Much like their Loyalist brethren, Chaos Space Marines have a wide variety of playstyles and some fairly forgiving rules, and though there is with an emphasis on powerful Melee, they are able to operate at all ranges well.
Chaos Space Marines | Warhammer 40,000 Tactical Guide
- A large and diverse model range to cater to all manner of army builds
- A strong Melee focus with many units capable of matching other force’s dedicated close combat foes
- Potent shooting in certain units able to deal with lots of targets
- Lots of customization and options with their varying Legions
- Good force multipliers and synergies from their Characters and rules
- Marine statlines are pretty mediocre in the current game, even with the benefits of Armour of Contempt, with armies capable of outgunning or outfighting you if built correctly
- Customisation on Character or unit wargear is often middling or lacking, outside of a select few units or Stratagems.
- Outside of dedicated specialists, their Shooting is fairly poor on your normal units
- Whilst they have good Melee, much of it is low Damage, meaning weight of attacks needs to take the day
- All their Legion options, whilst at least in the same book, means you’ll have a ton of things to look up and cross reference both before and during a game.
Here are some key points to remember when reading this Primer, mainly to save it being typed out every time. Don’t forget that this presumes you have the Codex, so things like Bolt/Plasma/Flame/Melta weapons, which are explained in there, won’t be repeated here.
Any of the rules discussed below apply only to TRAITORIS ASTARTES models with the same <LEGION> Keyword, so no overlapping or crossing of Auras (no BLACK LEGION Auras or powers affecting RED CORSAIRS units, or a CHAOS KNIGHT, for example). It’s also worth pointing out that whilst everything has TRAITORIS ASTARTES as a Faction Keyword, your CULTIST units do not have the HERETIC ASTARTES Keyword, so they don’t interact with certain rules. For the sake of ease, in this guide ASTARTES will be shorthand for HERETIC ASTARTES, ie actual Marine units, not Cultists.
Some common shorthand terms found throughout-
- X++ means an invulnerable save
- X+++, or ‘shrug’, ‘Feel No Pain’ or ‘Ignore Damage roll’ depending on how you’re feeling, means it is a dice roll to ignore each point of damage, which is taken after any failed saves.
- Exploding 6s, or ‘6s explode’ essentially translates to ‘An unmodified 6 to Hit does an additional Hit’, so read that as ‘Does 2 Hits instead of 1’. Per the Core Rules, anything that might also happen on a 6 to hit (such as auto-wounding) does not apply to the additional hit, only the original.
- ‘First round of combat’ means any rules that trigger when you Charge, are Charged, or Heroically Intervene.
- ‘Deep Strike’ essentially means the unit can be placed into Reinforcements and arrive more than 9” away from enemy units.
- Any Damage Reduction abilities are always to a minimum of 1.
If your Detachment is Battle-Forged (which will be most armies), you get the following rules-
Your TROOPS get Objective Secured. Pretty standard, and though you only have a few choices, they’re either robust or numerous enough to make this useful.
You can have a max of one CHAOS LORD, one DAEMON PRINCE, and one DARK COMMUNE, per Detachment. Pretty standard by now, it’s a fluffy limiter without causing too much hassle to your army builds.
You can’t have more CULTIST units than ASTARTES CORE units. In addition, you can’t make a CULTIST the WARLORD if you have an ASTARTES CHARACTER. Neither of these are particularly list ruining, and it’s easy to circumnavigate.
Your usual customisable army rules, alongside a number of other rules, explained further below.
Effectively lets you include a Cult Troop unit (ie BERZERKERS, RUBRIC MARINES and PLAGUE MARINES) into a Chaos Marine Detachment as an Elites slot, and they gain Let The Galaxy Burn as well, but they never gain a Legion Trait and you must pay the points to give them their associated MARK OF CHAOS.
Actually not that bad, letting you get access to some slightly more specialised Infantry units in the army. Though they generally aren’t as strong as they would be in their own army, options are never a bad thing.
In addition, NOISE MARINES can be included in any Chaos Marines army, but never get a Legion Trait unless it’s an Emperor’s Children Detachment, and they become Troops for them as well. The same likewise applies for KHORNE BERZERKERS.
Whilst this is explained properly later, a lot of abilities key off or manipulate this, so it’s prudent to explain now. Basically Chaos Combat Doctrines that grants exploding 6s to Hit for weapon Types in a certain stage.
- Wanton Destruction applies in Round 1, affecting your Heavy, Rapid Fire and Grenade weapons.
- In Round 2 you must move to Wanton Massacre, benefitting your Rapid Fire, Assault and Pistols weapons. You can choose to stay in this in Round 3, if you want
- Alternatively, you can activate Wanton Slaughter, and you have to be in this in Rounds 4 and 5, giving the bonus to your Assault, Pistol and Melee weapons.
It’s also worth pointing out that whilst there are some ways to have multiple stages active at once, they don’t stack (ie if you’re in Destruction and Massacre, you don’t get double exploding 6s for Rapid Fire weapons).
Every LEGION unit gains a Legion Trait, provided the whole army is from the same LEGION (excluding AGENTS OF CHAOS), granting them unique abilities. They also unlock a unique Secondary Objective, as well as extra Warlord Traits, Relics and Stratagems that can be used alongside your standard ones.
CULTISTS never get the Legion Traits, but like AGENTS they do not take them away.
All the Warlord Traits can be taken by CULTISTS, but the Relics must explicitly say that they can take them.
Ignore any modifiers to Combat Attrition, +1 to Hit if you’re Shooting the closest eligible target (when chosen to Shoot), and +1 to Hit if you Charged. A mixed bag, with a fairly niche Morale boost, and a potent accuracy boost that favours aggression. You’ll need to constantly be on the move and on the attack to make the most of this.
Despoil Dominions (Shadow Operations)
One INFANTRY or BIKER unit can perform this Action at the end of your Movement Phase of an Objective that is not Despoiled, and has no enemy units within range. The Action completes at the start of your next Command Phase, or the end of the battle, whichever happens first, and the Objective is Despoiled. You score 1VP if the Objective was wholly within your own Deployment Zone, and 4VP if elsewhere. In addition, any enemy units that start to perform an Action whilst in range of a Despoiled Objective, immediately fails the Action on a 4+. Overall a mixed bag, able to score well if your units are left alone, or low if at all should your opponent move to counter you. The Action denial is a cute addition, but unreliable. Overall this likely won’t score high due to the length of the Action, but the high potential can make it worth considering to force your opponent to account for it in game.
- Veteran Raider- One CORE or CHARACTER within 6” in your Command Phase can Fall Back and Shoot/Charge this turn. A powerful ability to help ensure a key unit is always active and capable of choosing their own targets or pressing the foe.
- Indomitable- Halve all Damage to the WARLORD, rounding up. A great defensive benefit against heavy hitting units, though it does nothing to help against massed attacks or Mortal Wounds, so watch out for those.
- Merciless Overseer- In your Command Phase, one unit within 6” counts as being in Wanton Massacre. A good way to ensure an optimal unit can benefit from exploding 6s when you want them, and can be done on any unit, even VEHICLES, should that come up. The first (yes) of Abaddon’s traits, cos that’s how he rolls.
- Soul-eater- Reroll Wound rolls in Melee, and if at least one enemy model is killed in Melee, the WARLORD heals D3 Wounds. A nice blend of abilities, the Rerolls alone are great, with the heal being a nifty bonus on top to keep a combat blender trucking.
- Trusted War Leader- Refunds a CP on a 5+ for each CP you spend. Always good, and with some powerful Stratagems in the book, being able to fuel more of them is a great benefit.
- Paragon of Hatred- Reroll Charges, and +1 Attack, or +D3 if engaged with IMPERIUM units. Both are solid boosts to both help you get to Melee and do the business when there. Abaddon also gets this, just in case he wasn’t terrifying enough in a fight.
- Bringers of Despair- At the start of the opponent’s Fight Phase, a unit of TERMINATORS becomes eligible to Fight, gets Fight First, and +1 Attack. A great spread of buffs to help out a unit of Terminators in combat, as well as acting as a pseudo Intervention, as you become eligible to Fight and therefore can Pile In to combat, whilst also explicitly not being an Intervention for the purposes of rules that prevent those. Whilst costly, and only usable in the opponent’s turn, the benefits and options it provides are solid.
- Tip of the Spear- At the start of your Charge Phase, provided no units are in Engagement Range, one CORE, DAEMONKIN or CHARACTER gets reroll Charges and +1 AP if attacking a unit that is in range of an Objective or in their own Deployment Zone. Whilst it does cost 2CP, it’s good for ensuring a charge with a key unit, and being more efficient when you get there.
- Hatred Unbound- Another 2CP Stratagem, this one lets you put a CORE unit that is within 18” of your WARLORD in your Command Phase into all 3 stages of Let The Galaxy Burn, until your next Command Phase. Can be handy for units that have mixed wargear and looking to leverage all of them, or to effectively put a unit into a more beneficial stage for their loadout, but it’s quite costly and being CORE only makes it somewhat limited.
