy character in a challenge on your own turn.
    • 12: Genocidal Tendencies - Did a unit made a successful charge during your turn? At the end of said turn, claim another VP. DING!
    • 13: Strike As If From Nowhere - If your unit came on from Deep Strike Reserves or was in cover during your turn, and said unit killed an enemy unit, you get another 1 VP.
    • 14: Murder On The Mind - Did you completely destroy an enemy unit during the Assault Phase of your own turn? DING! Victory Point. Oh wait, you wiped at least three enemy units? Here, have D3 VP's instead!
    • 15: Excessive Force - You have two separate enemy units camping objectives. Take back what's yours! Destroy them both completely, and you get to claim D3 Victory Points at the end of that turn.
    • 16: Bringers of Terror - Here's a fun little challenge. You get 1 VP if you force your opponent to take a Fear, Morale, or Pinning Test during your turn, and they fail it. Land that accomplishment three times in a turn, and that Hat Trick gets rewarded with D3 VP's instead. Make them fail six or more!? How about (D3)+3 VP's as a Jackpot?


  • Night Lords Tactics

The Night Lords have reasonably powerful legion tactics, and having the Raptor Talon as one of their core formation means that they can quickly overwhelm almost any non-fearless unit if they can get the charge off. Remember to include a mixture of Warp Talons and Raptors before you charge the enemy with both, forcing them to test for Fear at -4. Against shooty armies (excluding Tau, whose markerlights can negate your cover), tie their units up in combat with Raptors charging after deep striking using the Raptor Talon, while letting any footslogging units rely on their enhanced cover saves to survive until they can get into close combat. Speaking of cover saves, the ability to force Night Fighting keeps your shooty/jinky elements alive during the initial turn of the game, and is your shitty "Plan B" against any Imperials who thought you were a One Trick Pony and easily countered by "ATSKNF". Cover is also an effective tool when faced with the likes of Tempestus Scions, who might try to drown your Murder Talon detatchment with AP3 Hot-Shot Lasgun fire. Just stick your Lord with Stormbolt plate in front of the squad and let him eat up all those scary low AP shots with his 3+ (possibly re-rollable) Cover save. You may also consider ground assault elements with Chaos Bikers, putting their enhanced Jink save to good use; just don't pretend to be a Ravenwing, they are still better than you in every way. Keep said biker tactics in mind if you opt to build a Chaos Warband instead/alongside of a Raptor Talon.

As far as Auxiliary choices when fashioning your Murder Talon, the Heldrake Terror Pack is too good to pass up. Your Heldrakes become a nexus for panic, causing enemy units within range to suffer a Leadership penalty. Pretty useful when you factor in all the Fear your Marines cause. The other reason to take the Heldrakes? they offer airborne infantry removal via Baleflamers, or you can keep the Hades Autocannons to help pop light armor.

Although you may think that going up against Space Marines is an auto lose cause of the whole "ATSKNF" thingy, Veteran's of the Long War more than makes up for it with re-rolling 4's to hit on the first round which is statistically better than hitting on 3's (And being hit back on 5's? With powerfists?). In addition, a DP of Tzeentch wearing the Stormbolt Plate with wings is absolutely disgusting to use, and telling your opponent that you have an FMC with a 2+ re-rollable armour save and a 2+ re-rollable Jink will make him/her want to reach across the table and throttle you. Just keep in mind that you have to avoid dreadnoughts and S10 in combat if you do take him, and if he's your Warlord (and why wouldn't he be?) Pray to all four chaos gods that you get Hit & Run as the WL trait. Outside of this cheesemonster, however, your legion as a mostly melee CSM force has precious little else to back you up, compared to guys who run a better Raptor Talon than you, have army-wide 4+ FNP or just refuse to die outright.

When selecting relics and other wargear, and what you want to aim for when rolling Warlord Traits, take heed of the redundancy in the kit afforded to you. There are lots of tools to make your characters overwhelmingly lethal in close combat. If that isn't a concern, however, consider bringing the Vox Daemonicus to disrupt/slow enemy reserves. The Stormbolt Plate is also a good survival tool to disrupt the success of enemy shooting.

Word Bearers

Word Bearers trade raw bonuses for versatility. They're the only other Legion besides Black Legion that can mix-and-match different Marks, they're potent at Daemon summoning, and their Warlord Table changes a lot of how they play.

  • Requirements: No unique characters (presumably this will be changed if Lorgar and Erebus ever get rules in 40k). No units with pre-bought marks (such as Noise Marines or Exalted Sorcerers). However, units that can purchase marks can still take them. Marked Psykers and DPs can choose to generate all their powers from their gods' discipline. Like all legions, you must take VotLW, which is free and grants you your "legion tactics".
  • Benefits:
    • Unholy Pact: Word Bearers Psykers harness Warp Charges on 3+ when rolling Malefic Conjuration powers, and Possessed are Troops.
    • Blood Feud: Models with VotLW re-roll to hit against Ultramarines, but Ultramarines gain Hatred (Word Bearers).
    • Profane Zeal:Word Bearers units within 6" of Word Bearers Dark Apostles gain Zealot.
  • Warlord Traits
    • 1: Unholy Firebrand: Zealot. If Warlord already has Zealot, affected models re-roll hits every round, not just the first. A big improvement over the vanilla CSM 'Lord of Hatred."
    • 2: Latent Powers: Become a Psyker. If already a Psyker, +1 Mastery Level. Note that unless you were a psyker already, you can only use Malefic Daemonology: there is a high risk of perils, and big summoning powers will be unreliable anyway on a non-dedicated psyker. However, Cursed Earth, the two witchfires and Sacrifice can all be quite useful if you happen to roll one.
    • 3: Voice of Lorgar: Lets you give orders to your Legionaries. Each turn you may grant a friendly unit within 12" Counterattack, Fearless, Furious Charge or Relentless.
    • 4: Unbreakable Devotion: Adamantium Will and Fearless. Unfortunately, no additional bonus to characters who already have those abilities. Can be somewhat useful on Sorcerers if you face enemy Psykers which may target you with their focused witchfires. Otherwise, re-roll.
    • 5: Nexus of the Gods: You and friendly Characters within 12", when rolling on the Chaos Boon table can either add or subtract 1 from the second die when rolling on the boon table. This prevents your warlord from accidentally turning himself into an unnameable beast, and makes the d3+1 boons, 2+ armor, Daemon Prince, etc. easier to fish for. No, it won't allow to turn Witch-eater to Fleshbane weapon or +1BS to +1I.
    • 6: Unexpected Boon: Gain an extra roll on the Boon table. Re-roll if you get nothing or if it would turn you into a you-know-what: however, keep the roll if it turns you into a Daemon Prince! But do you need the Warlord which is a squishy fire-magnet, loses all special rules and wargear and can't score objectives?

Summary: 2 of the three Warlord Traits grant Fearless and a second effect, 3 out of the 6 Warlord Traits are force-multiplier effects which are actually rather incredible to have, and the last one is...a 1 in 36 chance of being a Daemon Prince, so in those other 215 games it's just a random effect. That said, when you re-roll this, you have at least 3 in 4 chance of getting a good trait, and they let you do things you normally can't!

  • Relics
    • Malefic Tome: Bearer gets 1 extra power, which must be rolled on Malefic Daemonology. Very inexpensive, it can be taken like any more generic piece of wargear, rather than being a major investment like a daemon weapon: it's a very straightforward way of getting good use out of your legion tactics without over-committing to psykers. Take it on a Sorcerer with a Mark so you won't lose your psychic focus, and get summoning on top of whatever else you are using. Alternatively take it on a Daemon Prince, so that you can summon like crazy without the high risk of perils.
    • Skull of Monarchia: Bearer and unit re-roll all failed to-hit rolls against Armies of the Imperium in close combat, and if against Ultramarines re-roll to wound. This is fluffy item is unfortunately limited in usefulness, with the same issue as VotLW has for non-legion armies: you are paying extra points for bonuses in close combat that are only against specific enemy factions. While getting ripped up in melee is certainly what the smurfs deserve for being the false Emperor's bitches, this artifact won't really do much in the other 95% of battles you fight. Give it a pass, except for narrative campaign play.
    • Scripts of Erebus: Generate D6 Extra warp charges in a psychic phase, once per game. Another cheap psyker item! Similar to the Malefic Tome, this allows you to have a strong psychic phase without spending all your points on sorcerers. What is more, this works for all disciplines, not just Malefic Daemonology: other disciplines with lots of expensive powers, such as Tzeentch, become a lot easier to use with this item. Take it on a character who doesn't already have another artifact, such as your Dark Apostle, and pop it as required.
      • On average this will give you 3-4 psychic dice, which when combined with a Spell Familiar is enough on its own to cast a WC3 Malefic power, or a WC2 power from any other discipline. Depending on your powers, that's enough to save, destroy, or summon a unit, on top of whatever else you would do that turn, meaning as long as you keep your sorcerer alive this item can easily make its points back.
    • Baleful Icon: Enemy units must re-roll successful charges, and if they still succeed, the charge is disordered. This one is weird among the Word Bearers artifacts, a defensive item for a legion that wants to get into melee combat, and is only helpful if you're getting charged(expect it to do nothing against armies like Tau). The most obvious uses for it are to protect your dedicated summoner, or make a large shooty mob of cultists more resilient: it certainly has its place, and much like the psyker artifacts is extremely cheap for what it does.
    • Crown of Blasphemer: 4+ Invulnerable Save, Adamantium Will, and Fear. For just five extra points, you get a better Sigil of Corruption. In addition, this item is a relic, NOT special issue wargear, so you can take it on a Warpsmith or Daemon Prince!
    • Cursed Crozius: AP3 Power Maul that grants Preferred Enemy: Armies of the Imperium. Jealous of those loyalist captains with their Relic Blades? This is like the Relic Blade, except better, because you can dual wield it. A good choice for a Chaos Lord or Daemon Prince. Ironically the points are somewhat wasted on a Dark Apostle, since they already start with a power weapon, and you're still paying full price for this item on top of it, but that's life. The Preferred Enemy(Imperium) is a bonus, that will do some gnarly things if witchfire or plasma weapons are involved(remember a Chaos Lord with this item grants Preferred Enemy to his entire squad). Much more worthwhile than the skull, because even though it is especially powerful against the loyalist unbelievers, it does good work against xenos too.

Mission Objectives

Word Bearers tactical objectives focus around summoning daemons and getting into close combat with the enemy.

  • Unholy Crusade: 1 VP if a unit with Zealot model successfully charges. A dead draw the first turn, but worth keeping if you have it right as your forces get into charge range.
  • Feed the Daemon: 1 VP if your daemons wipe something out in melee. Weaksauce.
  • Slay their False Prophets: 1 VP for killing an enemy character. Easy enough to get, as it doesn't matter how you kill the character.
  • Allies Beyond the Veil: d3 VPs for summoning daemons. Since you are Word Bearers, you were doing this anyway, right? Easiest d3 VPs ever.
  • Delight in Despoliation: d3 VPs for seizing an objective from the enemy during a single turn of yours. Riskier than simply seizing an objective, but with a better payout.
  • For the Glory of Chaos: 1 VP for getting a boon, d3 VPs for getting 3 boons, d3+3 VPs for getting 6 boons. This one is quite useful if you are running a Chaos Warband in a Grand Host, as you have access to a free boon each turn and whenever you trigger Champions of Chaos. Hilariously enough, the normally useless Tzeentch boon-giving power can actually net you lots of victory points if you draw this objective. If you aren't running a list with lots of boon-earning potential, however, this objective might as well read "1 VP for winning a challenge"- it's quite poor and often worth discarding. To note: Unworthy Offering results are not counted.

Word Bearers Tactics:

The List-Building section expands on this more, but more so than other Legions, you care more about using your Legion's special detachment rather than a vanilla CAD; you don't care about Possessed as Troops, and either having Respawning Cultists or a tide of universally Objective-Secured units both matter more than getting Possessed Troops (eww). Really, the only things you end up losing access to by not taking a CAD are some flexibility, access to Forgeworld units, and the ability to re-roll Warlord Traits on any table and not just the Word Bearers one.

If you make a Palanquin Sorcerer your Warlord (and this is highly recommended, due to the mix of extra wounds and useful blessings), positioning is going to matter more than in most armies due to your relative slowness, even with Crusader. Voice of Lorgar and the free boon from Eight-Fold Path take place at the start of your movement phase, meaning a Warlord with Voice of Lorgar should start within 12" of any units you wish to buff, while a Warlord Nexus of the Gods should be within 12" of any notable Characters(!) you wish to ensure with Eight-Fold Path. You have more leeway with the Psychic Powers due to your 6" move, but the traditional CSM trick of using a Bike Sorcerer to move 12", Psychic Shriek, then Turbo to safety is generally not going to be as much of an option for you. Remember your Sorcerer is not Smashfucker and your goal is not to rush into a good fight. Rather, you are an anchor, and a force multiplier.

Lore of Nurgle gives you options for Poisoned, or extra Strength, and Voice of Lorgar gives you access to several buffs. The most immediate use for Voice of Lorgar is to give Furious Charge to a unit that's already moving fast (say, a few throwaway units of...those things), or even Chaos Bike Champion, though even a mob of regular Marines can use the boost. Relentless mostly lets your unit charge-after-firing, though that's more of a situational bonus. Fearless is less relevant due to the ability to give Cultists a Zealot bubble (or you want them to die), but it can be used for pseudo-Stealth via the Go-to-Ground/Fearless maneuver, or if you want your Cultists to tar pit a unit without worrying about them Piling in away from the 6" Zealot Bubble.

Regarding Summoning, do not try to play a Daemon farm, and try for the old Recursion Trick of using Pink Horrors for more Warp Charge, for more Pink Horrors. Not only did Wrath of Magnus remove the ability for Horrors to use Malefic Daemonology, but you don't have the raw Warp Charge to do a factory, nor do you have the in-built resilience against Perils that Daemons do unless you fork over extra points for a Daemon Prince (and unlike 3 of the other undivided Legions, you can't get a Daemon Prince of Tzeentch with a 2+ save). Rather, Summoning is about maintaining your positional advantage, and allowing the rest of your army to take the mid-field uninterrupted. Screamers remain a priority unit, as their ability to Turbo & Slash from Summon means they're immediately contributing to the fight, and they force your opponent to dedicate energy to killing them, but Flesh Hounds are also a good area denial unit too. If your opponent tries to rush the center of the board, you can take a few losses standing without much issue. If your opponent tries to hang back, you move to lock down objectives. With Word Bearers, get used to the fact you WILL lose troops, and get comfortable with sacrificing them to control the board. With the right list, innate perseverance, and thinking a few "parts" of your turn ahead, you can win with Word Bearers quite handily. Daemonology is still risky but you can mitigate peril wounds by taking a Mark Of Nurgle Palanquin Sorceror. 4 Wounds would be enough to last all game. Not cheap - he ends up in the 200-something region - but could be an option.

Detachments and Formations

With Traitor's Hate and Black Crusade, Chaos Space Marines have 10(!) different detachment of Formations to play with. However, unlike the Space Marines and their variant detachments in Codex: Angels of Death, most of the detachments are very similar to one another; other than the Thousand Sons Grand Coven and the Black Legion Speartip, every Chaos detachment follows the same general template, with one or two modifications on top. Rather than listing each and every detachment in full, this article will list out the "main" template for a Chaos detachment, and any major differences ("Iron Warriors: They're like any other Legion, except they can take Fortification Auxiliaries"). Also note that depending on your detachment, certain formations or choices will let you substitute your Lord or Sorcerer for an appropriate Special Character.

Basic Chaos Detachment

Other than the Black Legion and Thousand Sons detachments, every Chaos Detachment will have the below in common, unless stated otherwise: (As a fun little aside, due to RAW, Crimson Slaughter and the old Black Legion supplement state that any formation may be declared as belonging to them, while traitor legions scales this up to detachments. Thus, it is, RAW at present, possible to have a Black Legion or Crimson Slaughter formation within a Traitor Legions Decurion. While taking a Black Legion formation within another detachment is only really viable with Thousand Sons (As BL traitor legions overrules the old supplement), this does open up interesting variations with Crimson Slaughter (e.g. Take a relic burdened Chaos Lord as a 'Lord of the Legion' while the rest of the detachment belongs to a formation with actually good Legion rules.)

UPDATE:- GW actually lists the internal formations of a Decurion as detachments now, rather than formations. And, rules as written, nothing says that all the sub-detachments have to have the same legion rules. Expect FAQ, or agree with tournament organisers beforehand, but if ok, this is very valuable, as some legion rules are excellent for certain detachments (Thousand Sons= Great for Terminator Annihilation Force, sucks for Chaos Warband/Lost and the Damned. Alpha legion rocks for Lost and the Damned, but is less great for basically any other formation, due to lack of beneficial rules.) General trend in this anons local area is this is fine for Black Crusade detachment, but iffy with Legion Specific detachments.