- Lord of the Ezekarion- Gives your WARLORD an extra Black Legion Warlord Trait for 1CP. Their Warlord Traits are all generally pretty good, so this can let you build a nasty combat Lord, or an ideal commander for backline support. Doesn’t work on DAEMONS however, so that does exclude some of your beefiest melee Characters.
- Confluence of Traitors- For 1CP you can pick an ASTARTES unit in your Command Phase and replace their Black Crusaders Legion Trait with any other Legion or Renegade Trait until your next Command Phase. The flexibility this affords is great, especially for units that might not benefit from the Black Crusaders all that much in a given turn, such as Red Corsairs to reach out and push foes off Objectives, or Falling Back and Charging with Alpha Legion. Not CORE locked so you’ve plenty of scope, but being once per game means you have to make it count when used.
- Unrelenting Onslaught- A unit gets to ignore all Mv, Advance and Charge Modifiers for the turn, as well as Fall Back and Shoot/Charge as well. Yet another 2 CP Stratagem, but the flexibility is great to have.
- Vengeful Skies- Dial up the Vengeful Spirit with a CHARACTER to laser beam a point on the battlefield. Once in a game you can place a marker anywhere in your Command Phase, then another one within 12” of it in your next Command Phase. Draw a line between them, and then every unit the line passes over takes D3 Mortal Wounds on a 3+, with a +1 to the roll if they have 11+ Wound, and -1 if they’re a CHARACTER. It’s not bad, and pretty easy to “snipe” a unit you really want to hit, but at 3CP it’s very expensive for what it realistically does.
- Heralds of Doom- Pick a LEGIONAIRES unit in your Command Phase, giving them 6” Aura that turns off enemy ObSec, until your next Command Phase. This is a powerful tool for 2CP, able to flip an Objective back to your control in time to score it (remember Primary happens at the end of the Command Phase), or to just shut down a bunch of Primary for your opponent with some positioning.
Relics marked with a * can be taken by a Champion via the Trophies of the Long War Stratagem.
- Ghorsivex’s Teeth- A buffed up Chainsword with AP-3 and D2, and +3A. A good all round melee Relic, though the lack of Strength buffs makes it less than stellar against harder targets.
- Loyalty’s Reward*- Makes a Bolt Weapon a Relic, doing 1 Mortal Wound when it successfully Wounds the target, or 1 Mortal Wounds when it hits if the enemy is IMPERIUM. Obviously better on a gun with more shots like a Combi-bolter, it’s great against loyalist armies, and lacklustre against others (whilst Mortals are nice, you still need to wound with your Str 4…)
- Veilbreaker Plate- A TERMINATOR reduces AP against you by 1, and can redeploy themselves and a CORE unit within 3” of them in your Movement Phase, provided the bearer didn’t arrive as Reinforcements this turn, setting them back up wholly within 6” of each other. Whilst the AP reduction is currently useless with Armour of Contempt, the redeploy is nice indeed, giving you flexibility to get out of combat, or put pressure on another part of the battlefield.
- Cloak of Conquest- Grants CORE and CHARACTER units within 6” Objective Secured. Great on things like Terminators, and useful even on the lone Character themselves to potentially help them take control of, or at least deny control of, an Objective.
- Sightless Helm- Ignore any WS/BS and Hit modifiers, increase your AP on all Attacks by 1, and Ignores Cover. This is a great spread of reliability buffs, useful for both Ranged and Melee, making this ideal on a heavy hitter like a Lord Discordant. Can be given to a CULTIST, but probably a waste.
- Trophies of Slaughter*- +3” to Auras (not Psychic Powers), to a max of 9”, and comes with a 9” Aura that imposes -1 Combat Attrition to enemies. It’s fine, though not exactly exciting compared to other Relics.
- Wrath of the Abyss- A Relic Thunder Hammer that gets +1AP and removes the -1 to Hit penalty. A decent upgrade…if the Sightless Helm above didn’t exist which does the exact same thing with even more buffs. So yeah.
Reroll Hits with Melee in the first round of combat, and a 5+++ vs Mortal Wounds. A decent pair of abilities, making your Melee units much more reliable, and letting your less combat inclined units at least have a better chance of punching out of combat. The shrugs are of course a bit more niche, but useful when they come up, combining with Armour of Contempt to give you at least a chance of saving against all manner of attacks.
Exalt the Dark Gods (Shadow Operations)
One INFANTRY unit can start this Action at the end of your Movement Phase if wholly within 6” of the centre of the battlefield. The Action completes at the end of your turn if the unit is an ICON, DARK APOSTLE or MASTER OF POSSESSION, or at the start of your next Command Phase otherwise, and in either case there can be no enemy units wholly within 6” of the centre. When the action is completed, you gain 1 on your Exalt Tally, and at the end of the game you score 3 VP for 1 Tally, 5 VP for 2, 9 VP for 3, or the full 15 VP if you have 4 on your Tally. A variant on Investigate Signals with a somewhat easier starting point, though situationally more difficult completion, and a generally better spread of VP. A PSYKER can still cast Powers without this Action failing, though of course any Auras will still be turned off whilst it’s ongoing. If you can dominate the centre, this can rack up some easy points, but you’ll almost need to build for it to get the units capable of completing it in a turn to do it, otherwise you could score quite low.
- The Voice of Lorgar- +3” to Auras (except Psychic Powers), and +3” to any Command Phase abilities. A decent boost if you’re looking to spread out your buffs.
- Exalted Possession- Grants the DAEMON and DAEMONKIN Keywords, a 4++ vs Ranged Attacks, +1 Str, Wounds and Attacks, and +2” Mv. This is a huge swathe of buffs, and whilst there are a few things that interact with the Keywords negatively (such as Grey Knights), the benefits and other interactions unlocked are well worth it, especially as there are a number of abilities and Stratagems that normally wouldn’t affect CHARACTERS but do affect those new Keywords, so this opens a ton of options.
- Daemonic Whispers- Whenever this WARLORD succeeds at a Prayer, Action or Psychic Action, you roll a D6, and gain 1CP if it is higher than the current Battle Round. It’s nice enough, though the Action component is perhaps less useful, given it will generally take the Character out of the battle for a turn.
- Master of the Union- A DAEMONKIN unit within 6” in your Command Phase gets +1 Str and AP in Melee, until your next Command Phase. Obviously only useful with those models, but makes a unit of Possessed or Warp Talons extremely scary.
- Diabolist- Wounds against the WARLORD can’t be rerolled, and you get a 5+++ against all damage. A good defensive boost if you’re looking to make a slightly tougher Character.
- Hate-fuelled Demagogue- A unit within 6” in your Command Phase is put into the Wanton Slaughter stage until your next turn, and if they’re a CULTIST unit they can actually use Let The Galaxy Burn, which is neat. A nice way of activating it early for a heavy melee unit.
- Cursed Despoilers- A CORE or DAEMONKIN unit in Wanton Massacre that Shoots at an enemy within 12” that is in range of an Objective, gets exploding hits on 4+ rather than 6s. A powerful buff, but at 2CP and with lots of hoops to jump through, this is fairly limited in application, at least in terms of multiple uses. When the stars align however, it can be devastating.
- Fanatic Zealotry- 1CP lets a unit of CULTISTS within 12” of a CHARACTER get reroll Charges and reroll Melee Hits, lasting from Command Phase to Command Phase. It’s fine, but it’s just Cultists.
- Revered Hosts- A DAEMON unit gets Reroll Wounds in Melee for 2CP. Whilst costly, these units are often already powerful in combat, so this really helps ensure whatever they’re fighting becomes a fine red mist. Especially potent in the first round of combat thanks to your reroll Hits as well.
- Vengeance for Monarchia- An ASTARTES unit gets reroll Hits and Wounds against Ultramarines (or a Successor) in Melee. One of those niche and usually utterly pointless Stratagems that is fantastic when it comes up, especially for only 1CP.
- Dark Pact- An INFANTRY CHARACTER can stand back up at the end of a Phase they’re destroyed in on a 4+, with D3 Wounds. As is always the case with these revive abilities, this happens at the end of phase and you must be as close as possible to your original position, not in Engagement, and can only be used once per Character. Good at only 1CP, though be wary as they may just die again in the following Phase should they die in Psychic or Shooting.
- Malevolent Covenant- When a PSYKER fails a Psychic Test, you can spend 1CP to suffer a Mortal Wound, or 2CP to take no wounds, but in either case the Power counts as being cast (with no doubles) at its minimum value, and also importantly cannot be denied. A good backup tool for a vital power, especially since you can shrug the Wound, and in some cases you’ll almost want to fail so you can make it undeniable.
- Apostle of the Dark Council- A pregame upgrade, giving a PRIEST +1 Ld and they can reroll their Prayers. A good reliability buff for only 1CP.
- Hexagrammatic Ward- When an attack is allocated to a model, you can change the Damage to 0 for 1 CP. Can only be done twice per game. Note this is when allocated, so before Saves, making it something to use when you just cannot afford to risk a failure, rather than as a backup for when a lucky hit does go through.