Command(0-4)

  • Lords of the Black Crusade: A Chaos Lord, Sorcerer, Dark Apostle, or a Daemon Prince.

Core (1+)

  • Chaos Warband: This is a core formation not only for Black Crusade, but also for all Legion-specific detachments except Black Legion Speartip and Thousand Sons Grand Coven. The Chaos Warband is fairly simple: You take 1 Chaos Lord, an optional Chaos Sorcerer, 2-6 Chaos Space Marine Squads, 1-3 squads of Chosen/Terminators/Possessed, 1-3 squads of Bikers/Raptors/Warp Talons, and 1-3 Helbrutes/Havoc Squads. You can also take any of the named characters from the main codex in those first two slots, which is a moot point for most Traitor Legion detachments since they disallow unique units. The entire formation gets Objective Secured, and the Favored Scions rule, meaning that anytime a character from this formation rolls for a Chaos Boon as a result of Champion of Chaos (this explicitly includes the "free" bonus granted by Path to Glory but does not include the rolls from from Gifts of Mutation/Boon of Mutation), the character may roll twice and apply either or both results.
    • Summary: This is the formation you take if you want to play Chaos Space Marines as actual Chaos Space Marines. Favored Scions lets you either sacrifice rank-and-file Champions hoping for Princes or those-that-must-not-be-named, or buff your Lord to truly frightening levels. However, this pales in comparison to the universal Objective Secured bonus. That Biker Lord of Nurgle? He has it. That "throwaway" Rhino w/ Havoc Launcher you bought for a unit of Autocannon Havocs, so you have a "budget" Typhoon Speeder equivalent? It has it. Those units of MSU Bikers or Terminators? They have it.
    • Comparison with the Gladius: The Chaos Warband can be viewed as the traitorous version of the Battle Demi-Company. When Traitor's Hate first came out, the initial reaction was negative: The Battle Demi-Company also gets universal Objective Secured, but grants a turn of improved shooting; furthermore, the Gladius free transports overshadowed the bonuses gicen by said Gladius. However, what the Chaos Warband lacks in "free" points it makes up for in relative flexibility: Whereas the Demi-Company must take exactly three Tactical Squads, exactly 1 Fast Attack, and exactly one unit of Devastators (of Power Armor or Centurion flavor), the Warband lets you take a greater ratio of Fast Attack/Heavy Supports. While the Loyalists must take a mandatory Chaplain to fully benefit from the Battle Company, you get an optional Sorcerer who can provide far more utility throughout the game. The Chaos Warband also allows for Objective Secured Terminators(buying Objective Secured Land Raiders of course), which can be a game-changer if your opponent doesn't have enough anti-armor, and is something loyalists can't do at all.
    • Drop Assault: If you're playing with Forgeworld Chaos Marines, Chosen and Helbrutes can take Dreadclaws (RAW deepstrike disables Daemonic-bullshit from eating the contents; furthermore, FW has sent multiple emails confirming this) as dedicated transports. Drop in, assault out of your delicious skimmers turn 2, then run around and cap objectives with your ObSec claws.
    • This formation, while simple, can be used with the legion rules and legion detachments to create hilarious combos. Run this with the Death Guard Vectorium. On top of your basic marines (and just about everything else not being a vehicle) becoming non-poisonous plague marines for 2/3rds of the cost, you retain Objective Secured and gain rerolls to 1's on FnP. Just watch as your opponent tears his hair out as he just finishes dealing with your T6 FnP bikers only to realize that he has to now shift your T5 Terminators with FnP off of a point. Or run it with the Alpha Legion Insurgency Force and have everything but your Havocs/Helbrutes and Fast Attack infiltrate on top of objectives while having Shrouded for a whole turn (since Chosen do not occupy the same spot as Chaos Marines, you can have effectively up to 9 units that infiltrate all over the board. All of whom have Objective Secured).

Auxiliary(1+)

You will notice that several of these Formations have a mandatory Warpsmith tax. Some people like 'em, some people don't. Good luck trying to make them work.

  • Cult of Destruction: The first of the "Warpsmith" formations. 1-3 Warp Smiths and 3-5 units of Obliterators or Mutilators in any combination. In exchange for this, the formation gets a rule called Empyrionic Guidance Rituals: At the start of this turn, each Warpsmith may "guide" a unit of Mutilators/Obliterators from this formation within 8": The Obliterators may shoot twice (using different shooting weapons) that turn, or the Mutilators may make two "immediate" sets of close combat attacks this turn with different weapons.
    • Summary: If you try running this formation to get MOAR DAKKA out of your already awesome obliterators, you're going to be disappointed. The Warpsmith (you really don't have practical reason to run more than one) is a pretty hefty tax for just 3 extra shots, and the actual rules for Empyrionic Guidance Rituals are very restrictive. Your Warpsmiths have to be within 8" of your Obliterator/Mutilator unit at the start of the turn to guide them, meaning not only can you not "move" your Warpsmith in range, but you also would not be able to use Empyrionic Guidance Rituals on any units that arrived from Reserves/Deep Strike. Unlike many "Fire Twice" Formation benefits, your Obliterators cannot split their fire against different units, while their weapon cooldown restrictions remain in full effect.
  • Favoured of Chaos: A Daemon Prince leads 3-5 units of Possessed. While within 12" of the Prince, all Possessed automatically receive all 3 Mutation rewards at once. While you might be thinking "Run this as a Crimson Slaughter formation for Shrouded Beast Possessed with Storm Shields," 1)Crimson Slaughter doesn't get Daemon Princes RAW and 2) the Crimson Slaughter Vessels of Chaos rule doesn't actually work due to the mutations only applying in the Fight sub-phase.
    • The Possessed in this formation, while the bonus is active, have 3 base attacks, S5 AP3 shred. They have I5 but no grenades. They are actually superior to Warp Talons and Vanguard Veterans, except for a major problem: their lack of jump packs. The question when using this formation should be "how do I protect these guys from shooting or increase their speed?" The Daemon Prince has access to many artifacts and psychic powers that answer this problem.
  • Fist of the Gods: The second Warpsmith Formation, this time he leads 3-5 units of either Land Raiders, Predators, or Vindicators. All vehicles within 12" of the Smith have a 6++, and the Warp Smith has +1 to his repair attempts. Unfortunately thanks to the draft FAQ, AoE abilities do not extend beyond the hull of a transport vehicle unless it explicitly says they do, so keep that Warpsmith following the tanks around on foot. And it's that last sentence that summarizes the main issue with the Formation; unlike Loyalist Techmarines / Iron Priests, Warpsmiths cannot take Bikes, and are stuck footslogging it, meaning their own effective threat range remains...questionable to say the least. More than anything, this formation is for Iron Warriors players that want to mass Vindicators, as their detachment's ability to grant re-roll scatters to all Ordnance weapons makes them deadlier as a result! Otherwise, you're probably best skipping this formation.
    • Note: RAW, the formation needs a minimum of a Warpsmith and three UNITS of tanks. This means, if you really felt like blowing a ton of points, you could field squadrons of Vindicators or Predators as individual units. With the new Squadron bonuses provided by Traitor's Hate, this could be interesting. Just don't expect it to be competitive whatsoever.
  • Heldrake Terror Pack: 2-4 Heldrakes. All enemy units within 12" of 2 Heldrakes suffer -1Ld, 3 Heldrakes take -2Ld, and 4 Heldrakes -3Ld. Also all Turkeys deal D6 Vector Strike hits on all units which are Pinned, Falling Back, or gone to ground. This is extremely situational, as the only way to pin troops in your Movement Phase is either to destroy their transports in said Movement Phase (meaning Vector Strikes, Ramming, or the Terminator Annihilation Force), or use an Emperor's Children Terminator Annihilation Force Lord/Sorcerer with the Bolts of Estatic Vexation...can you say extreme edge-case?. That being said, if you were already going to bring 2 Heldrakes, you might as well take this. Good way to keep your fast attack slots free (if you're running a CAD) while gaining bonuses (though admittedly useless ones).
    • One decent combo to consider is to fly these guys close to a Raptor Talon formation. If two units from the Talon charge a enemy unit they get -2LD. Coupled with the LD debuffs from the drakes circling overhead, you can really go a long way to guarantee the enemy breaks. Combos well with the Night Lords legion bonuses.
  • Helforged Warpack: The last of the Warpsmith formations, this one might actually be the best one. This time the Warpsmith tags along with 3-5 Helbrutes, Maulerfiends, Forgefiends, or Defilers in any combination. The Warpsmith lets vehicles re-use Daemonforge multiple times as long as he's alive (Maulerfiends with infinite Daemonforges are potentially quite scary), while you get to nominate one vehicle in the formation to be the Warpack Alpha. The Alpha becomes a Character and gains a 4+ Invulnerable Save, and should that model be destroyed, all other nearby models gain Rage.
    • Summary: This formation is great. The Warpsmith tax is almost nonexistent with how you field this formation. but unlike the other formations the warpsmith puts in serious work here. Tired of your maulers and brutes being turned into paperweights after one lucky pen roll? Warpsmith has got you covered and he's not limited by range, so you can pop the smith in a unit of Cultists and call it a day while your walkers parade onward. The ability to give one Maulerfiend/Helbrute the Character Status has some amusing implications too; it's fairly common for Bike armies or similar armies to give Meltabombs to their sergeants in case they need to help finish off a Knight or other similar target, and you gain the ability to challenge those characters out of their unit as a result. The Helbrute also benefits the most from gaining a 4+ invuln save, since it doesn't have a 5+ already like the Maulerfiend or Forgefiend. Take a Helbrute for an alpha and pair him with two Maulerfiends. If they ignore the brute it walks over to their transports and punches them to death. If they focus the brute then the maulers get rage, and there are few things scarier than maulers with +2 attacks running you down and shredding all of your shiny toys.
    • Warlord Mech Shenanigans: You can make the Warpack Alpha your Warlord if you really want to. While this is potentially risky due to the numerous ways to punk AV 12, it has the potential for all sorts of shenanigans, depending on your Legion and the detachment in question. The "safe" option would be an Alpha Legion Warpack, due to the resilience versus Slay the Warlord, but the funniest option is a Word Bearers Defiler. Whether your Defiler gets a free Boon from 8-fold Path, or it becomes a support-piece with Voice of Lorgar, a Defiler gains utility beyond being an overcosted Battle Cannon. The funniest option though is if it rolls Latent Psyker: think about it for a second. The Defiler has a Daemon so only suffers Perils on a double 6 when using Malefic, and it manifests Summoning on a 3+ due to being part of the Word Bearers. Add in 4 HP and It Will Not Die, alongside the Warpsmith potentially repairing it, and Daemon Summoner Defiler is one of the more comedic options to lead your army, provided you screen against Haywire of course.
  • The Lost and the Damned: 1 Dark Apostle leads 4-9 units of Chaos Cultists. The Dark Apostle gains a 6" bubble of Zealot to all LatD units. Every time a unit of cultists dies, you roll a die and on a 4+ they instead go into ongoing reserve and gain Outflank. Commander Chenkov called, he wants his Send in the next wave! rule back in. The Zealot bubble is of limited use, unless you take the Cultists in large blobs, which will be unwieldy. Their enhanced charge will still only be a load of Guardsmen attacks, and depend upon the survival of a mediocre character who has to take a forward position. They don't get Objective Secured, either, so unless you're getting mileage from their gimmicks they're worse than an Allied Detachment - which is the only way a Black Crusade will get a single Hell Blade to troll bombers & escort Dreadclaws. You could also turn them into zombies if you brought Typhus, which will free them from the Apostle, give them feel no pain, and, most importantly, allow you and your opponent to reenact the night of the living dead. You can recreate this effect for cheap in a Death Guard army by giving the Apostle the Poxwalker Hive. This will save you 90 points, but you'll only be able to turn a unit of Cultists into zombies one at a time, at the beginning of every turn. On the plus side, these units will regenerate D3 zombies a turn. Take Huron, infiltrate them, and create the ultimate regenerating tarpit, laughing at the fact that your opponent's lines are going to be stuck cutting their way through zombies for a really long time, while your army gets grabs all the objectives and gets into a better position.
  • Raptor Talon: A Chaos Lord with a free Jump Pack takes 3-5 units of either Warp Talons or Raptors. They can charge the turn they deep strike, but always make disordered charges if they do, and enemy units suffer -2 to their Leadership if charged by 2 units from this formation. Think twice about taking the Mark of Khorne in this formation, since you won't get to apply the extra attack for Rage on the turn you make a Disordered Charge, though it may still be valuable to get a Relic on the Chaos Lord or access an Icon of Wrath. This may be the best formation in Traitor's Hate and it makes an already decent unit (the Raptors) much better. The key is to mix Warp Talons and Raptors - the Raptors bring flamers, meltas, and grenades, while the Warp Talons can blender most units in a fight. Even MSU Melta Deathsquads are better in this formation, since you can immediately reroll-charge in to shove a melta bomb up the exhaust of the tank your morons somehow failed to shoot up (with extreme HATRED too). They don't even take up valuable FA slots anymore.
    • Note: This formation is particularly interesting in a Black Legion Speartip. Declare the Lord as your Warlord and you can charge anything you want from Deepstrike turn 1, bonus points if you brought the Dimensional key. Seriously now, Night Lords Raptors play second fiddle to your black dudes. You trade Stealth (whoop-dee-doo), Night Fighting (yeah) and rerolling charges (which you already do for jump packs since you've just deepstruck anyway) for Hatred, Marks&Toys, and FREAKING ALPHASTRIKE. And remember that leadership debuff? Yea, they also get +d3 to sweep if they fail that. Seriously, if playing Black Legion speartip, take Raptor Talons as Auxiliaries, while keeping all terminators in your Warband and the Chosen of Abaddon
  • Terminator Annihilation Force: A Chaos Lord or Sorcerer takes 3-5 units of Terminators, getting free Terminator Armor for his trouble. Other than the free armor, the formation's main draw is the Targeted For Annihilation special rule: Pick an enemy unit (hereby referred to as The Target). The formation gains Hatred against The Target, but the main draw is that whenever a unit from this formation arrives from Deep Strike Reserve, that unit may immediately get a free shooting attack against The Target. Because this shooting attack is in the Movement Phase, it does not prevent the unit from making another action in the Shooting Phase, which opens up additional shenanigans, but you can thankfully nominate a new enemy unit to be The Target once the original Target is appropriately annhilated.
    • Summary: You take this formation if you want to run a non-Black Legion/Iron Warriors "Chaos Deathwing" army for fluffy games, or you want a more efficient Termicide game. The main drawbacks of this formation are that it doesn't do anything to mitigate scatter issues, the "Hatred" bonus is window dressing, and a "free round" of shooting doesn't do too much since Chaos Terminators usually only wield Combi-Weapons anyway! That said, the ability to shoot your opponent in the Movement Phase opens up the door to assorted shenanigans. You can guarantee that your Terminators get a round of shooting off without being shot by Interceptor weapons. You can shoot a Knight in an exposed arc before it gets the chance to reposition its Ion Shield. You can run a unit of 4, firing 2 Combi-Plasmas at one unit and 2 at another unit, or you could play it safe and Run after firing at The Target (Word Bearers and Black Legion can do this better due to Crusader). And of course, you can give your Lord/Sorcerer a Burning Brand (or one of the other shooty relics) to get two rounds off of shooty goodness. Running this formation as part of a Black Legion Speartip can lead to one of the more entertaining alpha-strike builds out there, though board presence will be an issue.
  • Spawn: 1-3 units of Chaos Gribblies. 30 points bottom nets you the cheapest auxiliary choice there is. You are playing Champions of Chaos, so you've already got one, right?

Iron Warriors Grand Company

Like the basic Chaos Detachment, except they also have Strongholds of Chaos as an Auxiliary: 1-3 Fortifications, done and done. Not an actual formation, this still makes Iron Warriors currently the only Detachment of Formations in the game that can actually take Fortifications. The Grand Company has the following bonuses:

  • Warsmith: Reroll your Warlord Trait if rolling on the Iron Warriors table and this is your primary detachment.
  • Masters of Annihilation: Models from this detachment may re-roll scatter for Ordnance and Barrage weapons. Other than Defilers and Vindicators, the only sources of Barrage and Ordnance available to this detachment are through fortifications. Whether an Independent Character attached to an Artillery unit from Renegades and Heretics can reroll scatter is debatable.
  • Intractable Brotherhood: Non-Vehicles are Stubborn and get Fearless in Fortifications.

Alpha Legion Insurgency Force

The Insurgency Force has the exact same organization as a Basic Chaos Detachment, with no modifications otherwise. The Insurgency Force has the following bonuses:

  • I Am Alpharius: Reroll your Warlord Trait if rolling on the Alpha Legion table and this is your primary detachment.You can do this multiple times when you get a new warlord.
  • Hidden Deployment: All non-vehicle units get Shrouded during turn 1.
  • Cult Uprising: While the book says that "Cultist units that are completely destroyed enter ongoing reserves on a 4+.", to use Cultists with this rule, you have to include the Lost and Damned Formation, as it is the only source of Cultists available to this Detachment, which RAW created a loophole that allowed for possible duplication of cultist units.

World Eaters Butcherhorde

Like a basic Chaos detachment, except can take the Maelstrom of Gore as a core choice. You "could" take a Trinity of Blood as an Auxiliary choice, but then you're playing Apocalypse where almost anything goes.

  • Maelstrom of Gore: You can summarize this formation in two words: Fast Berserkers. One Chaos Lord (or Khârn) with the Mark of Khorne (that gets his mark for free) joins 4-8 Squads of Khorne Berzerkers. They all gain Fleet and +3" to charge rolls, and once per game they can fight in the movement phase as if it were an assault phase if locked in combat, and enemy units cannot fight back. This formation first came out in Traitor's Hate where it could (and even then, that was a stretch) occasionally be argued for if you wanted Fearless Fleet troops. The problem is that while this is a Core formation for World Eaters, the Butcherhorde already allows all units to re-roll charge distances, making the Fleet bonus mostly redundant, and the World Eaters Legion grants Furious Charge and Fearless, removing most of the remaining reason to take Berzerkers, besides WS 5 or mass chainaxes (you don't want these). The Warband benefits far more, as Raptors/Bikes with the Mark of Khorne move faster all the time rather than just on the charge, while 5 Chosen of Khorne cost less than 5 Berzerkers while having more attacks. Amusingly enough, this formation you can take this as a Black Legion detachment as there is no "this is a World Eaters formation" restriction; you don't want to do this, however.
  • Trinity of Blood: 3 Lords of Skulls or 3 Kytans (per the Kytan rules). That's right. They all have Rampage, all enemy units locked in combat with them suffer a number of S6 AP4 hits equal to the amount of models in the unit with ignores cover and soul blaze, and all shooting weapons have the twin-linked special rule if another Lord of Skulls from this formation shot at the same unit beforehand. This formation is so crazy expensive you'll probably never play it nor see it played, so go ahead and skip this one. Even the Kytan version.

In exchange, you get the following bonuses:

  • Berzerker Lord: Reroll your Warlord Trait if rolling on the World Eaters table and this is your primary detachment.
  • Blood-Mad: After seize the initiative, non-vehicle units entirely from the detachment may move 2d6, and non-vehicles and walkers re-roll failed charges.

Ever wanted to field khornate marines on foot with a charge threat of 36" or 39" with bezerkers? Well, now you can! First you get the pre turn move of 2D6 due to the detachment. Then you'll have your normal movement of 6 for infantry increased to 9 if having a character with the talisman of burning blood in it. Then you charge with the normal 2D6" (which is rerollable) + another 3" due to the talisman of burning blood(if using the maelstrom of gore you get another +3" to charge). So turn 1 assault for infantry is minimum of 16", average of 26" and maximum of 36". For zerkers it's +3 to afore mentioned ranges. In addition if you're really set to have a first turn charge, you can always add in 1k sons allies with the Astral Grimoire to become jump infantry so increases the charge threat with another 6". Bezerkers charging possibly 45" is hilarious. Also note that the minimum charge range for infantry will be 22 making it an easy charge if both players deployed as close to each other as possible.

Of course you can do this with lord on jug and bikes or that Sp.... But this actually makes Kharn and termie lord on foot not that bad for being slow. So no land raider needed to transport Kharn to be able to see combat. Also funny for khornate prince with wings, give him an artifact worth of him to wreck shit turn 1 if opponent is stupid enough to deploy on his deployment edge.

Emperor's Children Rapture Battalion

The Rapture Battalion is like the Basic Chaos Detachment, except you also get access to the Kakophoni as a Core:

  • Kakophoni: Lucius or a Chaos Lord (with MoS and VotLW since EC detachment) joins 3-6 units of Noise Marines. They gain the Split fire rule, and all Sonic weapons gain Shred. If you take all 6 Noise Marine squads, all Sonic weapons get +1S.

The Rapture Battalion has the following bonuses:

  • Lord of Hedonism: Reroll your Warlord Trait if rolling on the Emperor's Children table and this is your primary detachment.
  • Combat Drugs: Used by any detachment that is an Emperor's Children Army. After deployment roll one d6 to see the bonus the entire detachment has (non-vehicle, sorry no coke-fueled Helbrutes).
    1. +1WS. Army-wide WS5 ensures you are never hitting on less than a 4+, even against WS10.
    2. +1BS. BS5 Noise Marines with Shred and Split-fire can bring the pain.
    3. +1I. You're already I5/6 due to Mark of Slaanesh, but could help when going up against Eldar/Dark Eldar/Harlequins/any unit that can be Sweeping Advanced. Or if you go against Death Guard since they have ways to easily reduce initiative as well now.
    4. +1S. Great all around, but don't think this gives you S10 powerfists (it gives you S9).
    5. +1T. Pretty damn good. Best result you could hope for. If you roll this while your warlord is on a bike, laugh as you now best the Nurgle Bike Lord with FnP 4+ and T6. Even T5 and FnP 4+ is ridiculously tough to shift.
    6. +1A. Extra attacks on squads of Termies and melee-built Noise Marines are always welcome.

Ultimately, what limits CD's usefulness is that it is one roll for the army, and 4/6 of the options are melee specific, while only 1 is ranged specific for synergy with Sonic weapons, and the last improves any army. Make 1 bad roll and the entire army will suffer, but this is only a real problem if you overspecialize your army for one task - have both shooting and melee to guarantee you can't be screwed, or commit to close combat and count on the 5/6 chance to get something nice.

Death Guard Vectorium

The Death Guard is like the Basic Chaos Detachment, except you can also take the Plague Colony as a core:

  • Plague Colony: 1 Chaos Lord with Mark of Nurgle and VotLW (as per Death Guard Detachment) or Typhus leads 3-7 units of Plague Marines. When enemy models come within 7" of a unit from this formation, they take -1 WS and Initiative, and if you took all 7 Plague Marine units they reduce their Toughness by 1 as well. The most immediate use for this formation is to run your Plague Marines as a "forlorn hope" as the Vectorium's FNP bonuses combined with the debuff auras hint at wanting to get stuck in. Sadly the bonuses only last in Assault in the fight sub-phase, making the formation that much weaker overall.

The Vectorium has the following bonuses:

  • Plague Lord Reroll your Warlord Trait if rolling on the Death Guard table and this is your primary detachment.
  • Disgustingly Resillient Re-roll 1s on FNP.
  • Cloud of Flies If targeted from more than 18" away, units have Stealth.

Night Lords Murder Talon

The Murder Talon is like the Basic Chaos Detachment, except the Raptor Talon is available as a Core choice instead of an Auxiliary. The Murder Talon has the following bonuses.

  • Talon Master: Reroll your Warlord Trait if rolling from the Night Lords table.
  • Strike Fast, Strike Hard: Re-roll failed charges
  • Nocturnal Warfare: You may choose to force Night Fighting rules (no roll required); if you do, your non-vehicles get +1 to cover saves in addition to the Stealth that either Night Fighting or their Legion bonus "In Midnight Clad" normally confers. (Note, again, that this bonus is separate from Stealth or Shrouded, so stack em' high lads.)

Word Bearers Grand Host Detachment (Traitor Legions)

The Grand Host is like the Basic Chaos Detachment, except the Lost and the Damned is a Core Choice instead of an Auxiliary. The Grand Host has the following bonuses:

  • The Coryphaus: Reroll your Warlord trait if rolling from the Word Bearers table.
  • Dark Crusaders: Non-vehicles have (Gasp) Crusader. This helps your melee units reach the enemy quicker, or it helps Cultists space out to lock objectives faster. Units that already have fleet will consistently be running 5-6" a turn.
  • The Eight-Fold Path: Each turn one character gets a free Chaos Boon. However, you must choose a different character each turn. Note that this applies to any Friendly Character in the detachment, and not just those with Champions of Chaos, so you can risk your Warpack Alpha or Prince getting a roll if you really wanted to. Note that unlike Path to Glory in the Black Crusade Detachment, this benefit does NOT stack with Favored Scions, so be ready to accept some risk.

Black Crusade Detachment (Traitor's Hate)

Note: This Detachment is NOT included in Traitor Legions. If you want to run a Legion, its main benefit (Free Veterans of the Long War) is superfluous due to said Legions getting VOTLW for free anyway. You take this formation if you want to bring a Black Legion detachment but you want to maintain Objective Secured. This allows Black Legion to be run either hyper-aggressively, or relatively defensively. If you want to run Fabius or Huron, play hero-hammer with Path to Glory, run Special Characters from multiple Legions in the same detachment, or give Hatred (Imperium) to a Crimson Slaughter army, play this. It acts like a Basic Chaos Detachment with the following modifications:

  • Lost and the Damned is a Core choice instead of an Auxiliary choice, and Maelstrom of Gore is a Core Choice.
  • Lords of the Legion is a 0-5 Command Choice, with Dark Apostles as an option. You can take any Special Character in this Command Choice except Magnus, Cypher, or Bela'Kor.
  • The Trinity of Blood is an Auxiliary choice, as is Veterans of the Legion: 1-4 units chosen from Khorne Berserkers, Plague Marines, Noise Marines or Thousand Sons, but no bonuses since it's not actually a formation.

The Black Crusade Detachment gains the following bonuses:

  • Reroll your Warlord Trait if rolling on the Chaos Space Marines table and this is your primary detachment.
  • All models in the detachment gain Hatred: Armies of the Imperium; anything from Space Marines to a lone Inquisitor to that Adamantine Lance.
  • One model with the Champions of Chaos Rule gets a free roll on the Chaos boon table each turn, and unlike the similar ability the Word Bearers Grand Host gets, this works alongside Favored Scions.
    • Note:Combined with a World eaters lord in a warband that rolls Slaughterborn as his WL trait, this could make for VERY killy lord. Essentially you're getting +2A per turn, such that by turn 2 you have 8!? attacks BEFORE modifiers with gift of mutation.
  • Everyone who can take VotLW can do so for free, which means you get +1 LD for free on all your marines. This is superfluous if you're running a Legion, and Crimson Slaughter can't benefit from this except on Cult Marines, but everyone else benefits from this quite nicely.

Black Legion Speartip Detachment (Traitor Legions)

The Black Legion Speartip rewards alpha strikes, but does not grant objective secured to anything at all. On the flip side, running a CAD will work wonders because both Chosen, Terminators and by extension Land Raiders will have it! Keeping this in mind, there are tradeoffs to either army list, very much like the Horus Heresy Rites of War. The veterans of your Legion are mostly Luna Wolves, after all, and that carries over into their battle doctrine.

Special Rules
  • The Tip of the Spear: Warlord may re-roll on Black Legion Warlord Trait table.
  • Heralds of the Black Crusade: Non-vehicle units have Fear and Crusader. Fear is mostly pointless, but Crusader can be useful for getting in position faster, and it synergizes with the Hounds of Abaddon's main trick.
  • Speartip Strike: Deep Strike Units can start rolling to arrive from reserves on Turn 1. Warlord and his unit can auto-pass this roll in 1st turn if they are in DS reserve.

Command (0-5)

  • The Bringers of Despair - One unit of Terminators plus Abaddon. The Terminators have WS and BS 5 and can re-roll one "Look Out, Sir" roll for Abaddon each phase. This replaces the old ability to upgrade a unit, and now the terminators get the stat upgrades for free, which is a welcome change.
    • Note: Remember that Abbadon hands out a 12" bubble of Preferred Enemy (Space Marines.) If fighting loyalist scum of any flavor, give your Bringers of Despair combi-plasmas. Hitting on rerollable 2s will cut through those corpse-worshippers like a plasma knife through butter.
  • The Chosen of Abaddon - 1-4 Chaos Lords or Sorcerers, plus a unit of Chosen or Terminators for each one. Each Sorcerer or Chaos Lord has to join one of the corresponding units of Chosen/Terminators (and can't leave). While the character remains attached to his unit, they get Fearless. Each Chaos Lord/Sorcerer in the formation gets to roll on the Boon table prior to deployment, re-rolling Spawnhood and Dark Apotheosis results. Not particularly useful, given that you give up flexibility for a crack at a bad chart of upgrades. This is where you get your extra terminators when playing Black Legion, BTW.
  • Cyclopia Cabal - THIS IS A GOOD ONE, and nasty with the new powers from Traitor's Hate. 3-5 Sorcerers. At the start of each psychic phase, you can have one sorcerer in the formation use a special psychic power called Shroud of Deceit. You get an additional warp charge die for each Sorcerer within 12" of the main caster (you can still allocate warp charges to it as normal, though you do not have to) and it's a warp charge 3 power. Shroud of Deceit targets a non-vehicle enemy unit that isn't locked in combat within 30". You can immediately make a shooting attack with that unit as though it were a part of your army. It's a pretty neat power, and super-useful against the Tau and their Riptides (good luck trying to get it off against Eldar though, lol). One recent tournament strategy is to add a Cabal to a Daemon army. Five ML3 psykers, on top of Fateweaver and Pink Horrors, to generate 24 dice per turn. Nuts.
  • Lord of the Legion - A Chaos Lord(can be Abaddon), Sorcerer, Daemon Prince or Dark Apostle. Take this option if you just want the HQ with no added formation tax.

Core (1+)

  • Black Legion Warband - One Chaos Lord, 0-1 Sorcerer, 2-5 units of Chosen or Chaos Space Marines in any combination, 1-3 units of Terminators or Possessed in any combination, 1-3 units of Raptors, Bikes, or Warp Talons in any combination, 1-3 units of Havocs or Helbrutes in any combination. This is the core formation for the Speartip. Units in this formation roll twice when rolling for boons and can take either one or both of the results. Additionally, any time an enemy unit is completely destroyed by a unit in this formation in a phase, all of the other units in the formation can re-roll to hit and to wound rolls of 1 for the rest of the phase (note that this just means when a unit is finally completely removed from the table, per the rulebook definition of "completely destroyed"). The bonus roll on the boon table will often be irrelevant, but the other bonus is kind of cool.
    • NOTE: Unlike the other legions this uses the Black Legion Warband and not the "normal" one. That means that a Black Legion Speartip doesn't have a single Objective Secured unit since it can't take a Chaos Warband as an auxiliary either. This is a big disadvantage over other demi-company type formations. However given that this is meant to be a speartip formation, ergo you want to be the aggressor, losing objective secured isn't as big of a hindrance as you may think.
    • Alternate Opinion: This formation is actually pretty good. The key is to activate units in the right order to get the sweet Preferred Enemy for all the army; simply destroying a transport with some Autocannon Havocs can make your Plasma Chosen so much better. Or your suicide terminators popping a tank making your Chaos Lord on Steed outflanking with plasma Raptors ready to ruin the day. Or both! In general if you like to play with special weapons, this formation can help you a lot. Also, remember that without objective secured, Havocs are just CSM with more weapons. Use them if you feel the need for ablative wounds and feel free to go heavy on special weapons.
  • The Hounds of Abaddon - This is a pretty solid formation. You take 1 Chaos Lord, 1-3 units of Berzerkers, 1-3 units of Chaos Space Marines, and 1-3 units of Bikes/Raptors/Warp Talons. The entire formation gets the Mark of Khorne for free; this means you can have 13-point Marines with Leadership 10, Hatred(Everything), and Rage...not bad at all! Once per game, you can declare a massed assault with this formation to run and charge in the same turn. As if that's not enough, any time you roll an 8 or more for charge distance with a unit in this formation, that unit gets +1 Strength until the end of the Assault phase, and this is where the formation can snow-ball into something truly frightening; the Icon of Wrath is highly recommended for units in this formation, as not only would the re-rolls help you maximize the chances of getting 8, but the Furious Charge would stack on top; a unit of 5 regular Marines from this formation would cost 100 points in exchange for making 20 S5 attacks on the charge, with a good chance of those attacks being S6 instead. Note that this can give a Lord with AoBF strength 8 on the charge, allowing him to ID.
    • Interesting obeservation: This formation has a few interesting quirks. Both lords and champions can have S10 powerfists, and considering they have rage means that a champion with LC/PF has 5 attacks of either strength 10 AP2 or S6 AP3, shred. And since they have hatred, they have the equivalent of WS5, meaning these champions are essentially budget chaos lords. A termielord with Lc/chainfist has 6 S10 AP2 armourbane attacks. So for only 2 points more you can give your lord a better Gorefather that doesn't take up a relic slot.And technically, these csm can be better chosen. With the savings you could buy them CCW weapons. What you get is 17 point chosen that trade 3 special weapons for +1-2 strength and re-rollable charges. And run & charge once per game.