Relics marked with a * can be taken by a Champion via the Trophies of the Long War Stratagem.
- Eightfold-cursed Crozius- Turns an Accursed Crozius or Power Maul into +2 -2 Dmg3, and if the bearer is a PRIEST, they autowound any non-VEHICLE/MONSTER they hit. A nice melee boost, but of course better in the hands of an Apostle.
- Crown of the Blasphemer- Can be given to CULTISTS, and grants a 4++ (to all the models as well), and once per game can turn that into a 3++ before making a Save, lasting until the end of the Phase. A good defensive buff to a unit that is looking to get in the thick of it, or which just needs an extra layer of protection in a pinch.
- Malefic Tome- A PSYKER knows one more Power, and gets +1 to Cast. Great for both options and reliability.
- Epistle of Lorgar- A PRIEST knows an extra Prayer, and can use an extra Prayer each turn. The Prayers are generally quite potent, so having greater access and use of them is no bad thing.
- Ashen Axe*- An Axe type weapon (Power, Exalted, Dismemberment or Daemonic), or an Accursed Weapon, becomes Str+2 AP-3 D2, and if any models are destroyed by it in a Fight Phase, the target unit cannot Advance or Fall Back, and has Fight Last, until the end of the game, if you can roll equal or higher than their Ld on 2D6. The stat upgrades are pretty standard, but the debuff is particularly strong, albeit somewhat unreliable.
- The Armour Diabolus*- Grants a 2+ Sv, and if the bearer loses any Wounds, once the attacker has finished their attacks, roll a D6 for each Wound lost, inflicting a Mortal Wound on the attacker for each 4+. If they’re destroyed instead, the attacker takes D3 Mortal Wounds on a 4+ instead. A mixed bag, with a decent defensive buff and a situational but occasionally useful bit of splashback damage.
- Baleful Icon- Enemy units cannot reroll Hits, Wounds or Damage against any INFANTRY units within 6” of the bearer. This is a phenomenal Relic, shutting down all manner of offensive buffs the foe might have, and especially when combined with Voice of Lorgar to extend the range further across your battleline. Whilst Infantry only, it isn’t CORE locked, so this will affect all your footsloggers regardless of type. Almost an auto include.
Everyone gets a 9” Aura of -2 Ld and -1 Combat Attrition to enemy units, and you also get +1 to Wound against any enemy units that are Ld 5 or below, or under Half-strength when selected as the target. This is a good spread of morale debuffing alongside a strong offensive boost for combat, helping you finish off weakened units. The Ld break point is a bit ambiguous, as most units have a champion with a higher Ld than the rest of the squad, however it just says when you target a unit with Ld 5 or less, not a unit where the highest Ld is 5 or less, so it can key off any model in the unit, not just the highest. This means a Marine with Ld 7 will be affected, even if the Sergeant is Ld 8, for example. Check with TOs/Gaming groups, but that seems to be the intent (otherwise it’s pretty pants).
Sow the Seed, Reap the Fear (No Mercy, No Respite)
Score 1 VP each time an enemy unit-
- Fails a Morale Test
- Falls Back
- Fails an Action
- Is destroyed by a Melee Attack, and you roll equal to or over their Ld on 2D6. Note this is including any modifiers they would have had at time of the last model being removed, ie your own -2 Ld and other potential debuffs
A mixed bag, as Morale Tests might not matter to some armies, Falling Back is something other armies don’t want to do, and some won’t have Actions, or can’t fail them easily. However, these things are generally likely to come up at some point in a game, especially combined with your Ld debuffs, and some armies might have to grant the VP to Fall Back and do something, letting you get some recompense. Killing a unit doing an Action does cause the Action to Fail, so that can potentially net your 2 VP there if you also roll well on the 2D6, though Psychic Actions aren’t affected by this Secondary. Against some armies this can score quite well, and there’s no cap on VP per turn or Round so it can rack up quite highly quite quickly, but against others it’s pretty terrible, so judge accordingly.
- Night Haunter’s Curse- Once a turn a single Advance, Hit, Wound or Save into a 6, after rolling. A nice utility bonus, especially as you’re able to use it a fair bit and get the guarantee 6, and after rolling the die as well. It may necessitate slow rolling, especially if you’re looking at using it for Saves.
- One Piece at a Time- -1 Combat Attrition to any units that lost models to this WARLORD’S Melee Attacks, and they can Consolidate in any direction, even if they were in base to base, so long as they finish within 3” of an enemy unit. A decent stacking debuff with your existing minus, especially if you can’t guarantee the kill. The consolidation allows you to dance around melee, and even disengage, so long as you remain close.
- Murderous Reputation- Enemys in a 6” Aura lose Objective Secured. A potent ability to help take control or deny an Objective to your favour.
- Killing Fury- +D3 Attacks in the first round of combat, and they always count as being in Wanton Slaughter when making Melee Attacks. A great all round combat booster, be it to land more hits on something big, or to help chew through hordes.
- One with the Shadows- -1 to be Hit, and Hits cannot be rerolled against you. A handy defensive buff to keep them alive, especially on an already tough target like a Prince or Lord Discordant.
- Dirty Fighter- One enemy unit within 3” of the WARLORD at the start of the Fight Phase gets Fight Last. A powerful disruption tool, ideal for countering charging units or those with Fight First when on the attack.
- In Midnight Clad- A non-CULTIST INFANTRY unit gets -1 to be Hit from Shooting for the phase. Great at only 1CP to keep a key unit alive, or at least capable of absorbing more firepower.
- Sound the Black Hunt- A CORE, DAEMONKIN or CHARACTER gets reroll 1s to Hit when Shooting or Fighting against a unit that was below Starting Strength when targeted, or has Ld 6 or below. If they’re below Half Strength, or have Ld 5 or less, you get full rerolls to Hit instead. A great buff for only 1CP, especially for units that can’t normally get Rerolls from a Lord, and the criteria isn’t the hardest to meet.
- Flay Them Alive- If an ASTARTES model destroys the enemy WARLORD with a Melee Attack, the enemy army has -1 to Combat Attrition for the rest of the battle. Cheap for 1CP, and can stack up to nasty levels with your Legion Trait, though it might not be doable or necessary in every game.
- Underhand Scheming- 1CP in your Charge Phase lets a unit Charge even if they Fell Back this turn. Great for the low cost, and as you determine at the start of your Charge Phase you have some slight advantage in choosing if to do it or not, say if a unit you would want to charge is killed by something else, saving the CP.
- From the Night- An INFANTRY or BIKE unit that is in Reinforcements or Strategic Reserves can be set as if the Battle Round was 1 earlier. This will allow easier flanking from Reserves, but more importantly, Turn 1 Deep Strikes. Whilst it does cost 2CP for a DAEMONKIN unit, which are generally the more powerful ones you’ll want to protect, it’s well worth the cost for the protection it offers, and is only 1CP if you’re not looking at using them. It is explicitly used in the Movement Phase and thus only once per turn, so don’t think you go all in on it with multiple units.
- Screaming Skies- A JUMP PACK unit at the start of your Movement Phase is removed from the battlefield, and Deep Strikes back down in your next turn. A good utility Stratagem for 1CP, letting you get into a better position, threaten units you couldn’t have otherwise reached, or make Objective grabs.
- We Have Come For You- At the start of your opponent’s Movement Phase, a CORE, DAEMONKIN or CHARACTER prevents all units in Engagement Range from Falling Back, unless they’re a VEHICLE, TITANIC or AIRCRAFT. Costly at 2CP but automatically preventing most things from moving away from you is a powerful disruption tool that can clog up your opponent’s battlelines, prevent counterattacks and limit making plays for the Mission.
- Vox Scream- At the end of your Movement Phase, one enemy within 12” of one of your units loses all their Aura abilities until the start of your next Movement Phase. Does cost 2CP, and can only be used once per game, but this can be very powerful, turning off all manner of rerolls, ObSec bonuses or other debuffs. Whilst it does only affect one enemy, and so won’t help if there’s lots of Auras around, but careful use can be game changing, so make it count.
Relics marked with a * can be taken by a Champion via the Trophies of the Long War Stratagem.
- Claw of the Stygian Count*- A Lighting Claw, Malefic Talon or Accursed Weapon is upgraded to grant Str+2 AP-3 D2 and +2 Attacks, and in addition rules to ignore wounds can’t be used against it. A nasty upgrade to make an infantry or light character blender.
- Vox Daemonicus- An INFANTRY (including CULTISTS) prevents Reinforcements from arriving within 12” of them, and also gets a 12” Aura that prevents Actions or Psychic Actions from being started if you roll over the unit’s Ld on 2D6. A decent spread of disruption abilities that are nice to have, though they might not come up all the time.
- Talons of the Night Terror*- A FLY model only (so a Winged Prince or unit Champion only…grumble grumble…) does D3 Mortal Wounds on any one unit it Normally Moves or Advances over, on a 2+ (or 3+ vs CHARACTERS). In addition, they do D3 Mortal Wounds on a 2+ to one enemy in Engagement Range after finishing a Charge Move. Limited in who can use it, but quite powerful, and makes for a nasty surprise in a small unit of Raptors or Warp Talons. A Prince might not need this, but can be nice if no other Relics take your fancy.