Auxiliary (1+)

  • The Lost and the Damned, Helforged Warpack, Cult of Destruction, Fist of the Gods, Raptor Talon, Terminator Annihilation Force, Chaos Sp-GRUGHGLGL!!!-: See their entries in the Basic Chaos Detachment
  • Daemon Engine Pack - One Warpsmith and 2 Forgefiends/Maulerfiends, in any combination. At the start of each shooting and assault phase you can have one of the fiends within 12" of the Warpsmith use his WS or BS for that phase instead of its own. In practice, this bonus works better for running dual Forgefiends, since being able to get 5 BS is a much bigger deal than 4 WS; this makes the Hades Autocannons that the Forgefiends can have much more useful, since now they'll hit with most of their shots. You can either "cycle through" the Fiends, to combo Daemonforge with improved BS, or use it alongside moving on separate flanks to force enemy Knights into a "no-win" situation regarding where to use their Ion Shields. Also at the start of the game, you nominate a single enemy character and the Forge/Maulerfiends get Preferred Enemy against that character, plus if they kill him, the the model that did so regains a hull point.

Standalone formations

  • The Tormented - 1 Prince and 2-5 units of possessed. The possessed get +1 WS and initiative as well as rending, and hatred since they have to be Black Legion. If they stray too far from their prince, they have to take a leadership test at the start of turn (unless in combat) and if failed, move D6 instead of 6. Unlike the favoured, their buffs are *always* up and prince thing is really a non-issue as it is 18 inch and even then they have Ld10 so it has a low risk of failure and the penalty isn't even that big. This formation makes possessed pretty freaking brutal. No, seriously. Forget the favoured. A unit of khorne possessed can generate enough wounds to kill even a wraith knight on the charge. Or a knight before it can do diddly squat. Never mind buffing them with assorted powers. All marks have something to offer, but MoK plays nicest with rending and anti-tank due to every 6 being an auto glance even on AV13 (with icon of wrath). MoK(+Icon) on a 10-man unit gives you 40 S6 rending attacks on the charge at initiative 5, while hitting on 3's, re-rollable. The rest of the table is pure icing on the cake at that point. And you need one less unit compared to the favoured formation, making it cheaper to boot. They also get better yet vs IoM armies thanks to endless hatred.
    • Important- While that offensive is cool and all, they have a huge problem, several actually. They're still slow, have no grenades and are still pretty frail outside of combat. So like the favoured formation it doesn't really fix possessed in any meaningful way, but if you do want to take possessed, this is the way to go.

Thousand Sons Grand Coven Detachment (Wrath of Magnus/Traitor Legions)

The Thousand Sons Grand Coven is is meant to buff Rubric units/Psykers to be more viable, though the actual results are...questionable. The formation bonuses are:

  • Lord of Fallen Prospero: ::Your Warlord gets to re-roll his Warlord Trait if he rolls on the Tzeentch Warlord Table. This table is arguably a lot better than the vanilla Chaos one, so may be worth considering.
  • Masters of Arcane Knowledge: All Psykers in the detachment may cast an additional power beyond their Mastery Level. The most immediate ways to use this are lucking out and getting the Warlord Trait that lets you know an additional Psyker Power, or using Ahriman or Magnus, the former due to knowing more powers than his Mastery Level and the latter due to the Black Staff. Worst comes to worst, this also lets your Aspiring Sorcerers pop Force to improve their unit's invulnerable save while still being able to cast their one Tzeentch power they rolled or the Primaris. Additionally, all Psykers in the detachment may re-roll their result on Perils of the Warp. This one matters more, as extra insurance against accidentally frying your expensive Sorcerers is always nice.
    • Favoured of Tzeentch: If you take the maximum number of units allowed for a formation (usually a commander + 9 units, because Tzeentch), every model in that formation may reroll all saving throws of 1. While for many formations this is excessively expensive, for others it allows for incredible durability.

Command (0-4)

  • Rehati War Sect: Magnus the Red plus 3-9 ML3 units of either Tzeentch Daemon Princes or Exalted Sorcerers. The models in this formation ignore Line of Sight for casting powers. In addition, all models within 18" of Magnus manifest on a 3+. This formation tends to find more use in Chaos Daemon armies as a way to get Magnus into their army without actually having to include Thousand Sons.
    • One of Traitor Legions' only Bikestar Formations.
  • Ahriman's Exiles: Ahriman plus 3-9 Exalted Sorcerers. All models within 18" of Ahriman manifest on 3+.
    • Another of Traitor Legions' only Bikestar Formations.
  • Lord of the Legion: Magnus the Red, Ahriman, or a Sorcerer, Exalted Sorcerer, or Daemon Prince of Tzeentch.

Core (1+)

  • War Cabal: Ahriman, a Daemon Prince of Tzeentch, a Sorcerer, or an Exalted Sorcerer with 1-3 more Sorcerers/Exalted ones lead 1-3 units of Rubric Marines and 1-3 units of Scarab Occult Terminators. Whenever a Psyker from this formation manifests a power, that Psyker (and the unit it's part of, should it be from this Formation) may reroll all 1s to-hit for the remainder of the turn. This formation is the "cheap" core of the two, and is probably what players will take just so they can run 3 units of Terminators with rerollable 2+ armor saves...
    • Summary: This formation is probably the best core T-sons could ask for. rerolling 1s to hit is extremely useful for such a shooty army, and because literally every unit in this formation has a sorcerer leading it, you can consistently get rerollable 1's to hit every turn just by activating the sorcerers force weapons. Combine that with the bonus spell every sorcerer can cast from the detachment buffs, and you will be unleashing a LOT of DAKKA in the psychic & shooting phases to cover any shortcomings that may occur in close combat.
  • Sekhmet Conclave: A sorcerer(can be exalted or Ahriman) or a Daemon Prince(can be Magnus), plus 3-9 units of SO Terminators. Any unit from this formation within 6" of 2+ of other units from this formation gains +1 Toughness (Mortarion is Jealous). This is what you want if you like Terminators, like being nearly impossible to kill, are sick of regular Rubrics being overcosted crap, or just don't want to paint very many models. You won't get the rerollable 2+ armor saves with this unless you take nine units of 5 terminators each plus an HQ, though, which is not going to happen in games under 2500 points.
    • Quick Note: While it's true that this formation is extremely expensive, especially when trying to get the blessing of Tzeentch, it's not always needed, thanks to +1 toughness. Also, the toughness buff is applied to Magnus when in range of the termie honor guard which makes him TOUGHNESS 8 meaning he is COMPLETELY IMMUNE TO BOLTER FIRE AND strength 6 weapons only wound him on 6s, so suck it space elfs. Splinter rifles still wound him on 4+.

Auxiliary (1+)

  • War Coven: 1 Tzeentch Daemon Prince, ES, or Sorcerer leads 3-9 more Sorcerers/Exalted Sorcerers. Pick one BRB Discipline at the start of the game, and all Sorcerers from this formation manifest Warp Charge for that Discipline on a 3+. This is basically your Librarius Conclave formation.
    • Are you a bad enough dude to run the Terminator Tzeentchstar? Take ten regular Sorcerers in Terminator armor and enjoy your ten man invisible 4+ FNP rerollable 2+/3++ teleporting witchfire spamming deathstar with two wounds apiece. Be sure to include the Seer's Bane and the Astral Grimoire to go fast and dominate in melee too. Warning: you won't have any points left over for actual units if you do this. (Amazingly unfriendly in 1750pts. You will utterly dominate the game, short of truly broken enemies, then lose because of objectives)
    • One of Traitor Legions' only Bikestar Formations.
  • Tzaangor Warherd: 1 Exalted Sorcerer/Sorcerer leads 3 units of Tzaangors plus an optional 6 more units of Tzaangors or the unnameable beasts. The entire formation gains Fleet, the Tzaangors may run and charge in the same turn, and should they roll a 9 or more for Charge distance, they gain +1 Strength and Initiative. Not bad at all.
  • Daemon Engines: Defiler, Forgefiend, Heldrake, Helbrute, Maulerfiend. Pick one. Not actually a formation. this is the closest thing to a spawn formation that T Sons get so if you want to go all in on your core choice, take a bare bones helbrute, maulerfiend or predator tank.
  • Legion Armory: Grab either a Chaos Land Raider, or a unit of Predators, or Vindicators. Remember you can squadron if you don't want to give up first blood, but a Land Raider may work to cart around the expensive asses of the Scarab Occult Terminators.

Dataslates

  • Wrathborn (Start Collecting! Chaos Space Marines) - 1 Terminator Chaos Lord, 1 unit of Chaos Space Marines, and 1 Helbrute. The Lord and all units within 12" of him gain Hatred. That's it.
  • Fallen Champions: Cypher grabs up to 3 Chosen Squads as Fallen goons. The Chosen aren't much more useful than normal, as they lose a lot of stuff to use. However, their use shouldn't be to much more than to guard Cypher himself as he fucks with people's shit.
    • The Chosen cannot take Artefacts, Rewards, Marks, or Transports. He can take Icon of Vengeance though. And apparently the chosen can take power fists for 5 points.
    • Chosen within 12" of Cypher uses his leadership. They also grab ATSKNF.
    • Enemy Dark Angels with Deathwing get Zealot against your entire army.
  • Mayhem Pack: This formation of 3 Helbrutes gives them all IWND (AWWWW YEAAAAA), Deep-Striking, and a shared roll on the Crazed table, even if they've never been hit (Giving them a 2/3 chance of being rather useful, though it's still a crapshoot). All-in-all, a rather decent way to boost their survivability but not their usefulness. FUCK THAT NOISE! Getting a dreadnought in close out of nowhere is one of the best uses of them in the loyalist army and this dataslate improves upon it tremendously by tripling the amount of dreadnought and making them harder to kill in the process! Then there's the crazed rule which makes shooting the brutes a dicey prospect. NOTE - although the brutes get to share a reserve roll AND a crazed roll every round, they are NOT a single vehicle squadron. This means that they won't deepstrike in the manner a terminator squad does, and you'll have to scatter each one of them separately - and you don't have to move them as one squadron either.
    • Note - With the Errata boosting Helbrutes' attacks up to 4, this makes them even more effective as DISTRACTION CARNIFEXes. 4 attacks is enough to threaten most targets other than giant hordes (and in those cases, you have heavy flamethrowers) while being able to pack a ranged weapon allow the helbrutes to be effective 2/3rds of the time right after they drop and continue to threaten targets up until it dies. In addition, something few people realize is that this formation is essentially the Chaos Version of a Drop Pod Dread, but you do not need to pay the extra 35 points for a Drop Pod, which is a great boon for it's role as a Distraction (cheap, moderately hard to kill, and killy).
      • No deepstrike mitigation means they're still very unreliable. Add 1/3 chance of doing not what you want them to do each turn on top of that. Then again, you could take the risk and take two Mayhem Packs
  • Helcult: A Helbrute joins 2 squads of cultists. This gives the brute some walking meatshields, though their use is...debatable. This formation is useless now because only Troops in Combined Arms and Allied Detachments get Objective Secured - your units in Formations don't get it. Who cares if you have 20 (Two units of 35 means 70!) fearless T3, 6+ models when everything else is also scoring and it's too easy make enough of a dent in the cultists to contest or outright take whatever objective they were sitting on. But makes a great wall of tar-pitters and fire magnets regardless.
    • The whole group gets Rage (When the Helbrute dies). However, any rolls of 1 from the brute get transferred to anyone else within 6" of him.
    • The cultists get the Fearless USR regardless of how far they're from giant hulk of Warp-machinery. The moment he goes down, however, they exchange Fearless for Zealot.
    • If the cultists block any incoming fire for the Helbrute, the giant thing gains a 3+ Cover save. Each successful save kills one of the cultists, no saves allowed. So totally worth it since you have 35 of the shlebs in front of him. Right?
    • For added lulz, hide a warpsmith in with the cultists. There, you got yourself a reliable meat shield for both the Helbrute and a unit in which the smith can hide so he can repair any of the hits that actually make it to the Helbrute (assuming it doesn't kill it, that is).
    • Give them the Mark of Nurgle for an extra slurpy tarpit. Also consider that Sonic Weapons ignore cover so they are a great walking buffer for your Noise Marines.
  • Helfist(er) Murderpack: Out of the 5 Helbrutes in this formation, one of them must be designated a Champion, thus making them like a squad with a sergeant. The Champion becomes a Character and gets the Aura of Dark Glory and the brutes within 6" can LOS! for the big guy. The Champion also makes the entire squad choose what Crazed result they want instead of rolling it. However, once he dies, not only does this Crazed selection end, but the others also get Rage. While this sounds nice on paper, the issue is that they're still forced to footslog it all the way to the enemy, and a 5+ Invul and the ability to choose Fleet and Rage when they get hit is not going to help them out much with that. Can't really use this for insane helbrute dakka to double your shots every single turn, since only the 'brutes that have taken damage will be able to make use of the Crazed table. Bare in mind that you can technically abandon any Helbrutes affected by Fire Frenzy as they count as immobilized and according to the rules of the formation you can still pick their crazed result even when they are no longer part of the squad. This is a good way to bypass the sqaud having to all fire at the same unit.
  • This formation is surprisingly good when you add in some protective wizardry. Or fly them across the table on top of a magic ruin.
  • Kranon's Helguard: Chaos Lord, Chosen squad , Pack of Termies, Two mobs of Cultists, a pack of Raptors, a 'Brute, and a Land Raider. Just from the DV starter kit and Crimson Slaughter Expansion. It's decent, as it forces all units within 12" of one unit here to take -1 Ld, while anyone within 12" of two or more units take -1 BS, as well as giving Fear and Stubborn, but...just like the Unrelenting Hunt, it's absolutely not worth forking over all that cash for both kits. Or even just the expansion.
  • Kharn's Butcherhorde: Formation with Kharn (Shocking, right?), 4 CSM squads with the Mark of Khorne and 4 Khorne Berseker squads. They all get Adamantium Will and for every 6 to hit they get another attack (and yes, with another 6 you get another attack and so on). Then, if you get an 8 on the charge (beign the number of Khorne and all) you double the attack value on your models. It looks nice, but that's a lot of models. That's why it's called Butcherhorde and not Butchergroup.
  • Cult of Destruction (Apocalypse) This packs in at least a 3-man pack of both Obliterators and Mutilators. If you get more Obliterators, you can gain a combined fire bonus ability. Lascannons get 48", Strength D and AP1, Flamers become Hellstorm templates with AP3, and the Artillery gets 48", Strength D AP 4 apocalyptic blast. Mutilators meanwhile get Furious Charge and get another attack per unsaved wound.
  • Heldrake Fear Squadron (Apocalypse) 3-5 of the Drakes get grouped up, and they get effectively infinite Daemonforge, though they have to take another roll per turn for damage. They can also make an extra 60" pre-deployment move. They can then make an out-of-sequence Vector Strike that can't force morale tests if they cause casualties and forfeit the ability to Vector Strike for the first turn, though they can still shoot. USeful? Well, it'll at least let them live a little longer.
  • Legionnaire Warband (Apocalypse) - A Chaos Lord grabs a 3+ Troops, 2+ Elites, and any number of HQ, Fast Attack, and Heavy Support choices. Everyone must take Veterans of the Long War and the same Mark of Chaos. They can also re-roll failed to-hit melee attacks against Space Marines and Fearless within 12" of the Marines.
  • Lords of the Black Crusade (Apocalypse) - Abaddon gets to lead Kharn, Lucius, Ahriman, and Typhus (or their equally marked Chaos Lords). For this, they get to use all their Finest Hour/Sons of their Primarch abilities at once. Also, Abaddon can make a Magma Storm Unnatural Disaster and become the Master of Disaster.
  • Lost and the Damned (Apocalypse) - 1+ Dark Apostles can use 3+ Cultists, giving them Infiltrate, FNP and Furious Charge (for Cultists), and can resurrect a single cultist during each break for free.
  • Thousand Sons War Coven (Apocalypse) - Ahriman (Or a ML3 Tzeentch Sorcerer) with 3+ additional Sorcerers get to use a new Warp Charge power called Storm of Change. It's a 48" Witchfire with S:D and AP1, Assault X, Blast, and Vortex. It also sacrifices Sorcerers for pieplates, making it very risky to use. Alternatively, just activate all of their force weapons with one power, then throw a huge unit of them at anything. That thing will die, no ifs, no buts. Or, it's a fucking Titan, in which case you're fucked anyway.
  • Tide of Spawn (Apocalypse) - 5+ Chaos thingies get to swarm up. They can't be used as normal, instead replacing an equal number of normal, unengaged infantry models. Other than that, they're no different from any normal ones. If you have the money and time and are a massive troll, take a squad of 35 cultists.... replace with these and watch as a literal tide of flesh smashes into that greentide or tyranid swarm of gaunts. Your opponents face will drop when they see that a measly cultist squad manages to wipe their way through their entire formation.

Warzone Pandorax

  • The Chosen of Abaddon (Apocalypse) - 3-5 Chaos Lords or Sorcerers all get to take permanent retinues of Chosen or Termies, all without champions. The Lords all get a bonus boon by just forming up, and when within 12" of Lord Topknot, they get Fearless, making them a bigger shield for big A. Combo with Bringers of Despair, and get your Black Legion first company rolling.
  • Daemon Engine Pack (Apocalypse) - 3-5 Forgefiends or Maulerfiends. They get Preferred Enemy against one chosen enemy and when they kill it, they get a 1 VP. They can also choose a Warpsmith to be their owner and any engines within 12" of the smith get to use his WS and BS(BS5 Forgefiends? Yes, please!), making the Daemon Engine army more useful. They also get to charge after running, which is very awesome.
  • The Hounds of Huron (Apocalypse) - A Biker Lord gets to lead 5+ Biker packs. In a move that could make Marine biker armies take note, the formation gets Acute Senses and Outflank, and bikers within 12" of the Lord get to charge after Turbo-Boosting, which is definitely some good speed.
  • Maelstrom of Gore (Apocalypse) - Kharn (or a Khornate Lord) has to take 8 8-man Berzerker packs for blood and skulls. Anyone within 18" of the Lord/Kharn get Fleet, Move Through Cover, and +3" Charge Range, making this a better way to deliver the forces of blood. However, they're still not gonna be able to hit any better.
  • Trinity of Blood (Apocalypse) - A squad made of 3 Lords of Skulls. The first kinda meh rule is the ability to grant Rage to absolutely everything that is not a vehicle within 12" of a member here, which would only be useful in certain situations (Orks, Nids, Guardsmen) and otherwise useless unless you took Cultist Blobs, which then give you a problem. The other less problematic rule is the ability to force all enemies within 24" of them to take Dangerous Terrain tests before moving unless they can fly.


Crimson Slaughter

  • Requirements: No Veterans of the Long War. Previously, this rule simply said that you could not buy the VotLW upgrade -- anything that had it stick (like Kharn) got to keep it. Now it says that no unit in the CS army can HAVE VotLW. The wording isn't clear; it can either mean that your units lose that rule if they happen to have it, or, more likely, that you can't buy those units to begin with. This means no Special Characters, no Rubricae, and, worst of all, no Daemon Princes - and no Vrosh Tattersoul. Anyway, Noise Marines, Berzerkers, and Plague Marines are excluded from this rule.
    • Alternate View: The Daemonheart still says it can't be taken on Daemon Princes, which would only be possible if they could be taken as units in the first place. An FAQ is needed, but RAI would seem to indicate that it was meant to use the old rules.
  • Benefits:
    • Harbingers of the Tormented: All models in the detachment have Fear. Yes, that includes vehicles. And cultists.
    • Slaves to the Voices: Possessed are troops instead of elites, and they roll on a different mutations table from the one in the Codex, gaining either Shrouded (includes their vehicle if they're in one), Beasts, or a 3+ invul save and Rending. The new mutations table is flat out better than the old one, and having Objective Secured makes them seriously worth considering. (This makes the Favoured of Chaos formation very interesting; on the one hand, if Daemon Princes are allowed, it becomes akin to god mode, while if not, it is a toy they never get to use

Warlord Traits

  • 1: Murderous Hate: Warlord and his unit have Hatred, and get to re-roll misses in CC against Dark Angels units (because Dark Angels needed more help dying).
  • 2: Maelstrom of Torment: All enemy units within 12" of the Warlord suffer a -1 Ld penalty, and a -2 Ld penalty to any Fear tests they take. Anything vulnerable to Fear left in this game is going to fail those tests anyway, but whatever. MoS will destroy those cheesy Eldar.
  • 3: Maddened Rage: Rage and Furious Charge. If there's an enemy unit within 12" in the beginning of a shooting phase, you don't get to shoot and must charge them the following Assault phase, if possible. Unfortunate if your Warlord is shooty, pretty sweet otherwise.
  • 4: Merciless Slaughterer: Warlord and his unit have Crusader.
  • 5: Spectral Assailants: Enemy models in base contact take D6 S3 AP hits at Initiative step 10 of each Assault phase. (note that EACH enemy model will take D6 hits, which can be quite a few additional dice.)
  • 6: Pall of Mists: Warlord gets Shrouded. Pretty good if you're not already getting it from a Mutation roll (see below)

Relics

  • Crozius of the Dark Covenant: A replacement power maul for the Dark Apostles. All friendly Crimson Slaughter units within 6" of the bearer get the Zealot rule. Cute if you want your Zealot to hang in the back and ensure your Havocs stay put, or you could use it for "Go to Ground/Get Back Into The Fight" shenanigans.
  • Blade of the Relentless: Basically a power sword that makes its bearer stronger as he kills shit. 1 kill grants +1 Str, 3 kills grants AP2, 5 kills grants another +1 Str, and 10 kills grants Instant Death. Have a Sergeant take the challenge for at turn so you can kill off some grunts then take over when he dies or 'glorious intervention' into his place with a AP2 +1 strength sword. The wording of the relic says that models removed as a direct result of the bearer's close combat attacks. This means that attacks with other weapons or other sources belonging to the model that count as close combat will also count towards charging the sword. Powerfist/claw combo, icy aura boon, Spectral Assailants warlord trait, hammer of wrath, and combat familiars all count towards the total. And with the way wound allocation works with challenges now in 7th, you no longer have to worry about only getting a single "kill charge" from winning a challenge.
  • The Slaughterer's Horns: Furious Charge, Rage and Hammer of Wrath for 15 points. Very good for non-khorne HQs, but largely wasted on anything with MoK and icon of wrath. However, in a dual god themed army this presents a great way to have multiple gods/marks represented on a single character.
  • The Balestar of Mannon: Sorcerers only. Allows the bearer to roll on Divination and re-rolls on failed Psych tests. However, he doesn't get any modifiers to Deny the Witch rolls for being a Psyker. in the current edition this becomes a really interesting tool and effectively replaces the spell familiar since you can only re-roll dice once.
    • RAW: He does not get the modifier for being a psyker, but does he get the modifier for being at a higher Mastery Level than the other Psyker?
  • Daemonheart: 2+ Armor Save and It Will Not Die. Can't be taken by a Daemon Prince, which limits its usefulness somewhat. Terminator armour comes with a 5++ invulnerable save, a power weapon and combi bolter for only 10 more points, but remember it strips you from grenades and the ability to perform Sweeping Advances. Take this with a Nurgle Lord on a Palanquin or bike and watch the fat fuck soak up rounds like nobody's business, and then just regain a wound next turn.
    • Final Consensus: Any self respecting chaos lord will have at least a 4++, and a Chaos Lord's one advantage over a Space Marine captain is that you can load up on weapons and relics. Thus, the Daemonheart IS BETTER THAN TERMINATOR ARMOUR in every way that matters, unless you really, really want that relentless (get a bike) or a chainfist. Everything else can be replaced with equal or better equivalents anyway. Just, TAKE IT!!!
  • Prophet of the Voices: Makes your IC a Possessed, basically. He gets Daemon, Fearless and Fleet, plus rolls on the new mutations table mentioned previously. Can only join units of Possessed of the Crimson Slaughter. Allows for some really rapetastic combos, especially if you roll lucky on the Warlord Traits and Mutations tables, though the choice between going solo and having a posse of Possessed is pretty limiting.
    • Note: Having the Daemon rule means you can benefit from Cursed Earth, giving your sorcerer/lord a 3++ with a sigil.

Crimson Slaughter Formations

  • The Ravagers - One unit of Possessed plus one unit of Chosen makes the Ravagers, granting them Sight of the Third Eye. So long as the Chosen Champion is alive, one of these units gets re-rolls to hit for the duration of your turn. Sadly, this means no re-rolls in the enemy combat phase.
  • Disciples of Mannon - One Sorcerer and a unit of Possessed that hope the Stars are Right! Roll a pair of dice at the start of the game; they are your portents of DOOOOM. Anytime your opponent rolls EXACTLY two dice (example: a Leadership check, for example) check to see if it matches your portents. If there's a match, FUN happens! You roll a further d6, and on a 1-3 you get 10 Horrors, 4-5 3 Screamers or Flamers, and a 6 gets you a Herald (BAD) or a Lord of Change (GOOD). They immediately pop up within 18 of the Sorcerer. If he bites a bullet, no Tzeentchian fun for you.
  • Brethren of the Dark Covenant - A Dark Apostle, a unit of Possessed (notice a theme here?) and 1-3 units of marines make up this mean bunch. The Dark Apostle can elect not to shoot in the shooting phase, and can instead RAEG. This inspires the formation within 12 of him, granting those within the bubble Zealot and Feel no Pain. Add this to Nurgle Chaos marines and congratulations you have Plague marines on the cheap.
  • Cult of Slaughter - Another formation lead by a Dark Apostle. This time he drags along 2-8 mobs of Cultists to be glorious meatshields. If the cultists are within 9 of the Apostle, they get leadership 10. The real treat is that in your movement phase, d6 cultists are restored to each mob within 18 of the Apostle, up to their original starting number. They bring back any marks or heavy weapons lost as well. Not too shabby.
  • Lords of Slaughter - A Chaos Lord, a unit of Termies, yet another unit of Possessed, and 1-3 Marine squads make up this formation. A simple but powerful formation, the Lord becomes a Mastery 1 Psyker with the Prescience divination power. Additionally, when targeting members of this formation, the power has infinite range.
  • Kranon's Helguard - Basically the Dark Vengeance and Expansion army. A Lord, 1 unit of Chosen, 1 unit of Termies, 2 units of Cultists, 1 unit of Raptors, a Helbrute and a Land Raider. Everyone gets Stubborn, and any enemy within 12 of a unit from the formation gets -1 Leadership. If they are within 12 of two or more units, they suffer -1 Ballistic Skill as well!
  • The Red Onslaught - A formation of formations. Bring all of the above! Each formation keeps its own rules, but two universal rules come into play. The Maddening Horde gives a -1 Leadership to all enemies on the battlefield, so long as 1 model is still standing. Easier said than done; remember all those possessed? At the start of each of your turns, roll a d6. On a 4+, any and every unit of Possessed that was destroyed from this formation Deep Strikes back onto the field. If they are destroyed again, they can come back again, and again! The train has no brakes!

The Purge (Forgeworld)

An FOC from the IA:Vraks book, that also can be filled by Chaos Space Marines as well as the Vraksian Renegades. This detachment requires 1 HQ and 2 Elites, with the option for an additional HQ up to 4 additional Elites, 8 Troops, 4 Heavy Support and a Fortification. You don't get any Fast Attacks, and the formation cannot take any Marks other than Nurgle. In exchange, any Missile Launchers in the detachment can take Chemical Rockets, and any flamer weapons can be swapped for Chemical Flamers for free. Chemical Rockets are AP 5 Frag Missiles with Shred and Gets Hot, and Chemical Flamers are regular Flamers with Shred & Gets Hot. Not bad! There's a second bonus that any Barrage weapons from this Formation leave Dangerous terrain markers, but Chaos Marines don't get any barrage weapons anyway outside of Forgeworld, and the FW options they do get are expensive!

  • Although this is nominally a Nurgle formation, there is no requirement to actually take any models with Marks in it. The big thing this formation allows you to do is bypass a Troop tax altogether and just cram in Elites/Heavy Supports in a way normal Chaos armies can't do. Whether you want to run mass Chosen without paying for Abaddon/the Veterans tax from Black Legion, whether you want to do solo Obliterator/Mutilator MSU builds, or whether you just want to add a bunch of Walkers to another army/play Chaos Mechwarrior, this formation allows surprising amount of flexibility.
  • Though it probably was not intended and was probably a rules oversight, there is nothing preventing you from taking Daemons or vehicle Dedications of another Chaos God. For example, you could use this formation to run Blood Slaughterers if you were so inclined.
  • The detachment is decent and fluffy, yes, but losing out on all those hard-hitting and cool Nurgle Fast Attack options (Heldrakes, Spawn, Bikers, and Blight Drones, ironically) really does hurt - especially in maelstrom missions where zipping around the board to capture an objective helps a lot. Depending on what you want to do with the list, you can either go "all in" with the army theme, or supplement it with additional formations; the Heldrake Terror Pack from Traitor's Hate gives your Drakes back, while the Daemonkin Gorepack gives durable speed to round you out nicely. You could always just use Termicide for your mandatory Elites, and use the Heavy Support to spam Maulerfiends...
    • You could still grab your cheaper, zippier Assault Vehicle DTs (Dreadclaws), maybe even a couple Kharybdis, and just burninate your Chosen and Dreads into position. Or, if you have loads of cash and don't mind being that guy, buy an Air Superiority Detachment full of Assault Pods and cackle as your Wings of pods descend and burn in perfect formation right when you need them to (and now you have some ObSec to boot, just remember that the hull should be no more than 3 inches off of the tabletop.).
    • If you really do need some fast infantry and were using this detachment without marks consider making your guys Night Lords. They can take Raptors as troops, giving you a (very) little something of your fast attack back.
  • The wording is such that you can take both renegades, AND Chaos Marines! Have fun with hoards of zombies marching in front of your Plague Marines as artillery obliterates anything strong enough to inconvenience those fat asses. Actually, the consensus on the matter is that mixing and matching units from the two codices is not allowed. There seems to be no official errata on the matter, but a couple of e-mail replies from FW state that it shouldn't be done - which means that you can probably get away with it, if your opponent looks the other way, but don't count on doing so in a more strict setting. Take Typhus - you get no uberzombies, but his regular ones are good enough. Or take a Helcult with MoN.