- Scourging Chains- +1 AP to all your Melee Attacks, and -1 Attack to all enemy units in Engagement Range. A good boost to your combat, letting you hit harder and mitigate potential return damage.
- Misery of the Meek- Once per game, you can drink this at the start of any Phase, healing 3 Wounds, and getting +D3 Attacks and +3” to your Auras, to a max of 9”, lasting until the end of the turn. A good spread of buffs, though the one time use makes it tricky to time, lest you waste part of the benefits.
- Stormbolt Plate- An INFANTRY model always gets Light and Heavy Cover, and cannot be targeted with Shooting attacks unless they are within 12”, or the closest eligible target. Good for a bit of extra survivability if you’re expecting a CHARACTER to be by themselves.
- Flayer- A Power Sword, Force Sword or Accursed Weapon becomes +2 -3 D2, and each model destroyed by it counts a 2 for Morale Tests. A decent enough melee upgrade, with the extra Morale effect all but ensuring a unit will fail with your existing debuffs.
Iron Within, Iron Without
Ignore Cover, and reduces AP-1 and -2 Attacks by 1 against you. Yes, this doesn’t work with Armour of Contempt, so let’s presume it gets FAQ’d to match other armies that had this, and so it turns off reroll Wounds against you. If that’s the case, this is a great combination of offensive and defensive buffs, letting your attacks bypass Dense and Light Cover, whilst making a common force multiplier against you null and void.
Masters of Demolition (Shadow Operations)
After rolling for the first turn, but before the first turn begins, your opponent sets up 3 Demolition Objectives anywhere on the battlefield, on the ground floor of battlefield, not in terrain with Unstable Position, more than 6” away from the battlefield edge, and more than 9” from each other. Only one of them can be set up within 6” of your opponents Deployment Zone. These Demolition Objectives don’t count as Objectives for any other rules except this Secondary. One non-CHARACTER INFANTRY unit can perform an Action at the start of your Movement Phase if within range of a Demolition Objective, and no enemy units are within range. It completes at the end of the turn, and you score 4VP, or a massive 7VP if it was within 6” of the enemy’s Deployment Zone. An interesting one, as it can cause your opponent to have to also move to deny these Objectives in addition to performing their own plays. Given the Deployment Zone restriction, this means at least 2 of them will be in No Man’s Land, so you have opportunity to get to them, and should your opponent try to keep one safe in their own territory, it can backfire if you manage to get to it. On the flipside, this is easy to deny points, as not getting to one near your opponent’s Deployment denies you half the points, them being all in the midboard automatically costs you 3VP, and whilst it completes in a single turn, the set up to start it happening at the start of the turn means your foe has a turn to either kill the unit, or just move a unit into combat or in range of the Objective to deny it. They can also be placed right next to a normal Primary, making them easy to deny if your opponent is going to get the main Objectives already. Overall quite tricky to score well on, though it can make your opponent need to come to you to deny the midboard, which against some armies they might not be inclined to do.
- Siege Lord- One CORE or VEHICLE unit within 6” in your Command Phase gets +1 Dmg with any Str7+ Attacks against enemy VEHICLES or BUILDINGS until your next turn. Whilst the output boost is potent indeed against enemy tanks, it’s fairly limited in application.
- Daemonsmith- In your Command Phase, a DAEMON ENGINE, CULT OF DESTRUCTION or MACHINE SPIRIT unit within 6” gets +1 to Hit until next turn. A powerful boost for a number of units, especially since these are units that won’t be usually getting access to many buffs.
- Unyielding Mettle- +1T and a 5+++, both great defensive boosts to help keep a frontline fighter in the thick of it for longer.
- Bastion- A CORE unit within 6” in your Command Phase gets to Hold Steady or Set to Defend, and more importantly Objective Secured, counting as +1 model each if they already have it. A good way to ensure you hold or take a vital Primary, with the charge defence a nice bonus on top.
- Architect of Destruction- Puts a CORE or VEHICLE unit within 6” in your Command Phase into Wanton Destruction until your next turn. A great way to leverage the extra hit potential for your heavy hitters.
- Implacable Taskmaster- Grants a 6” Aura that makes all CORE units count as Remaining Stationary for Shooting, so long as they only made a Normal Move. Pretty limited, this only really helps out for Malicious Volleys or the occasional Heavy Weapon on a non-HAVOC unit.
- Bitter Enmity- An ASTARTES unit that Fights an IMPERIAL FIST (or Successor), rerolls all Hits and Wounds for 1CP. It’s another niche but stupidly powerful fluff Stratagem, yaayyyyy…
- Tank Destroyers- An enemy VEHICLE is marked, and all your ASTARTES units autowound on 6s to Hit them for a Phase. Good for 1CP regardless of weapons, and being usable at both Melee and Ranged offers nice utility, even if only against enemy tanks.
- Dour Duty- A CORE INFANTRY or DAEMONKIN unit reduces all Damage by 1 for a phase when targeted, costing 2CP if they have a Power Level of 10+, or 1CP otherwise. This is a fantastic defensive buff on a wide range of units, and whilst expensive on larger and more powerful units, the survivability it grants against a huge amount of weaponry is well worth the cost.
- Cold-hearted Malignity- At the start of any phase, one CORE unit that is below Half-strength now autopasses Morale and gets +1 to Hit for the rest of the game. A good investment for 1CP on a unit that can still put out some hurt, letting them make up for any dead comrades, and the autopass is good to ensure they must be killed to a man to stop them from holding Objectives or playing for Secondaries.
- Methodical Annihilation- For 1CP, when a unit Shoots you can reroll 1 Damage Roll, counts enemy units as twice their number for the purposes of Blast weapons, and if they’re a VEHICLE can fire Blast weapons into Engagement Range, but take 1 Mortal Wound for each 1 to Hit. A mixed bag of abilities, often somewhat contradictory as many Blast weapons have flat damage, or it will be used on a unit that doesn’t benefit from the Vehicle bit. It’s cheap, and useful as a sort of secondary CP reroll for Damage, but fairly niche in widespread application.
- Unholy Vigour- A MACHINE SPIRIT or DAEMON ENGINE has -1 to Wound when targeted, lasting for the rest of the Phase. At 2CP, or a mighty 3CP if TITANIC, this is a costly but powerful defensive boon to these units, letting them shrug off lighter firepower and even take hits from stronger weaponry a lot easier.
- Cannon Fodder- At the start of your opponent’s Shooting Phase, one INFANTRY unit that is wholly within 6” of a CULTISTS unit cannot be targeted by attacks whilst that CULTIST unit is a closer eligible target. Costly at 2CP, requires some careful placement, and Cultists aren’t exactly the toughest things around, but this can give some vital breathing room to a key unit, negating some firepower, or at least forcing your opponent to divert attacks.
- Spiteful Endurance- An ASTARTES unit that loses a Mortal Wound gets a 5+++ against it, and any other Mortal Wounds, for the rest of that Phase. Cheap at 1CP, and useful when expecting a heavy barrage of psychic powers, or to try and keep an important unit alive in the face of an errant Vehicle explosion.
Relics marked with a * can be taken by a Champion via the Trophies of the Long War Stratagem.
- Axe of the Forgemaster*- Upgrades an Axe type weapon (Power, Exalted, Dismemberment or Daemonic) to +3 -3 D2, and 6s to Wound do an additional Mortal Wound, or an additional 3 if the target is a VEHICLE. An overall solid boost in power to the base statline, with some nice extra utility from the Mortal Wounds
- Siegebreaker Mace- A Power Maul, Thunder Hammer, Crozius or Accursed Weapon becomes +2 -2 D2, but also gets to make 1 additional Smash attack, hitting at x2 -3 Dmg 3+D3. The consistent stats are good, though nothing spectacular, and the single big hit is nasty, but one attack isn’t always reliable. A solid upgrade for most, mainly a sidegrade for a Hammer.
- Fleshmetal Exoskeleton- An INFANTRY model gets -1 Dmg, they heal D3 Wounds on a 4+ after a unit finishes any Melee or Ranged attacks which wound, but don’t kill, the bearer. A solid base defensive ability with a potentially fantastic healing ability. Some games it won’t come up at all or do anything, others it can make you all but immortal to anything outside of one hit kills.
- Cranium Malevolus- At the start of your Shooting Phase, each enemy VEHICLE unit within 9” takes D3 Mortal Wounds on a 4+, or flat 3 Mortals on a 6. Pretty limited in terms of range and output, and explicitly states units not models, so no multiple rolls against squadrons, reducing its potential further. Can be given to a CULTIST, but not even they probably want to carry this around.
- Insidium- Turns a non-DAEMON INFANTRY model into a DAEMON and DAEMONKIN, and gives them +1S +1T and +1W. Opens up mostly favourable Keyword interactions as well as some nice stat boosts. A simple but effective upgrade.