Allies

Battle Brothers

  • Other Chaos Space Marines: With Traitor Legions finally getting their own rules, there will be many new strategies arising involving allying different Chaos subfactions. Chaos warbands are battle brothers with each other: if you want to benefit from another subfaction's rules, ally them in as an Allied Detachment or a single formation. This way you can take armies consisting of multiple legions and warbands if you want to combine their different strengths.
    • Want Divination? Take a Thousand Sons War Cabal or Ahriman's Exiles. Exalted Sorcerers of Tzeentch(including Ahriman) have access to Divination and can cast its powers on 3+ easily with either of these formations. Divination and tack-on psyker spam formations are no longer just for loyalists and Eldar. Thousand Sons are so eminently valuable as allies, as their relics are awesome for helping other detachment forces (i.e. Jump Infantry Terminators)
      • Oddly enough Black Legion can do this too. You loose access to TSons artefacts, but you aren't forced to slap mark of tzeentch onto cultists/marines and as an allied detachment actually allow you to bring an exalted sorc + ObSec termicide unit or chosen.
    • Does your melee army need a powerful heavy weapons team, for fire support? Ally in Iron Warriors or Death Guard for autocannon or lascannon havocs, with free Feel No Pain and either Tank Hunters or Relentless. Loyalist Devastators may have the grav, but they have nothing like this.
    • Want your Possessed to not suck as bad? Ally a Crimson Slaughter formation to get a squad of Possessed that can roll Shrouded, 3++ and Beasts type among their mutations.
    • Saw the loyalist veteran meltas in drop pods strategy, and want to try it out? You can do it for cheaper by taking an Alpha Legion allied detachment and infiltrating Chosen!
  • Renegade Knights allow for more specialized loadouts but do not have the formations of Imperial Knights. And your Warpsmith has no servitors. Good support but not enough synergy to be the main focus. FUN in small games.
  • Chaos Daemons: Daemons provide fast-moving assault elements to supplement more assault-heavy forces. Soulgrinders are awesome due to having an in-built 5+ Invulnerable Save, and can either be viewed as a "better Defiler" in many ways, due to their AV 13! Fantastic mobile cover, and they pack a punch, too! Troops are no longer obscene amounts of points in this codex, either, and heralds are fuckcheap HQ units; the mandatory units in an allied detachment can cost as little as 135 points, meaning you could take Soul Grinder support in lists as small as 1000 points and still be none the worse for wear. Meanwhile, bloodthirsters follow the flying monstrous creature rules and have WS 10 (10!). Lords of change are mastery level 2 psykers by default, level 3 with the upgrade (which you will always take) and can take either Tzeenchy witchfire powers to give your enemy feel no pain or Divination powers to be useful (Divination is probably better in a shooty CSM army because of Prescience). Daemons are by far the best allies you can take simply because they bring Divination.
    • Protip: Wanna make your Bloodletters or Daemonettes actually survive so they can reach combat? Run them straight towards the enemy every turn, then park a rhino in front of them and block all incoming fire! Then deliver your delicious, demonic payload right into those helpless loyalist corpse-fuckers' sphincter!
    • Icons Also, friendly 'daemons' can get more accurate deepstrikes off daemonic icons. This does still work for warp talons ('blind' bursts near the enemy, you say?) and obliterators. You still scatter D6", but that's not that bad.
  • Khorne Daemonkin: - A combo of Daemons with things you can already do, the Space Marine aspects of the detachment don't have the random mutation table, and the champions can get access to AP2 initiative weaponry through the Axe of Khorne. The Daemons are more stable, and can actually join your squads and you can join theirs, though adding a Herald won't benefit you since it only applies the Locus to "Daemonkin" units. Having BftBG also only applies its effects to Daemonkin, so if you only use a small allied detachment you might as well save those Blood Tithe points for summoning more free units of daemons, which can be done more reliably than having Sorcerers with Malefic Daemonology. They have fantastic formations, so you can easily add them to your main force without being forced to pay a HQ+Troops tax. But even if you use the "Combined Arms Allies" FOC at least you've got Berserkers as the Troops choice, leaving your primary detachment free to build towards another god(s) of your choice.
  • Renegades & Heretics (Forgeworld) - probably the most obvious one for both fluff and functionality. You get to combine the Helldrake AND Hydra flak tanks and DOMINATE the skies. As battle brothers your characters can join each others squads and/or benefit from each others abilities, so you can have an impressive number of psykers buffing each other up. Dark Apostles can make your massively combined renegade squads fearless & zealots and Warp Smiths can fix up your multitude of tanks that you'll probably have. Your big platoons/troops choices don't need to take up several FOC slots so can generate a considerable amount of cheap bodies.
    • Now with that said, taking Renegade as allies causes a few problems. First you are "required" to take the Arch-Demagogue w/ command squad as a compulsory HQ choice. But if he's not your warlord it's a wasted slot, because you aren't allowed to buy a Demagogue Devotion (and therefore can't get any of the interesting army upgrades) and you won't have the Master of Renegades rule either, so no unlocking God-specific units using a Covenant to gain things like contagious Plague Zombies. You still get access to all of the generic list and all of their upgrade options however. So if all you wanted was access to cheap bodies or Imperial Guard tanks then it's still a perfectly good option.
  • Renegade Knights: Unlike Imperial Knights they have no relics or formations (yet), but as BB you can repair them, pack them closer with your units (e.g. Nurgle bikers), and they can dual wield identical weapons, allowing you to gear them up for specific roles.

Allies of Convenience

  • Necrons: From a hobby/fluff perspective, Necrons can make for a fun "Chaos Androids" or Dark Mechanicus project. Beyond that, Necrons provide you with a wide toolbox. Use to easily fill in the gaps your army might be lacking in the anti-vehicle department. A Command Barge and two full squads of warriors are durable and take down vehicles as well as Infantry. Use them as Living Metal shields. Can also contribute a few fantastic fliers: a night scythe can put a squad of warriors and a volt-tek haha, no lethally close to an important vehicle while simultaneously burning their fliers, though not as good as before. The Doom Scythe is more of a mixed bag. While its death ray can blow holes the size of a Land Raider into a Land Raider, your Heldrake outclasses it for anti-medium infantry work and arguably for anti-flyer work (depending on if you're using Death From The Skies). Select a flyer based on your army's needs. Notable Necron formations include the following:
    • The Deathbringer Flight is a sidegrade to the old combo of taking Nightscythes carrying Warriors w/ Storm Harbingers. You trade the rapid hull-point stripping ability of multiple Voltaic Staves in exchange for a pair of super-powered small blasts; if firing both blasts at the same target, the second one gets +2 BS for its Death Ray; this will give it a high enough BS to minimize concerns about a bad scatter. Generally speaking, two fliers is enough to have an answer enemy aircraft, as well as for providing spot elimination versus key hard targets, plus the formation is really easy to include in an army. With many tournament formats moving towards "three detachments," it's easier to plug this formation in an army.
    • The Triarch Judicator Battalion is on-and-off a mixed bag, but for the most part handles well with a Chaos army. Praetorians got buffed to the point they make a solid assault unit, and they provide their own movement to boot. Running them alongside fleshy-masses-that-were-once-human gives you a wave of fast-moving hard targets your opponent has to deal with, that can move through cover with no issue. If you're feeling sneaky, note that the Praetorians can also take Night Scythes as dedicated transports too, though you're not using them as transports. Instead, you're using the Nightscythes either as air defense, or as ground-attack craft; note that they would reroll to-penetrate vehicles marked by the formation's Stalker, so if an otherwise tough-to-remove Knight is bearing down on you, some mass Tesla just might be what the Warlord ordered.
  • Orks: From a hobby/fluff perspective, there are numerous cases of Chaos Lords trying to hire Orks as mooks, or they make an amusing "counts as" for 40k Beastmen. Orks can provide several things to an aspiring Chaos Lord. Why take a few expensive Havocs or Forgefiend, while Lootas or Mek Guns are available, or why swarm Zerkers when Slugga Boys will bury the enemy in attacks just as well? Either with Lootas or Mek Gunz, they add an additional layer of fire support that is otherwise missing in a Chaos army, and they provide extra weight of fire. With Warbuggies or Deffkoptas, they can provide a cheapish substitute to having attack bikes, though both have their own share of dirty tricks they can do in turn. Just remember that Ork armor is worthless, so don't be surprised when your Chaos boys are still standing after your big green friends are shot up. Notable Ork formations include the following:
    • Bullyboyz: Simply put, Bullyboyz turn Meganobz from a decent suicide missile into an unholy train of destruction. With Fearless and improved Weapon Skill, they hit harder, and give a commander absolute reliability that they will stand their ground. They still lack invulnerable saves and so cannot weather the attacks of mass Grav weapons, or enemies bringing their own Riptides/Fire Dragons/Thundershield Terminators/etc, but both Orks and Chaos have access to cheap chaff units that provide an extra layer of screening. Cultists are for most intents and purposes glorified Grots anyway. With Bullyboyz, you don't particularly fear Knights as much, as you have the weight of Klaw attacks to simply out-attrition them in a direct slugfest.

Desperate Allies

  • Dark Eldar: This could be a good (or at least interesting) pairing, with Plague Marines and massive Cultist blobs holding down the objectives while the Dark Eldar range ahead and blow things to pieces. As a rule of thumb, CSM are the anvil and DE are the hammer. Don't worry too much about the whole Desperate Allies thing; Chaos Marines don't have that many abilities that would benefit the DEldar, and the DEldar are usually so much faster than the rest of CSM (with the exception of the Heldrake and maybe the Maulerfiend) that you don't need to worry about the whole One Eye Open, "we won't work within 6" of you" thing.
  • Tau: NEW CODEX!!!!!! Pretty good choice. First take a Cadre Fireblade and a minimum squad of Firewarriors. Followed by a MOTHERFUCKING RIPTIDE, THIS BABY WILL SHIT DOWN THE NECK OF ANY IMPERIAL DOG!!! For extra brownie points align your MOTHERFUCKING RIPTIDE to your preferred Chaos God. For extra, extra brownie points replace the giant burst cannon on your Slaanesh Riptide with a huge dildo. If you want to be a dick, take sensor towers and make any three of your squad's weapon twinlinked. Yes, it would work on any allies, not only battle brothers. Heck, you even can twinlink enemy squad just for S&G. Worth mentioning, that Broadsides with velocity trackers are near the best anti-air in the game, and one of the few capable of penetrating damn Caestus ram.

Come the Apocalypse

  • The Imperium: Yes, that's right, you can now ally with any Imperial faction as long as they deploy 12 inches away and if they come 6 inches close to you, you need to test to see if they just stare at each other for a turn. They come in many flavors:
    • Space Marines: Since they have too many Chapter Tactics to cover, the best ones will be covered instead. Iron Hands (The supplement too) gives you more durable flyers and tanks, tougher marines, and an unkillable Chapter Master if you take the Supplement. Salamanders with their bonuses to Meltaguns and Flamers, and Imperial Fists for Tank Hunting Devastator/Centurions with Bolter Drill as a bonus.
    • Dark Angels: Pretty hilarious, but not particularly useful.
    • Grey Knights: Extra warp charges and Force Weapon goodness. Would you like a Storm Raven and a Baby Carriage with your order of lore-breaking?
    • Blood Angels: Cheap Razorbacks and easy access to Stormravens. Death Company Dreadnoughts aren't bad either.
    • Space Wolves: Wolf here, wolf there, wolf everywhere. Nifty flyers and Marines right here.
    • Astra Militarum: Run your meatshields as Renegades and Heretics instead.
    • Adepta Sororitas: Infiltrating Meltaguns with Immolators and a Exorcist? Oh my.
    • Legion of the Damned: Yet another army that can bring more Meltaguns in case you didn't have enough, although some Multi-Meltas are useful in this case.
    • Inquisition: Outside-the-box Xanthite fluff? Offers very little to Chaos due to most of their tricks being designed for Battle Brothers.
    • Militarum Tempestus: They're okay as well. Drop them in the backfield away from your advancing troops.
    • Imperial Knights: Renegade Knights offer exactly the same platform with more customization, and Chaos Knights offer Daemon options and various neat tricks. Skip.
    • Skitarii: Here comes the Dark Mechanicus! They provide you with just about everything you don't get: AP2 at initiative, anti-MC, anti-infantry, anti-tank and cheap and very reliable and cheap anti air and a long ranged mini Vindicator
  • Tyranids: They help with anti-air and providing more warp charges (that they cannot share with you). Hive Tyrants and Crones are a must, while Zoanthropes are nice to have.
  • Eldar: Provide fast units in the form of skimmers and jet bikes or durable units in the form of wraiths. They provide S6 en masse so that could plug the anti-tank gap as well as readily available strength D in the Wraithguard (which can be made fast by slotting them in a serpent).

Building your Army

CSM have a very old codex and tend to be overpriced - the best way to compensate for this are Traitor Legion special rules and formations/detachments. Building a basic Chaos Warband formation is a good start, as they also work well as a regular CAD.

Notable Kits worth include:

  • The Start Collecting CSM Box: This comes with a Chaos Lord in Terminator Armor, 10 regular Chaos Space Marines, and a Helbrute, as well as a dataslate letting them all be run as a standalone formation. Considering the Chaos Warband requires 10 Power Armored Marines minimum, this actually isn't that bad of an investment.
  • Dark Vengeance: Dark Vengeance is a "starter set" for people wanting to play Chaos Space Marines and/or Dark Angels; if you have a friend to split this up with, you're potentially in business, or you can try "filing off the Aquilas" on the Loyalists. Note that since they're snap-fit single-pose plastics, conversion work will be easier said than done. The kit comes with a Chaos Lord (not a bad start, though you want your Lord mounted up), 20 Cultists (good, because Cultists tend to be a valuable objective camper), 6 Chosen which unfortunately are geared for melee though you can convert some Champions from them, and a Helbrute. Overall, this is actually pretty decent for a starter set; the Dark Angels get a Company Master (meh), a Librarian (hello Sorcerer) 10 Tactical Marines (aka closet traitors), 5 Terminators (which you want), and 3 Bikes (which you also want). If you opt to use the entire box in one go, that's an entire Chaos Warband and a secondary CAD in one go.
    • Unfortunately, the Crimson Slaughter Dark Vengeance Expansion isn't as focused, even though you get a good discount price out of the whole thing. You get another 5 Cultists, a unit 5 Chaos Terminators, 5 Warp Talons and a Land Raider. The problem is Cultist units are generally best run as 10-man or 20-man units, leaving 5 Cultists in an awkward position, Land Raiders are overcosted and generally not worth fielding outside of certain fringe builds (Blood Angels have a sexy Land Raider formation, and you don't), and Warp Talons are pretty terrible as a rule, especially as a "single unit". If you want Talons, you should skip this box and go for the Raptor Talon (listed below). If you want Terminators, get the regular Terminator box and some multi-part plastics.
      • Maelstrom of Gore** - This is cute if you're running a World Eaters army. The problem is that Berserkers themselves are overcosted, so you'll probably have them "counts as" regular Marines with the Mark of Khorne.

Once you select one of these "core" kits, adding a good secondary bundle will help round off your army, and help it fit into a Legion detachment more easily.

  • Helforged Warpack: You get two dinobots, a brute and a warpsmith. Not great, but neat - and if that's the way you want to go anyway, you might as well check it out. Ideally, this bundle would have been better with a 3rd Dinobot, especially since you'll already have another Brute from either the Start Collecting or Dark Vengeance kits.
  • Terror Pack: two drakes. 'nuff said.
  • Raptor Talon: This bundle gives you 10 Raptors, 5 Warp Talons and a Chaos Space Marines Lord with Jump Pack, ready to deepstrike AND charge immediately after that. Night Lords can use this as a "core" bundle if they desire, but this bundle is fun for Black Legion too thanks to their Speartip Strike. Although unfluffy, the toughness bonuses afforded by Death Guard make them deadlier than normal.
  • Favored of Chaos: This bundle comes with 15 Possessed and a Prince. GW has been pushing these so hard ever since the revised Crimson Slaughter came out, but there's the thing - possessed suck. If you're a diehard Word Bearers fan, this might be worth your time. Otherwise, don't bother.
  • A note about Iron Warriors - Like IW? Well, starting an IW army has never been easier than now - get your hands on the Betrayal at Calth box set. That one provides you with 30 plastic HERESY-era Marines (whose sculpts suit the IW better than the new ones), a small squad of Cataphractii Terminators, a Contemptor Dread, and two HQ choices. Said HQ choices are a Cataphractii Terminator Captain (which you could choose to field as a Terminator Champion or as a Terminator Lord) and a Legion Chaplain (which you can also convert into/field as your choice of power armored Sorcerer, Dark Apostle, or Chaos Lord). The set is available for less than what Games Workshop usually sells it at, should you search eBay, and lets you decide how much obvious/rampant mutation your Traitors display by adding green stuff or painting evidence of corruption onto their armor - WITHOUT having to spend time filing off Imperial icons like Aquilas. The only thing left, really, would be some Rhinos. Still not good enough for you? The "Burning of Prospero" box has 30 plastic Mk.III Iron Armor Marines, in case those Mk.IV Maximus suits from the Calth box weren't doing it for you, so you could always find someone willing to trade.

The NOW OUT OF STOCK Chaos Marine Battleforce Box is a good start, giving you a Rhino, Chaos Space Marine Squad, 5 Possessed and 3 Bikes. The old Battleforce (even more elusive) had a Rhino, Khorne Berserker Squad, enough bitz for 2 Chaos Marine Squads, and a 5-strong Possessed Squad which you can easily use to make a Chaos lord with any of the new options, give Chaos Champions Lightning Claws, all the stuff you only have one of in the Chaos accessory sprue. The four remaining Possessed you can use to make the five man Chaos marine squad into a nine man one.

The Chaos Marine Attackforce box is a even better start IF YOU CAN GET YOUR HANDS ON IT, FOR IT IS ALSO A VERY OLD PRODUCT, AND OUT OF STOCK AS WELL. It gives you A Rhino, a Chaos Space Marine Squad, 5 Raptors/Warp Talons, 1 Forge Fiend/Mauler Fiend, 1 Lord/Sorcerer in Terminator Armor and 5 Terminators. This allows you to field a complete army at about 800-900 points if you split the Marines in two five man squads. If you want a quick start, get a second Marine box or a couple of Cultists from Ebay and you will have a complete playable (Although not the most competitive) army. If you really like Dinobots, Terminators and Raptors, get a second box and you will be able to fill 2/3 of the Force Organization Chart and land at about 1800 points for only about £300 ($490).

From there, it takes a bit of planning and experimentation. Chaos Space Marines differ greatly from their loyalist counterparts in that they are less forgiving of fuck ups. That is to say what works against one opponent will not likely work against another. Units like Plague marines, havocs and obliterators are generally all around useful against any opponent, so you can almost never go wrong with buying a box. Some players swear by some units while others think they are shit.

One thing to keep in mind is even your basic troops can start getting VERY expensive once the upgrades start piling up. A basic Marine can go from 13 to 19 or higher per model once you start adding on a close combat weapon, mark, Veterans of the Long war, icons, etc. As players of full cult lists already know, this will lead to being outnumbered very frequently. Finding the balance between quantity and quality in a army full of options and strong expensive units is key. Keep in mind that 7e is focused on shooting - not exclusively, but predominantly. Many people get into CSMs for the marines. However, it is often a good idea to just take a minimal squad of cultists for your mandatory troop choice and use the remaining points on something that actually hits hard.

Consider using allies with cost effective troops to counter deficiencies in your lists. Chaos Daemons are the best ally to start with.

Tactics

Psychic Primer

Having at least one Psyker adds an extra layer of depth to your army, and Chaos Space Marines can bring the Psychic game. One of the main reason Psykers remain useful in 40k is they generate their powers after army creation but pre-game, meaning you're paying for a "wildcard" gun you can tailor.

  • Know what Powers To Take - Most of the "BRB Psyker" rules from the Psychic Tactica apply here. You don't get Divination or Telekinesis without the Balestar or Ahriman/Exalted Sorcerers. Of the Traitor's Hate disciplines, Ectomancy gives you a good grab-bag of abilities, with the "mobility powers" being a notable force multiplier for an army that's traditionally "slow" like Chaos; when you can "swap places" with your own units, or selectively give your units the "Interceptor Shunt", an Ecto-sorcerer plugs a lot of the traditional CSM weaknesses. Heretech is for if you're up against mass enemy vehicles (*cough*...Gladius...*cough*), while Sinistrum gives you some Deathstar/anti-Deathstar tech. Geomortis has a few duds, but selective Ignore Cover/LOS can have its uses, and you get a good "Healing" power which can be helpful if you want to run a Summon Sorcerer. Remember you can "mix-and-match" disciplines. While this costs you your Psychic Focus, Psychic Shriek is the "main" Primaris that gets attention anyway. If you've rolled your two powers on one Discipline and got at least one of the powers you wanted, it's probably worth taking Psychic Shriek as your third power rather than rolling for it.
  • Summoner Psykers - Your Sorcerers are no better at avoiding Perils from attempting to Summon Daemons than any others, but this is deceiving. Princes can summon if you spend the 50 points on getting two Mastery Levels, but a more economical option may be to just spend 60 points to give your Sorcerer a Mark of Nurgle and Palanquin; the extra two wounds can give you an extra turn or two of tossing out summons. Finally, Crimson Slaughter gets Prophet of the Voices, which lets you turn one of your Sorcerers into a Daemon.
  • Mobility is Key - Most Psyker powers max out at 24" effective range, with 18" being the average for Witchfires. Thus, unless you're running a Summoner Prophet (or the less efficient Summon-Prince), you want your Psyker to bring mobility. Your Sorcerers can take Bikes (or Jump Packs for fringe uses) while your Prince can use Wings. Remember that you can Turbo or Flat-Out after using Psychic powers.
  • Protect your Psykers - You need to protect your Psykers from both your opponents and themselves. Besides incoming fire, your Psykers can Perils, and the Champion of Chaos rule can trigger from Witchfires; the last thing you want is your Sorcerer to transform into that-which-must-not-be-named because he fried a Sergeant with an errant Psychic Shriek! Protecting a Sorcerer is either a matter of joining a good "bunker" unit (whether it's a blob of Cultists, or a unit of Spawn-OHGODNOBLARGAHHHHH), or really good positioning ("Bike twelve, manifest a power, Turbo back to safety"), while Perils is something you just learn to live with (or you buy a Mark of Nurgle & Palanquin for an extra two Wounds). For protecting your Psykers against accidentally transforming themselves from their own spells however, you'll want to avoid targeting small units with characters among other similar targets that your army should otherwise be capable of taking on. That said, if you're running a Sorcerer in a Chaos Warband, Favored Scions gives you some insurance (and you might get a buff or two out of it).
  • Include some "Batteries" for support - Your Spell Familiars give you some leeway in stretching your Warp Charge out further, but you will stretch thin. A good rule of thumb is one Psyker is a "battery" for every two casters. Thankfully, you're Battle Brothers with Daemons, and an allied Detachment of 11 Daemons and a Herald of Tzeentch will give 5 Warp Charges for less than 200 points, as well as a fearless bubblewrap/objective-holders while the rest of your army gets to fight. While an overcosted unit and generally not recommended for serious play, even the Thousand Sons Sorcerer can be thought of as a "free Warp Charge" if you're insistent on running a unit of them as a glorified breacher-team.
  • Have A Plan - Psychic Powers are a tool among many. Summons let you "build momentum", set up traps, or deny/lock down the board, while other powers can make your army selectively tougher, your enemy selectively weaker, or serve as fancy analogues to guns, but if you don't plan out your powers, you will have a bad time. If you're up against an opponent that wants to do an assault alpha-strike, Summons can protect you either through bubblewrap (Daemonettes!) or with counter-charging Tarpits (Beasts of Nurgle!), while summoning "fast" move-through-cover Daemons can be used to prepare for a "push." It's when you have an underlying army providing fire support (be it of the Meltagun, Autocannon, or Termicide Combi-plasma variety) that Psykers truly shine, rather than relying on them to carry you through single-handedly.

Handling Challenges

For many games, Challenges are more a curiosity than an active part of the game: When you fight an army of Eldar Jetbikers or Tau Riptides, you'll find tough shooty units with nary a character a sight, and some armies (Necrons and Tyranids) may not have any characters whatsover except a single Lord or Flying Hive Tyrant! Even when up against an army with multiple sergeants, challenges are an annoyance for many of your characters; a Cultist Champion is just as dead in assault whether or not in a Challenge, while a Space Marine Sergeant and a vanilla Aspiring Champion fighting against each other is effectively a coin-flip. It's when you're up against other melee armies or ones with special bonuses in challenges (For example, Eldar, Space Marine Champions, etc) that you have to be extra-careful in combat. The first thing is to remember that Challenges are issued at the start of the Fight Sub-phase, and Challenges can only be issued or accepted by models that are Engaged. If you have a character you do not wish to engage in a challenge, keep him more than 2" away from the closest base-to-base model; he won't be Engaged at the start of the Fight Sub-Phase, so he won't have to issue a Challenge. You then wait for the character's Initiative Step to happen, then have him make his 3" step so he's now Engaged and free to beat stuff up. Alternately, if your opponent wants to issue a challenge, it pays to have several sacrificial schlubs on-hand to "take one for the team".

Builds

This section is divided into three main parts: There's the "fluffy" section for people that want to run armies that adhere closely to how the nine Traitor Legions work, the "min-max" section that does a more clinical analysis of what is/isn't competitive with Chaos, and the misc/FUN/shits & giggles section. As usual, YMMV and caveat emptor and all that funky jazz.

Legion-Specific Guidelines

For the first time since the legendary 3.5 codex, making a fluffy yet powerful Legion army is now an option thanks to the Traitor Legions Supplement! Just in case we failed to mention anything in previous or later sections of the tactica, here are some suggestions/tips/observations for compiling a Traitor Legion detachment.

Alpha Legion

Alpha Legion is about sneakiness, infiltration tactics, and highly-trained Cultist teams. Alliances of Convenience with Orks are not unknown (as one may recall from Dawn of War). Fortunately for you, the Alpha Legion tactics do just this, allowing cultists, Chosen, and Marines to infiltrate. In addition, they allow any character to generate a warlord trait after your warlord dies. Who's the real Alpharius? Oh, and they don't get Slay the Warlord unless they kill every character in your army.

  • With so many infiltrating units, it is very easy to dominate the early game. Set up 5 plasma gun chosen to assassinate the enemy warlord; melta chosen for armored targets. 20 Man CSM squads plopped onto objectives or close to the enemy (circumventing the need for transports). Cultists infiltrated onto back/midfield objectives. Flamers to crisp some nasty CC units before they can get into combat. THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!

Black Legion

Choice is the name of the game here. With no restriction on marks, you are the only Legion that has access to the entirety of the CSM range, minus characters. Including the new TSons and (soon) Death Guard units. This makes a CAD rather interesting to play with. You also have two warbands to choose from. For killpoint games you have the Black Legion warband, for everything else you have the chaos warband, unless of course you feel like murderizing units off of objectives rather than competing with other ObSec units. So between the aptly named Black Crusade, our Speartip and CAD/formations and access to all units, you can be defensive, aggressive or anything in between. Hell, you can even give TSons a run for their money in the psychic phase. And being the largest Legion by far, it's all fluffy too.

The Black Legion supplement provides a few starting points for fluffy lists. Hounds of Abaddon are a khorne warband with their own formation and it's a core choice for the speartrike. Khorne in general works really well with army wide Hatred. Plays similar to WE. Another option is to go ham on elite choices. We get ObSec terminators and chosen in a CAD and it doesn't interfere with turning the cult units of your choice into troops as well. Spice with Forge World and formations as needed. Cultists are for peasants. Or go full glass cannon with the speartip and enjoy turn 1 assaults with possibly the best legion for the raptor talon and maybe a terminator annihilation force. If you somehow still have points, bring the psychic dakka with a cabal and let the galaxy burn.

Night Lords

The Raptor Talon was tailor-made for Night Lords players. Night Lord Raptor Talons inflict -4 LD on units the turn they charge. Plus, now it's a core choice for the Night Lords Decurion! To make your horde of Fear-inducing Marines even more absurdly successful, bring the Heldrake Terror Pack formation to force more penalties on your opponents during fear tests.Milage may vary against loyalist Marines, but you do have the cover saves to really make use of the re-rolled charge in the decurion. Still absurdly successful against most other armies in terms of failed fear tests.

Iron Warriors

Iron Warriors play differently from most Chaos armies in that they emphasize shooting rather than herohammer. Their Warlord table has a lot of stinkers or depend on your army composition: you will Rage when your Lord or Daemon Prince gets Fearless, gives all your nearby Daemon Engines It Will Not Die when they already have it, or lets your Obliterators fire the same gun when you didn't take Obliterators!

Thankfully, Obliterator troops mean you can take a minimum-sized CAD (or 2) and get Strategic. It's because of this that the Cult of Destruction is ironically usually not worth taking for Iron Warriors!

If you take the Grand Company, you're doing it either because you love pieplates, or you want to re-enact the Iron Cage and plop down lots of Fortifications. Or you can do both: You can take a pair of Vengeance Weapon Batteries with Battle Cannons, or a Firestorm Redoubt which you can then garrison with a unit of Objective Secured Tank Hunter Havocs! And the Battle Cannons reroll scatter! Fist of the Gods becomes a fun formation if you want to throw down 3 Vindicators, and if you use Legacies of Ruin, you can grant one of them Outflank to really keep your opponent guessing where the next attack will come from!

That said, don't go overboard. You can do Fortification-spam, Vindicator-spam, or even (for more casual games) taking an odd Defiler in support of Maulerfiends, but you won't be able to do it all at once; taking more than one Warpsmith in games less than 2000 points will be a heavy tax for most of your armies, and you should almost never take more than two. If you're playing at lower points or just want to field more bodies, the humble Munitorium Armored Crate is only 10 points more than a Spawn Auxiliary and provides a good deal of support for your Warband, from additional cover, ammo crates to help your Havocs shoot better, and even the Fuel Tanks can let you turn a unit of Chaos Bikes or two into a jury-rigged Torrent flamer team.

Word Bearers

While Word Bearers have access to all Marks of Chaos, unlike most legions, they have some of the weakest legion rules, which revolve around a few particular HQ choices. Possessed as Troops in a CAD with no other improvements to their rules are still a bad unit, while the Dark Apostle 6" range is small and only gives Hatred and Fearless(which other legions can get for free). The harnessing of warp charges for Conjurations on a 3+ is the strongest benefit from playing Word Bearers: combining this with a Spell Familiar, and you summon daemons more efficiently than most daemons. You will have to keep this in mind when building the list: free VotLW is the only thing your basic Chaos Space Marines gain from(not counting formation and detachment rules), without the help of your supporting HQs.

Because Possessed themselves are bad, and Word Bearers do not get any other advantages to support running Forgeworld-heavy lists, most Word Bearers lists should start with a Grand Host rather than a CAD. Although Eight-Fold Path is mostly inferior to Path to Glory in the Black Crusade detachment (you can use it on Daemon Princes or Warpack characters, but it doesn't benefit from Favored Scions and you can't pile blessings), Crusader allows your grunts to get across the board faster while the Word Bearers Warlord Table is rather nice. The question is whether you want to do a Cultist-heavy build, or a Marine-focused build.

The Cultist build is pretty simple: Use a Lost and the Damned Core, but try to balance the ratio of Cultists to actual killing power; the main reason for this formation is how expendable it is. The Warpack actually makes sense as an Auxiliary for this army, as taking several Daemonology Psykers means you have respectable odds of getting Cursed Earth, plus Warlord Psyker Defiler remains the most memetic Crab Cathedral (Crabthedral) to emerge from rule interactions; take advantage of Crusader so your Cultists can run forth, jam movement, etc.

The Marine-focused build will go for a Warband, and try to take advantage of the ability to mix-and-match Marks. If you want some Cultists to support this build, one option is to use a Helbrute as your mandatory "Heavy" requirement for the formation, then take an allied Helcult so you have a second Brute and two units of super-unbreakable Cultists. If you're feeling cheeky, you can attach your Lord/Sorcerer to each Cultist unit so they also get Crusader, and move faster towards objectives (presumably the Grand Host characters are whipping them up into a religious frenzy). Bring Spawn or other..OHGODNOARRRGRMGH...as the other anon was saying, other fast-moving assault elements can put additional pressure on your opponent, so that MSU Bikes are not your only trick!

No matter whether you go for a Marine or Cultist-focused build, a Palanquin Summoner is a good pick for your army, as the blessings from Lore of Nurgle can buff your army to do nasty things, while the extra wounds give you additional breathing room for casting powers despite Perils. Though you can run Bike Sorcerers, you're not really taking advantage of the Word Bearers' main draw if you do this. On the other hand, a Daemon detachment (be it Allied Detachment, CAD, or Heralds Anarchic) can provide you a lot of extra Warp Charge to play with as well as Paradox. When you can reliably expect to get at least two free units of Flesh Hounds per turn, while you're running lots of small threats, you can maintain a momentum over your opponent that is more powerful than it appears at first glance!

World Eaters

The Butcherhorde is pretty amazing. (Fill in the rest here, World Eaters players!) Don't mind if I do!

  • The Detachment is good for a noncompetitive setting because the 2d6 pre-movement will be negated because you don't want your Berserkers from the Maelstorm of Gore to sit out in the open and get shot to death. However, instead of bringing Kharn, bring a Juggerlord with the Talisman of Burning Blood and put them in a bike or spawn unit and now they have a pre-movement of 2d6, base movement of 15" and a charge of + 6" if the Lord is from the Maelstrom of Gore (note: the other model's in the unit he's in won't get that extra 3 inches, so you'll have to put your Lord in front Mad Max style). You can easily get first blood and if you bring the Raptor Talon which can charge when they come from reserves, you can disrupt the front lines turn 1 with the Lord and spawn then charge the back lines with the Raptors/Warp Talons turn 2. Then charge with the Bersekers turn 3. You can bring an additional JuggerLord with the Dimensional Key so your Deep Striking units do not scatter.
  • As most opponents will be smart enough to not deploy on the edge of their deployment zone (or they're Tau), a Gorepack for scouting Flesh Hound escorts makes your turn two charges all the more devastating. Mixing in more Khorne Deamonkin like a JuggerLord with Blood Forged Armour and Axe of Khorne escorted by scouted Hounds can be great anti-charge/tarpit units as well. You wouldn't want your Axe of Blind Fury or Gorefather JuggerLords bogged down by Wraiths now, would you? Pretty sure those things don't even have skulls...
  • Speaking of special weapon wielding warriors of wape: this army has a few very strong toys to play with. Where Death Guard can MSU and Alpha Legion can Cultists spam, HQ spam seems to be the name of the game with World Eaters. JuggerLords with AoBF or Gorefather are a must. A Deamon Prince with Berzerkers Glaive will make your opponent scream in terror as they fire volley after volley into him before the inevitable bladed insertion. Any Warpsmith (escorting Obliterators) or Dark Apostle (escorting Cultists) can be tricked out with a Burning Brand of What-Do-You-Mean-It's-AP3-Torrent. The trick to a good assault army is to give your opponent too many high priority targets to choose from. If they're too busy taking out your Deamon Prince they'll leave your Spawn wrapped JuggerLords alone, leaving them free to run wild in their deployment zone.
  • One very important rule to remember is to not split your forces. World Eater units aren't tough, you will get shot a whole bunch and you will be removing models by the handful at times, but if anything gets close to your mass of swirling axes and flailing tentacles its going to get mulched. Nothing kills you faster than your own hubris, however, and thinking you can split off one unit of Chaos Space Marines to deal with something is a surefire way to get those Marines killed by shooting/PSYKIC NONSENSE. Be a red tide of death crashing into the enemy on mass and you will have success.