- Spitespitter*- A Combi-bolter or the Bolter part of a Combi-weapon, gets +6” Range, and becomes Str 5 -3 D2. It’s a decent enough ranged boost, but nothing exciting.
- Techno-virus Mechatendrils- A WARPSMITH repairs flat 3 Wounds, and his Mechatendril attacks just do 1 Mortal Wound if they Hit, instead of normal damage. The heal is the main benefit here, as reliable healing on your tanks is great, though the potential for 4 Mortal Wounds when Fighting can act as a nice deterrent on top.
Masters of Duplicity
Units get -1 to Hit when targeted from over 12” away, or 18” if they have 10+ Wounds, and units can Fall Back and Charge or do Actions. Both are solid benefits, and expclitcly not Dense Cover so certain abilities won’t work to deny it, as well as being capable of stacking with Dense to counter any positive modifiers. Fall Back and Charge is great for picking optimal targets, or just to reactivate Fight First, whilst the Action component is a bit more niche, but can be useful to have in certain situations. And no, you can’t Fall Back, do an Action, then Charge without the Action failing, you still have to follow the normal rules.
Infiltrate and Subvert (Shadow Operations)
One non-CHARACTER INFANTRY unit can perform this Action whilst wholly within 6” of your opponent’s Deployment Zone at the end of your Movement Phase. It completes at the start of your next Command Phase, and scores 3 VP when completed, with an additional 1VP if the unit is wholly within your foe’s Deployment Zone itself. In addition, roll a D6 if the unit was in range of an Objective when the Action was completed. On a 3+ (or 5+ for CULTIStS), that Objective is subverted and the opponent can never control the Objective, nor perform Actions in range of it, for the rest of the game. It’s a reasonably low scoring Objective, given the time frame and positioning required, however the threat of just permanently denying an Objective to the foe is a dangerous prospect indeed, which can make them have to switch focus to your unit lest they risk the subversion. If built around with lots of small units that can get to your opponent’s lines quickly to force their hand, this can be quite good, though it will still likely be low scoring.
- I Am Alpharius- Randomly generate another WARLORD Trait from your normal tables (so either this or the main one), and if this model is destroyed another CHARACTER without a Warlord Trait becomes your WARLORD for all rules and mission purposes, and they immediately pick a Warlord Trait you don’t have elsewhere in your army, and not this one. A weird one as it explicitly mentions they have to be chosen as your actual WARLORD to benefit from it, so this does nothing if you choose this on a Character via the Stratagem, and having a randomly assigned Trait for your “first” WARLORD can occasionally result in you getting a next to useless ability for the character in question. It’s fun, and good for denying certain Secondaries, but generally the consistency of just picking a Trait is better.
- Clandestine- Hit rolls of 1-3 always miss this Character, and they get +1 to their Sv when getting the benefit of Cover. A good spread of defensive abilities to help out in both ranged and combat, and can be useful if you find yourself out of position and targetable.
- Headhunter- Their Rapid Fire and Pistol weapons ignore Look Out Sire, can reroll Wounds, and do 1 additional Mortal Wound on 6s to Wound. Limited given the nature of these weapons that are usable with this trait, though on a Combi-plasma it can be quite nasty to lighter Characters.
- Master of Diversion- In the Pre-battle Abilities Step (ie after rolling for who has the first turn), you can redeploy up to 3 units that are wholly within your Deployment Zone. They must be redeployed wholly within your Deployment Zone and 9” from enemy models, or put into Strategic Reserves at no extra CP cost. Redeploys are always great to have, whether to feint a drop from your foe, counter deploy a strong unit, or protect one of your own. With the flexibility to do so after knowing who has turn 1, you can move into an aggressive or defensive position with units as required, giving you lots of options as well as a safety net when deploying.
- Cult Leader- One CULTIST unit within 9” in your Command Phase gets +1 to Hit and +1 AP until your next Command Phase. It’s fine, but it’s for Cultists. Without them it’s worthless, and even with them it makes them only vaguely useful for offence.
- Covert Control- In your Command Phase, pick a CORE unit within 6”, and they can Shoot and perform an Action, and also get ObSec, counting as +1 Model if they already have it. The ObSec is the main benefit here, great on fast units like Raptors or Bikes, or on tough spearhead units like Terminators. The Action and Shoot ability is a bit more niche, but useful when it comes up to avoid loss of output, though it’s worth noting you’ll have to use the Coils of Deception Stratagem below in order to Fall Back, Shoot and do Actions.
- Conceal- A costly 2CP, or 3CP on a unit with Power Level 10+, but it makes an INFANTRY unit untargetable by enemy Shooting for the Phase, unless they’re the closest eligible target, or the attacker is within 12”. A potent defensive buff to keep an important backfield unit alive, or to give a unit an extra layer of ranged protection, potentially forcing your opponent to get too close, or change targets to get to them in the first place.
- Deadly Ambush- After all your opponent’s units have arrived from Reinforcements in a turn, pick one that arrived, and your entire army gets +1 to Hit against it until the end of your next turn. A powerful boost, even at 2CP, this can force your opponent’s key unit to act a bit more defensively lest they get scythed down, and gives you the option to bounce back against one of them if they inflict casualties against you.
- Coils of Deception- A CORE unit can Fall Back and Shoot for 1CP. Cheap but effective, great on a unit loaded up with special weapons like Terminators or Havocs, and combined with your innate Fall Back and Charge is useful for when you’d prefer to try and finish off a beleaguered unit then charge something else.
- Forward Operatives- One INFANTRY unit can make a Normal Move after determining who has first turn, but before the first turn begins, though they must end 9” away from enemy units. Can be used twice, at 1CP a time, and each unit can only be selected once per game. A good way to press an advantage, or pull back to safety, though the speed itself will be fairly middling, unless using it on a JUMP PACK unit. Still, useful to have access to to help ensure an early attack or extra protection.
- Renascent Infiltration- An INFANTRY unit that is more than 6” away from enemy models can go into Strategic Reserves instead of moving normally. Whilst they can’t arrive from Reinforcements in that same turn, the mobility options are handy to have to set up for later turns or get out of potentially dangerous situations.
- Sabotaged Armoury- When an enemy VEHICLE is destroyed, instead of rolling to see if it Explodes you can just make it Explode. Automatically. This pleases Chef. It is costly, at 1CP for a tank with less than 9W, 2CP if they have 10-19, and 3CP on one with 20+ Wounds, but the ability to guarantee a bunch of Mortal Wounds in your enemy’s lines, or threaten weakened units near a Vehicle later in the game, can prove crucial.
- Scrambled Coordinates- For 2CP, before your opponent sets up any Reinforcements, 2 CORE units are chosen to prevent any Reinforcements from arriving within 12” of them. This can deny a massive portion of the battlefield, utterly crippling an opponent’s gameplan, whether forcing them to deploy normally and out of position, or arrive far from the battlefield. Try and ensure as little overlap as possible for maximum disruption.
- Veiled Agenda- After choosing Secondaries you can spend a CP to hide one of them from your opponent until you score VP on it for the first time. Fun, and could have uses if there’s End Game Objectives you want to keep hidden (as remember you wont technically score them until the end game even if the prerequisites are done in game), though comparatively poor for a lot of Objectives that are Progressive, or any that require Actions as you have to declare the Action in question, which gives the game away.
Relics marked with a * can be taken by a Champion via the Trophies of the Long War Stratagem.
- Blade of the Hydra- A Chainsword gets +1Str and AP, as well as an extra 3+D3 Attacks instead of +1, or flat +6 Attacks if there are 6+ enemy models within 3”. It’s fine, and makes a good horde blender, but lacks the punch needed against harder targets.
- Drakescale Plate- An INFANTRY model gets a 2+ Sv and can never be wounded on 1-3s. A good set of survivability boosts, especially against AP1 and 2 Weapons, whilst also letting you shrug off a good portion of particularly strong attacks against you.
- Hydra’s Wail- Once a game you can make any enemy Stratagem cost +1CP for the rest of the game. Doesn’t work on the first use, nor on Command Rerolls, but against anything else this can be very potent, helping to mitigate crucial or common Stratagems like Transhuman Physiology or Counter-Offensive that are used throughout the game.
- Viper’s Spite*- A Relic Bolt Pistol that gets +6” Range, +5 Shots, and AP-3. It’s fine, but not too powerful or interesting.
- Hydra’s Teeth- A Bolt Weapon fires a single shot, but it automatically Hits at Str +2, AP+2 and +2Dmg (so usually this will be at Str 6 -2 D3), and it ignores Invulnerable Saves. It hits pretty hard, but the single shot limits it. Combines quite amusingly on a Headhunter Warlord, but still won’t be doing much outside of the lightest of Characters.
- Icon of the Hydra Cult*- CULTISTS within 6” of the bearer get Dense Cover if over 12” away. Helps them stick around a little longer to hold a backfield or screen something, but it’s not going to keep them around for much longer than normal, so don’t expect to see them last until the game’s end. Can be given to a CULTIST, which would be weird if it couldn’t.
- Mindveil- An INFANTRY model moves an extra +D6” whenever they make a Normal Move, Advance or Fall Back, and they can move through all models and terrain features horizontally when they do so, and also when they charge. Good to add a bit of extra speed and manoeuvrability to a model, though it’s not the most reliable of things.
Your units ignore any Hit, WS and BS modifiers, and any 6s to Wound get +1AP. A great reliability boost with an offensive buff that stacks up over the course of the game, these will generally always be useful, letting you rack up extra hits and damage through the game.
Adorn the Canvas Eclectic (No Mercy, No Respite)
At the end of each Battle Round, score 1 VP for each of the following-
- Control more Objectives than your opponent
- More enemy units were destroyed by Ranged attacks than your units
- More enemy units were destroyed by Melee attacks than your units
- More enemy CHARACTERS were destroyed by attacks from your CHARACTERS, than yours were by theirs
- If all four of the above apply
Basically, be better and do more than your opponent at the end of each Battle Round. Whilst it’s a fairly restricted set of criteria, it’s stuff you likely wanted to do anyways. The main issue becomes the match up. Against Knights, you’re probably not doing much on this. Tau will likely deny you the Shooting, but fail miserably on the Melee. Some armies will outplay you on the Objectives. It’s all told not a very high scoring Objective, as any game where you can do well on it, Grind Them Down is probably easier, though this can have some semblance of advantage in that the denial aspect of it requires a much wider spread of work to do.
- Stimulated by Pain- Each time you lose a Wound, you get +1 Attack, to a max of +3, though if ever you heal a Wound you lose an Attack. In addition, this model can Fight on death if in Engagement Range, provided they haven’t already fought. A nasty “surprise” on a melee character, but relying on something being wounded or dying isn’t really a good thing.
- Intoxicating Musk- Gives a 3” Aura that makes enemies have -1 to Hit with Melee attacks. A good debuffer to help the Character and surrounding units, though small range and being Melee only means it can only help out when at the forefront of the fight.
- Unbound Arrogance- You and your foe secretly choose a number between 1-3 before this WARLORD fights, and if they differ you get that many attacks. Can be great, can be rubbish, generally not worth relying on.
- Faultless Duellist- Reroll Hits in Melee, and enemy models in Engagement Range are -1 Attack. This is a fantastic combat buff, granting both reliability and defence, and whilst it only affects models in Engagement Range (so won’t do anything for those attacking in “ranks”), it can make all the difference. Lucius has this, because in case you couldn’t tell, it’s literally his entire schtick.
- Glutton for Punishment- A 5+++ vs Mortal Wounds, and provided they aren’t a VEHICLE they get -1 Dmg. Both are great defensive boosts against hard hitting attacks, though the Lord Discordant missing out on the -1 Dmg makes his daemonspider very sad.
- Loathsome Grace- +2” Mv, and reroll Advance and Charges. A nice spread of movement boosts to help you get around and into combat, they’re simple but reliable.
- Cruel Bladesmen- 2CP makes an ASTARTES unit +1AP in Melee. It’s quite costly, but stacks with your Legion Trait, and makes you much more likely to tear through a foe with your heavy hitters.
- Honour the Prince- A CORE or DAEMONKIN unit auto advances 6” if used in the Movement Phase, or can charge 6+D6” if used in the Charge phase. Good to make Objective grabs or establish board control, and helps flatten the curve of a charge roll, useful for both normal charges and those from Reserves. Cheap at 1CP for the reliability it offers.
- Excess of Violence- Pick an INFANTRY unit in your Command Phase, and they move into Wanton Slaughter until you next turn. Cheap at 1CP, especially for a unit that either doesn’t need nor care about Destruction or Massacre, and is due to hit combat.
- Incessant Disdain- 1 CP lets a CORE or DAEMONKIN unit Heroically Intervene, or a CHARACTER Intervene 6”. Useful and cheap, whether it’s to support another unit, help deny an Objective a bit better, or spring a trap on an opponent.
- Death Ecstasy- Models in an INFANTRY unit that are destroyed by Melee attacks can Fight on death, if they haven’t already fought. A good pseudo-interrupt to help punish an attack on you, it’s somewhat costly at 2CP, but it’s relative to what uses it. On a unit of Havocs, meh. On a unit of Possessed, ouch.
- Soporific Gaze- One enemy unit within 3” of a CHARACTER at the start of the Fight Phase gets Fight Last. Costly at 2CP, and a lot of your units will already have Fight First due to the Mark of Slaanesh, but still helpful to shut down charges or other Fight First abilities, swinging back the order of operations to your favour.
- Combat Elixirs- When a CORE or CHARACTER is selected to Fight, grant the unit +1 Str and +1WS. At 2CP this is a fair chunk, but on a big unit it can help deal serious damage. Kind of a waste on most Characters, as they’ll be WS 2 already, and ignoring modifiers to Hit means the WS boost will do nothing.
- Excruciating Frequencies- For 1CP, a unit’s Sonic Weapons do an additional Mortal Wound on 6s to Wound, to a max of 6 per enemy unit, and one unit hit by a Sonic Weapon cannot Overwatch or Set to Defend that turn. Cheap for the utility, the Mortal Wounds are capped per enemy, not per the shooter, so you can spread them out if you’re feeling like a gambler, and whilst the Overwatch/Defend prevention only applies to one enemy, it’s still a powerful tool to have when faced with certain foes.
Relics marked with a * can be taken by a Champion via the Trophies of the Long War Stratagem.
- The Endless Grin- The bearer gets a 6+++, and once per battle can revive on a 3+ at the end of any phase it’s destroyed, standing back up with D3 Wounds, as close as possible to where it died and not in Engagement Range. A decent enough defensive boost, and the revive can be clutch at times, though not the most reliable.
- Fatal Sonancy- Roll 6D6 for one visible enemy unit within 12” at the end of your Movement Phase, taking a Mortal Wound for each 4+. A nice little bit of extra damage, although the range is short, an average of 3 Mortal Wounds to any enemy you move into range of can make for a nice bit of extra damage, if not outright kill some lighter things, especially low wound units or support characters.
- Armour of Abhorrence*- A 3” Aura that stops non-TITANIC units from Falling Back on a 4+. Great for keeping a unit pinned into a combat, and whilst only 50/50, the threat alone can be a big detriment to your opponent’s gameplan, and a 3” range whilst short does mean you need not even be in that combat.
- Remnant of the Maraviglia- A PRIEST can use this Relic once per game to give themselves a 6” Aura of +1 Attack to all CORE and CHARACTERS. A powerful boost, especially as this is done after any Prayers so you’ll know if you have support from rerolls etc. Timed well before crucial combats, this can swing a game in your favour with the sheer weight of attacks your units can throw out.
- Distortion*- A Power/Force Sword, or an Accursed Weapon, gets two profiles to use, using either Incision for Str User -2 D1 but double Attacks, or a Slash that is basically an AP-4 Power Fist with no -1 to Hit. A straight upgrade in terms of output to a Sword, with the Incision useful if you find yourself fighting your way through a horde.
- Raiment Repulsive- Grants the bearer a 6” Aura that lets your units Shoot and do Actions, and makes enemy units unable to start Actions. Fairly niche in application, and doesn’t stop already started enemy Actions, but if anticipating Actions being used a lot, either on yours or the enemies side, it’s not a terrible choice. Can be given to CULTISTS, if you want.
The Butcher’s Nails
+1 Attack in the first round of combat. That’s your lot, but it’s a good one for your combat leaning elements and can help out any less melee-oriented units in a pinch. As its only for the first round, make sure you leverage it as much as possible by removing or at least crippling what you can for the running out of steam in the subsequent rounds.
Skulls For The Skull Throne (Purge The Enemy)
A Challenge type secondary, so you pick a CHARACTER from both armies to throwdown before the first turn, scoring 5 VP for destroying them, another 5 if it was with Melee, and 5 VP for if destroyed by your CHARACTER. You max it out if they’re destroyed by not arriving from Reinforcements, and you immediately gain 1 CP if you max it out. It’s fine, and can make your opponent wary with the chosen Character, though it’s not always the easiest to score.
- Slaughterborn- Get +1 Str and Attack for the rest of the game each time you kill a CHARACTER, MONSTER or TITANIC. Sounds nice on paper, but realistically you might get this once during a game, making it pretty unusable compared to others. Khârn has to have this, though it doesn’t really make sense for him (nor does it for him to be your Warlord, but whatever).
- Arch-slaughterer- +D3 Attacks if you have more enemy models than friendly models within 3″, a nice boost for helping to clear lighter units, but less useful if you’re looking for a Character hunter type HQ.
- Disciple of Khorne- Reroll Hits and Wounds in Melee against anything with 5 or more Wounds. Great for helping you carve through tanks or enemy Characters, and even very heavy elite units like Praetors or Broadsides.
- Violent Urgency- Grants a 6″ Aura of +1 to Advance and Charge rolls, a powerful buff for an army that wants to get to grips with the foe as quick as possible. Applies to all your units, so this is useful for all manner of units.
- True Berzerker- Halves all damage taken, a great defensive boon to help you get in, and stick around a lot longer than normal.