“monuments are dust, tales merely words soon forgotten, but blood, blood is forever” Angron, Primarch of the World Eaters

Death Guard

Another approach is a Death Guard Vectorium with a Chaos Warband with plenty of Havocs and a Cult of Destruction for added versatility. Use Nurgle Bikers to intercept enemy melee specialists.

The Plague Colony Formation compensates your -1 Initiative by also inflicting it on the enemy, along with -1 WS - putting enemy MEQs on the same level as your walkers. So give your Plague Colony some Rhinos, combine with Maulerfiends from a Hellforged Warpack, don't forget the Dirge Casters and maybe add a bunch of Nurgle Bikers. Cue Advancing Wall of Death. Very expensive but can really put a dent in things (especially in Apocalypse games).

Emperor's Children

Turn up your sonic weapons to 11 with the Kakophoni formation. Noise Marines in the Decurion have S5 sonic blasters and S9 blastmasters with Shred. Judicious application of Slaanesh psychic powers allows for potential S6+ and S10! Yeah good luck with that. You only get the +1S if you field 6 Noise Marine units. That means with minimum Noise Marine units without Icons or Rhinos but with their weapons of course + a Lord without any upgrades would cost you already 980p. Good thing we all play 3k point games everytime, right? Things shall get loud now. A Helcult povides you with nice mobile cover, AP2 and is a good way to represent your pleasure slaves. Lost and Damned, while flakier, unlock -and take- Combat Drugs. Alternately take a Chaos Warband for Anti-Air and AP2.

The Raptor Talon really benefits from the Slaaneshi Decurion, especially when you combine it with a melee oriented Chaos Warband.

Thousand Sons

There are two ways to go about running Thousand Sons. The first way would be to run a Tzeentchian Sorcerer, unlock Thousand Sons troops, and...that's about it really. Add anthing with a 5++ save to benefit most from MoT and thus legion tactics, maybe a Skyshield Landing Pad as magical fortress for your Havocs. Or start with a War Cabal and expand from there. Thankfully, Traitor's Hate gives you more leeway in running a wizarding army, and without the need to lock your own Sorcerers into using the Mark of Tzeentch. Run "The Lost and the Damned" as your main core, for the gaggle of cultists/Spireguard that are kept as servants, and add at least two Thousand Sons units as your Auxiliary of choice. Run several Sorcerers with your Command Choices, Add some Things Which Must Not Be Named or Heldrakes as additional auxiliaries, and max out points on getting . Why not consider adding a Daemon CAD for additional variety as well?

Ok so this has been playtested once and I will try it a few more times before my final verdict but after the first game this is my opinion. The Ahriman's Exiles Formation. You cannot get any more elite than this. Ahriman and 3-9 Exalted Sorcerers to get a 3+ warp charge. Now, this is a veeeery pricey formation in points, I played a 1k game and it had only four models in it. All were on discs, familiared when possible and level 3. I also threw in some artefacts like the Murder Sword which really paid off. Now I lost on points (Crusade with three of five obj in the opponents board half made things tricky) but that was partly down to my only mistakes early on and some bad luck. The trick is that you rarely perils thanks to 3+ rerollable Warp Charge rolls and if you pick your disciplines right you end up with a very tough (Endurance and Warp Fate almost every turn) unit that can constantly keep out of combat until it wants to get stuck in. At 1500 you add some more Sorcerers and maybe a Malefic one to expand your presence and it could be quite nasty to handle.

Fun, fluffy and Semi-old builds

  • STD squelch: (Nurgle oriented). Ever wanted to have a legit CSM army that numbers many models and is fluffy? Then, my dirty friend, this one's for you. Take 9 units of cultists (minimum size) an Apostle to make the Lost and the Damned formation, then add Typhus. The fun part is that Typhus makes these meat puppets Fearless zombies with Slow and Purposeful and FnP, while the Apostle makes every wiped unit come back on 4+ from ongoing reserves. With Outflank. Let that sink in. Then add 3 Vindicators and a Warpsmith for some well-needed firepower. The grind is real when the enemy is guaranteed to be tarpitted or blasted back into the age of pre-industrial Russia by the Vindicators (they can combine their shots into 1 apoc-blast). All of this would be just under 1.300pts, with more than enough room for whatever bile-infused mayhem you may need to complete a Black Crusade detachment!
  • Love Parade (Nurgle+Slaanesh). Take the Kakophoni Formation at full size, sorcerer included, add a Helcult at full size with MoN (representing drugs) and 6 flamers, and an unnamable beast as mascot to get that sweet Combat Drugs detachment bonus. With the Kakophoni at minimum model count for 6 blastmasters, some 65 cultists and various upgrades it costs you 1500 pts, with the Kakophoni at minimum model count for 12 blastmasters and 6 icons of excess it costs 2500 pts. Give the helbrute a plasma cannon for some AP2, and all you miss is air defense.
  • Poop Bucket Prince: Many times proven to work in practice. Upgrade your DP with MoN, Burning Brand and lvl 3 Mastery Level. Fly around the map, dropping AP2 pie plates full of shit and AP3 torrents full of morning breath, while being hit on 6'es and having 2+ jink save. If you jink and have to give up that torrent, don't worry, as you still have those awesome Nurgle powers left to itch your opponent with. Throw in a Hellturkey for free beverage during your game consisting of your opponent's salty tears.
  • Choo-Choo Chosen: Chosen can take 5 special weapons. That's possibly 5 MELTA GUNS! Alternatively, you can give up to 4 of those special weapons for fists/claws/power weaps. You can either cram squads of 10 of them in Rhinos, or drop them in Dreadclaws and gear them how you want to function. There are three ways to run "mass Chosen."
    • Take Abaddon: The most immediate one, Abaddon makes Chosen Troops. This is fun if you face lots of Marine players, since his Preferred Enemy Bubble will add up. However, if you're not facing Marines, his bonus won't matter as much...however, he is still ultimately a giant beatstick capable of bringing the pain. You have the option to Deep Strike him in, either with Terminator pals or in a Dreadclaw (since he would presumably be your Infernal Warpsmith, he would be effectively immune to being "nommed" on by his own transport), or run him in a Land Raider if you're bleeding points (how did you manage that?!)
    • Run a Black Legion army: Black Legion get Chosen Troops, or the Black Legion Warband lets them take additional units. However, they must take Veterans of the Long War, which the Black Legion used to pay points for - paying an extra 10 points per 5 guys could add up fast! Fortunately, the updated rules from the Traitor Legions supplement lets them take VotLW for free, so this isn't such a drawback anymore. Meanwhile, you don't have to pay for csm or cultists regardless of your HQ - use that to your advantage.
    • (Forgeworld) Run The Purge: A Purge Detachment switches things around so rather than making Chosen troops, you only need to run mandatory Elites instead. The only catch is you can't Mark your Chosen with anything besides the Mark of Nurgle, but if you weren't planning to Mark them anyway, it's no big loss.
    • Alpha Legion: Not only are Chosen Troops, they also get Infiltrate! Add a few infiltrating regular marines and cultists for distraction and you are golden.

The Min-Max Section

  • Cabalstar - The Cabalstar is one of the more common builds if you're trying to build Chaos with a degree of competitive viability. Simply put, you're taking the Cyclopia Cabal for multiple Sorcerers, and you're looking for a suitable unit to make a Deathstar out of; add supporting fire support and objective-grabbing units to flavor, be they Bikers, Cultists, or whatnot. While you "could" experiment with making a Cabalstar out of other units, deathstars work best when they bring their own mobility, and thus the two notable units used for stars are:
    • You-know-whats: You get 3 high-toughness wounds for a reasonable price, but lack any Invulnerable Save, and lack raw damage. That said, if you're giving one Sorcerer the Black Mace, chances are that Sorcerer is also rolling Biomancy in order to fish for Iron Arm; if you get Endurance, the things-that-must-not-be-named become that much tougher against many things.
    • Flesh Hounds: The more popular option for running a Cabalstar, though if you're using Chaos Marines as your primary, this would effectively eat up three detachments, which would limit your options depending on if you're playing in certain tournament formats. Because Daemonkin Flesh Hounds do NOT have Daemonic Instability, there's nothing preventing you from joining Sorcerers to them. Ironically enough, Sanctic Daemonology is a good discipline to use on these guys; Hammerhand makes them that much deadlier and capable of grinding down more enemies due to weight of attacks, while Sanctuary improves their armor save while being stackable with Cursed Earth. The best thing though is that because the Flesh Hounds are Beasts, they're immune to the "Difficult and Dangerous Terrain" side effects of Sanctuary. Gate of Infinity gives them a "get out of jail free" card against certain problem units as well. Or you can just take an Alpha Legion Lord with the Mindveil and you will be able to move in and out of combat better than the White Scars!
  • Dark Mechanicus - Other than the Maulerfiend and certain Forgeworld units, most Chaos Walkers are slow and don't have good alternate deployment options (most of your Dreadnought Chassis models can take Dreadclaws as DTs). They do provide unique fire support vectors and the potential for a lot of long-term damage over the course of a game, so if you do want to give them a go, you better go "All In." That said, there are several formations that cater to playing a Walker-heavy army in different ways; all three Helbrute Dataslate formations have their use,
    • Fast Builds: If you're looking for something more aggressive and "In Your Face", then you're probably playing Daemonkin instead. That said, even for such an army it probably pays to have fire support or "more maulerfiends" so it still helps to bring either Warpsmith formation (the Black Legion one or the other one). If you're using Forgefiends as fire support, having extra turns of Daemonforge will generally carry you farther than said Forgefiends getting Blood For The Blood God.
    • Attrition Builds: A "simple" build for 1850 points is: One Helcult with two units of 35 Cultists and a Helbrute, a Warpack with Warpsmith Tax, Helbrute, 3 Forgefiends and a Defiler (Alpha Beast), and a Forgehost with 3 Soulgrinders of Slaanesh (two with Torrent, and one with Bombardment). The Helcult gives you unconditionally fearless bodies to screen with or edge around for objectives with (it may help to keep the second unit in reserve), the Forgefiends give you "solid-strength" shooting for blowing through Knights/Void Shields/etc, and the rest of the Walkers provide a mix of fire support and speed to play the objectives game.
    • Experiment - The Mayhem Pack can be cute for certain "beta-strike" lists. Forgeworld gives more options of course, with the Plague Hulk being a "discount Soulgrinder", and the Blood Slaughterer allowing you some board control shenanigans with moving enemy units around. Malefic Daemonology can help, as the difference between a 5++ and a 4++ adds up across multiple vehicles, while the Void Shield can provide some protection. Remember that nothing is so tough that it cannot be killed by a D-weapon, Haywire, or Assaults, and plan accordingly.
  • Using Infiltration/Outflank - Both Ahriman and Huron have Master of Deception, so you're guaranteed to have at least one unit of Infiltrators in your army. Unlike Marines, you don't get Scouts or Scout Bikers, and the trait itself is strictly inferior to the Master Of Ambush Strategic Trait in the core rulebook, but you can at least guarantee that you'll get this power. If you don't take marks you can go Alpha Legion, making your Chosen troops and giving Chosen, CSM, and Cultists Infiltrate. And then there is Cypher and his infiltrating Chosen. For best utility, take two detachments, one for Chosen and one for infiltrating specialists. While Infiltration can be used both offensively (reposition your Havocs in a better firing position, place Obliterators in Multimelta range, outflank Chosen Rhinos, etc) and defensively (lay out a unit of Cultists to deny Scout Moves versus White Scars/Ravenwing Bikers, grant Outflank as partial defense against Skyhammers or other Alpha-strikes), you don't have the redundancy or reliability (since you could always end up only infiltrating one special unit anyway) to make a "pure" infiltration army, and any army that includes an Inquisitor with two Servo-Skulls can shut down Infiltration hard. Consider Infiltration more of a Bonus than something you build your army around.
  • Mass Deep Strike - Technically, a build like this is possible, either with Purge, Formations or even through a CAD. The problem of course is that you don't get equipment that allows you to reduce Scatters, and the only reserve manipulations you have on-hand are through Fortifications. One thing you "could" do if you were feeling cheeky would be to run mass solo-Obliterators/Mutilators (either through Purge or the Cult of Destruction) with some optional form of aerial support, akin to a Chaos Lictorshame. However, you don't get the ignore cover shenanigans of that army as a whole, or the maneuverability needed for objectives play. The Terminator Annihilation Force and Raptor Talon both offer you ways to help your Strike go off more effectively however; the former letting you "beat" Interceptor, the latter letting you tie up trouble screening units from the first turn onward. Daemon allies are the most obvious pairing, as Icons can help mitigate scatter for your Obliterators while Cursed Earth prevents it entirely! However, Necrons also provide their own tools as well; a Necron CAD can provide aerial support/obsec troops at a critical location with Nightscythe Immortals, can back up your Obliterators by running solo Heavy Destroyers (in both Fast Attack **and** Heavy Support, mind you), and three of their Elite choices also have Deep Strike. Flayed Ones are your cheap ones, Praetorians are your "Special Weapon Team/melee anchor", but the real funky combo comes with Deathmarks. Since you're Allies of Convenience with Necrons, your units are enemy units to your Necrons, so anytime you manage to Deep Strike a Terminator or other unit in, you can use Ethereal Interception to have your Deathmarks immediately follow suit. They won't be able to shoot at the end of that movement phase, but they can still shoot in your Shooting phase, so if you really need that Wraithknight dead...
  • Mechanized - The Loyalists have more and better mechanized formations; the Battle Company, Ironwolves, Lucifer Armored Task Force, and many others provide significant buffs or discounts that mean in a straight-up armored slugfest, you will be outnumbered and outgunned. The only "tank" formation that Chaos gets on the other hand is the Fist of the Gods which gives...6+ Invulnerable Saves. Moreso than the other ways to build a Chaos army, this one relies heavily on Formations, Forgeworld, and/or allies to pull its weight across.
    • Mass AV 11 - There are two ways to go about this. The non-Forgeworld way is to take a Chaos Warband, and the minimum number of Marines needed; Chosen are your Elites and Havocs are your Heavy Supports. Mount them up, and give each team either two Specials or a Special and matching Combi-weapon. Universal Obsec helps in this regard. The Forgeworld way is to run a Purge detachment and use Chosen as your mandatory Elites. You don't get Razorbacks but you can do Havoc Launchers in a pinch. Add an alternate source of AV 11 to your mix: Ork CADs give you mass Looted Wagons (even with reliability issues, 67 points for an AP 3 pieplate can add some crowd control), or Junkas if you're using Forgeworld. If you prefer a more "melee-MSU" approach and prefer the Rhinos to be support-pieces, the Seeker Calvacade lets you bring a lot of solo Seeker Chariots on the cheap.
    • Heavy Armor - Fist of the Gods gives underwhelming bonuses and saddles you with a Warpsmith tax, but is one way to take "more armor" without having to pay the requirements for a second CAD. Purge does its thing of course. Another thing to note is that most Forgeworld vehicles of this class are just plain better than the codex options available; sure, you can squadron Predators or Vindicators, but you're putting too many points in single units when that happens, and make it easier to be focus-fired. The Deimos Predator makes a scary support-piece provided you can protect it, the Sicaran is an all-around brutal vehicle, and the Relic Predator Infernus can be a source of cheap Plasma blasts that don't Gets Hot. Orks "can" up your overall resilience since Kustom Forcefields do work on enemy units, but another option is running Necrons, either with CAD tax or even just taking the Annihilation Nexus (with Doomsday Ark tax); two Sicarans and two Annihilation Barges are capable of a surprisingly respectable amount of fast-moving twin-linked S7 firepower.
  • Aerial Warfare - Other than the iconic Heldrake, Chaos does have other fliers. The Daemon Prince sacrifices durability and raw killing power for the ability to engage in close combats or combo with psychic utility (though remains very overcosted), and Forgeworld adds its share of fliers. The Hellblade is a dirt-cheap fighter for the firepower it brings, while the Chaos Fire Raptor is one of a small number of Forgeworld vehicles that is flat-out better than its Imperial equivalent.


Warhammer 40,000 Tactics Articles
Imperium Space Marines (7th) • Blood Angels (7th) • Dark Angels (7th) • Deathwatch (7th) • Grey Knights (7th) • Space Wolves (7th) • Adeptus MechanicusImperial Guard (7th) • Sisters of Battle
Chaos Chaos Space Marines (7th) • Chaos Daemons (7th)
Eldar Eldar(7th) • Dark Eldar (7th) • Harlequins (7th)
Necrons Necrons (7th)
Orks Orks (7th)
Tau Tau (7th6th)
Tyranids Tyranids (7th) • Genestealer Cults (7th)