- Battle-lust- Gain a 6″ Heroic Intervention, and Fight First. A good spread of utility boosts, helping you offset Fight Lasts or being countercharged, and a useful tool for striking out at opponents that thought they were safe in their turn.
- Scorn of Sorcery- A unit can deny a Psychic Power cast within 24” on a 4+. A good way to shutdown a vital power, even if it’s 50/50, as can be done after any Deny attempts, and at 1CP it’s cheap enough to warrant for important abilities. No, you can’t use this and the identically named one from the main Stratagems in the same phase. Why it was included here in the first place is beyond me.
- Apoplectic Frenzy- 1CP to let a unit of INFANTRY make a 9″ Normal Move at the start of the first round. Phenomenal on a unit of TERMINATORS or POSSESSED to help get them up the board super quick, or into a better defensive position. Not so useful for BERZERKERS, as they’ll often be in Rhinos, but still something to consider if you’re footslogging.
- Skulls for the Skull Throne!- When you kill an enemy CHARACTER in Melee with one of your CHARACTERS, spend 1CP to gain D3 CP (ignoring the normal cap). Won’t come up all that often, but always worth doing when it does as there’s zero downside.
- Red Butchers- Upgrade one (and only one) unit of TERMINATORS pregame with +1 Str and the ability to fight twice in the Fight Phase. Costly at 2CP, but this makes a unit of Terminators a truly terrifying prospect in melee, with tons of high Strength high AP attacks, as well as the extra Pile In/Consolidation options it opens up.
- Kill! Maim! Burn!- For 1CP a unit can Consolidate +3″. A good way to keep the pressure on a foe’s battleline, or take units that might have been otherwise out of reach.
- Wild Fury- +1AP to a unit’s Melee Attacks is a solid boost for only 1CP, great on units that are looking to overcome higher Saves, or have middling AP in the first place.
- Stoke the Nails- A CORE unit in your Fight Phase gets +1 Strength for the phase, and counts as being in Wanton Slaughter. A great way to help leverage extra output from a unit in both quantity and quality of attacks.
- Blood For The Blood God!- When an enemy unit is destroyed in Melee, you can use 2CP to autopass Morale for your units that turn. A costly ability that is tricky to time, but good if you’re anticipating lots of key Morale Tests and need to ensure you have as many models remaining as possible.
- Crimson Killer- A buffed up Plasma Pistol that is always Str 9 and Dmg3, and it does an additional Mortal Wound on a 4+. It’s fine, but nothing special or really worth looking at.
- Gorefather- Makes a Power Axe or Exalted Power Axe into Dmg 3, and 6s to Wound do 3 Mortal Wounds instead of normal damage. It does also carry a -1 to Hit, making it somewhat unreliable, though the overall damage boost is quite good.
- Banner of Rage- A PRIEST can activate a once per game Aura at the start of any Fight Phase, granting all your units +1A for that Phase. A decent boost, but you’ll need to be in a good position to really leverage it, making it tricky to position for maximum benefit.
- Berzerker Glaive- Makes a Power Axe, Exalted Axe or Axe of Dismemberment into a +2 -3 D2 weapon which also grants a 5+++. A flat upgrade to the Power and Exalted Axes, and a side grade for the Dismemberment, trading their offence for defence. Overall a solid choice for a melee combatant.
- Helm of Furore- An INFANTRY model gets +2 Str, but must try to Charge if within 8″ of a unit in your Charge Phase. The boost is nowhere near worth it for the possible downside of charging off by yourself, nor the headaches you need to give yourself to keep them surrounded to stop it.
- Bloodhunger- Each time the bearer destroys an enemy model in melee, roll a D6 after they’ve finished their attacks. For each 5+ the bearer heals a Wound, to a max of 6 Wounds per Phase. A decent enough relic for longevity, though against particularly strong opponents you might not survive long enough to benefit from the heals. It also tends to force you to go fight lesser units to try and get more heals, something you might not always want to do.
Raiders from the Maelstrom
Advance and Charge, and all your models count as 2 for the purposes of holding Objectives, or 5 models if they have 10+ Wounds. Both are good benefits, for putting pressure on with your strong melee units, or holding onto and taking Objectives with various units.
Raid and Reave(Shadow Operations)
INFANTRY and BIKER units can start this Action at the end of your Movement Phase on different Objectives that haven’t been Raided yet, and that have no enemy units in range. The Action completes at the start of your next Command Phase, or end of the battle, and you score VP as follows-
- 1 VP if the Objective is wholly within your Deployment Zone
- 2 VP if the Objective is within No Man’s Land
- 3 VP if the Objective is wholly within the enemy Deployment Zone
The Objective is then Raided, the unit now carries Spoils of War. Score an additional 1 VP for each unit with Spoils of War that is on the battlefield, or in a TRANSPORT on the battlefield, at the end of the game, or 2VP instead if they are wholly within your Deployment Zone. A weird spread of VP that requires pretty much every Objective to be Raided and the unit to be alive at the end of the battle in order to even approach maxing. Realistically you can get a decent amount of VP towards the end of the game when firepower is lacking, but the length of time and overall low scoring for the immediate gain is low, though being able to do it with multiple units can force your opponent’s attention to have to split. Keeping them alive, or back in home territory, is another tricky prospect, as doing it early can mean less points later on, but doing it too late can mean denial by your opponent by being near the Objectives.
- Reaver Lord- Gain a CP on a 4+ in your Command Phase if the WARLORD is on the battlefield. It’s fine, and whilst not exactly exciting, an extra 2-3 CP on average a game is nothing to sniff at. Huron has this, what with his vast access to resources and loot.
- Angel of Hatred- +1 Strength and Attack in the first round of combat, a solid boost to help ensure the damage is done during initial fights.
- Dark Raider- Once per turn, a CORE unit within 6” of the WARLORD can make a Normal Move after they finish Shooting, though they cannot Charge that turn. Great to push further upfield or onto Objectives, or to get out of danger by increasing distance between the enemy, or getting into or behind terrain.
- Secure the Prize- When a CORE unit that is in range of an Objective is targeted by an Attack, for the rest of the Phase they get +1 to their Sv against D1 attacks. Cheap at 1CP, and whilst it does need a few prerequisites, it’s a decent survivability bonus against light weapons in a pinch.
- Rain Fire and Death- A once per game Stratagem, needing a CHARACTER on the battlefield in your Command Phase to use. Place a marker anywhere on the battlefield, and in your next Command Phase it explodes doing D3 Mortal Wounds to all units within 6” on a 2+, or D6 Mortal Wounds if you roll a 6+. You do get +1 to units within 3” of the centre of the marker, and -1 vs CHARACTERS. With a number of hoops to jump through and the randomness involved, it’s not the most damaging or reliable, but can dictate your opponents movement, forcing them to abandon an area with smaller units or risk taking a bunch of damage, especially if you’ve weakened them up prior. Once per game, and costs 2CP, it might not always be useful, but it can come up.
- The Hounds of Huron- A BIKER unit that finishes fighting can immediately Fall Back if in Engagement Range, or make a Normal Move if not. Not cheap at 2CP, but an excellent movement and defensive tool, letting you put pressure on other parts of the foes’ battlelines, and get out of combat before retaliation.
- Raid Supply Lines- Once per game, provided your WARLORD is on the battlefield, at the start of the opponent’s Reinforcement Step in Battle Round 1 or 2, you can pick one enemy Reinforcement, and they do not arrive that turn. A fantastic disruption piece, letting you establish better positioning, shut down a vital arrival of forces, preventing easy scoring of Secondaries, or forcing your foe to change their gameplan entirely at deployment via threat of it. It even works on units that always arrive like Drop Pods. It’s only once per game, and costs 2CP, so making it count is important, but when used well it can be game changing.
Relics marked with a * can be taken by a Champion via the Trophies of the Long War Stratagem.
- Maelstrom’s Bite*- Upgrades a Combi-melta, giving the Melta portion +6” Range, +1 Str and always D6+2 Dmg, whilst the Bolter part gets +1AP and Dmg. A decent ranged upgrade to help with some fire support, though it’s perhaps not the most reliable for the low shot output.
- Armour of Badab- A TERMINATOR gets a 3” Aura that grants CORE and CHARACTERS a 5++, or a 4++ if a TERMINATOR. A handy defensive boost if expecting to face lots of high AP weaponry, though the low range and Armour of Contempt built in makes this only really useful when bunched up against AP-3 and higher weapons.
- Traitor’s Laurels- +1 Attack, lets the bearer use an Epic Deed Stratagem for 0CP once per game, and lets CORE units in a 6” Aura ignore any Combat Attrition modifiers. A weird blend of buffs, the Attrition bonus is neat but not always helpful, whilst the Epic Deed part only works on 2 Stratagems, one of which is for a PRIEST and the other for a TZEENTCH PSYKER, so are very limited in application. The extra Attack is always useful, but not quite as useful on one of the aforementioned Characters for the Stratagem bonus. All told, there will usually either be something wasted, or something not used at top effectiveness.
+1” Mv, +1Str and models killed by Melee attacks can Fight on death, if they haven’t already fought that Phase. A powerful spread of combat buffs, letting you get there slightly quicker and hit a lot harder, and acting as a powerful denial tool to enemies that charge or have Fight First. Obviously less useful for non-combat focused units, though the Movement boost can be helpful over the game, and might let them act just better enough to edge out in a fight over other weaker units.
Specimens for the Spider (Purge the Enemy)
At the end of each Battle Round, score as follows-
- 3 VP if at least one CHARACTER or MONSTER was destroyed by a Melee Attack
- 2 VP if at least one non-CHARACTER, MONSTER or VEHICLE unit was destroyed by a Melee Attack
You also score 1 VP at the end of the Game if any ASTARTES (so ADEPTUS, HERETIC or SANCTIC) were destroyed by Melee Attacks. Reliant on Melee means you won’t be scoring this often in the early turns, and needs you to be killing CHARACTERS or MONSTERS to attempt to max this out. However they do stack, so killing a unit and a CHARACTER in Melee during the same turn will net you 5VP, not a bad haul for what you probably want to be doing with this army. Against some foes it’s not all that great as you either won’t or can’t get their CHARACTERS, or have a ton of VEHICLES which will limit your potential, but it has good potential to score 9-12VP with relative ease vs some armies.
- Surgical Precision- Melee Attacks of 4+ automatically Wound the target, and with +1 AP. A handy melee booster, giving you nice reliability and some extra punch to boot. Fabius has this, which is appropriate for a mad doctor.
- Prime Test Subject- +1 S, T and W. It’s a simple but potent spread of stat buffs, ideal for any Character expecting to take incoming attacks, and to dish out damage a little easier.
- Twisted Regeneration- Once a game this WARLORD can revive with D3 Wounds on a 2+. This is done instead of other rules, so you can’t fight on death then stand back up, and as usual for these abilities it needs to be as close as possible to your death site and not in Engagement Range. Certainly nice to have, but not essential.
- Monstrous Visages- When a CORE, DAEMONKIN or CHARACTER unit is targeted in the Fight Phase, impose -1 to Hit for the Phase for 1CP. A cheap and potent boost to keep a unit around longer against powerful Melee combatants.
- Taken Alive- If the enemy WARLORD is destroyed by a Melee Attack, your opponent’s entire Army is at -1 Ld, cannot reroll Morale Tests, and cannot use Insane Bravery. It’s cheap at 1CP, though the requirements might not always come up, and the effects aren’t always useful.
- The Masters are Watching- An INFANTRY unit in your Command Phase counts as being in range of a visible CHARACTERS Aura ability until the end of the Turn, as long as it’s Lord of Chaos, Aspire to Glory or Demagogue. A decent enough boost for a CP, though the visibility requirements to activate it (not maintain it, at least), limits the prospects somewhat.
- Auto-stimulants- At the start of the Charge Phase, a CORE unit that Advanced can Charge this turn. Good for making combat, especially if that is more important than the shooting the unit can leverage, and cheap at 1CP.
Relics marked with a * can be taken by a Champion via the Trophies of the Long War Stratagem.
- Helm of All-seeing- Gain a CP on a 5+ for each CP your opponent spends. A reliable way to get more CP, though it will drop off as the game continues as CP supplies dwindle.
- Living Carapace- INFANTRY only. Once per game, when an attack is allocated to the bearer (ie before Saves), you can use this to turn the Damage of that attack, and all other Attacks until the end of the Turn, into Damage 1. Whilst only once per game, this can be the literal difference between life and death, especially when facing down very high damage but low shot weaponry like Meltas. Being before Saves is a bit of a pain, as you might still make any Saves required, but as a redundancy it’s great.
- Hyper-growth Bolts*- A Bolt weapon can only fire one shot, but if it Hits a non-VEHICLE it automatically Wounds at AP-1 and Dmg D3+3. Whilst the AP is lacking, the reliability of the damage makes up for it, making it a powerful hidden threat to a Character or elite unit that might not want to take the risk of the Save.
In 9th there are now sub-categories of Stratagems, essentially giving them a Keyword that has interactions with certain rules. It won’t come up all that often, just something to look out for.
Chaos Marines have a good spread of Stratagems, with a wide variety of offensive and defensive abilities, alongside some utility based ones for ensuring reliability or extra options in certain phases.
- Death to the False Emperor!- An ASTARTES unit rerolls Hit rolls against ADEPTUS or SANCTIC ASTARTES in Melee. Powerful when it comes up on certain units, and Marines are fairly common, making it a good return for 1CP in those instances.
- Daemonforge- +1 WS and BS to a DAEMON ENGINE for a Phase is a great boon, especially since they often do not get access to rerolls, and given it’s a stat boost, can stack with ways to get +1 to Hit. Cheap for 1CP, and whilst it costs 2CP on a TITANIC, that’s still a good investment for the potential it offers.
- Fury of Khorne- A KHORNE unit auto wounds in Melee on an unmodified 6 to Hit. Can be handy against high toughness units, and in general to just remove chances of wound failures against other units, and cost efficient for 1CP.
- Grandfather’s Blessings- A NURGLE unit can only be wounded on an unmodified 4-6. Powerful when there are strong weapons that would normally be wounding on 2s or 3s, or to counteract any bonuses to Wound via special rules or Stratagems. NURGLE only does limit the application, and you already have a Wound roll debuff built in via the Mark, so calculate accordingly if you even need it. If there’s a key unit that has to live however, this goes a long way to helping ensure that. Costs 2 CP if there are more than 5 models in the unit, otherwise 1CP.
- Hatred Eternal- A LEGIONARIES unit can Shoot again at the end of the Shooting Phase, or Fight again if in Engagement Range at the end of the Fight Phase. Whilst it’s only on your basic Marines, with a smattering of special weapons you can put some extra dents in things. Costly at 2CP however, so make it count.
- Murderous Perfection- When you select a SLAANESH unit to Shoot or Fight, once in that phase that can turn a single Hit, Wound or Damage roll into a 6. A sort of pseudo CP Reroll, for 1CP, but with the guarantee of the 6. The main issue being it’s SLAANESH only, so your usage is reliant on that, and needing to choose when selecting the unit can occasionally lead to scenarios where you don’t need to use it and thus waste it, but that will be admittedly rare.
- Veterans of the Long War- 2CP lets an INFANTRY or BIKER get +1 to Wound for a Shooting or Fight Phase. Always good, and pretty widely usable, this can help ensure a key unit does as much damage as possible. Weirdly keyed to TRAITORIS rather than HERETIC, so yes, some of your CULTISTS are clearly veterans with thousands of years of battle under their belt…
- Wrath of the Chosen- +1 to Hit for a TERMINATOR or CHOSEN unit for a Shooting or Fight Phase. Great for only 1 CP to ensure max accuracy, or for offsetting minuses that might apply like with a Power Fist, and the output of these units is already pretty great, making them even more reliable and potent.
- Blasphemous Engines- A MACHINE SPIRIT or DAEMON ENGINE unit acts on their top profile until your next turn. Done in the Command Phase so before Movement, helpful to get them into position as well as hit better, making their usually powerful weaponry count. Costs 2CP on a TITANIC, but 1CP otherwise makes this easy and cheap to use.
- Fell Prayers- A PRIEST auto passes a Prayer at the start of any of your Phases (except the Command Phase), provided they haven’t recited a Prayer already, and the Prayer in question has not been recited elsewhere. Costly at 2CP, but if the situation demands a successful Prayer for something crucial to happen, the cost often outweighs the gamble of the die roll. Also makes them able to use the Prayers from Reinforcements, not something they’d normally be able to do.
- Fire Frenzy- After an enemy unit has finished Shooting with one of their units, if at least one of those attacks hit a HELBRUTE that is not in Engagement Range, that HELBRUTE can immediately Shoot at the attacking unit (if eligible, so no random CHARACTER sniping), or the closest eligible target. Handy for 1CP to punish a unit that doesn’t finish off one of your Helbrutes, or to counter a closer unit that is yet to attack, or to blunt their charge. Might not come up often, but for its cost it’s a solid utility tool.
- The Great Sorcerer- A TZEENTCH PSYKER at the start of your Psychic Phase gets to cast an additional Power that Phase, or can perform a Psychic Action and still cast 1 power. A nice bit of flexibility for only 1CP, letting you tack on a good amount of Psychic prowess to an army, or perform Secondaries without sacrificing a crucial buff you need elsewhere.
- Aspiring Lord- The usual “Give a Warlord Trait to a CHARACTER” Stratagem. There are some good Traits across the standard fare and the Legion specific ones, letting you really add some customisation to your army, or to enhance a Character in a specific role.
- Gifts of Chaos- Grants a CHARACTER a Relic, but with an extra twist. A MARK OF CHAOS CHARACTER that already carries a Relic can also use this to carry a second Relic, so long as neither of them are Daemon Weapons. This can make some particularly nasty combinations in both attack and defence, extra utility, or a super tough to shift model. The Stratagem is still limited to twice a Strike Force game, so you can’t load up too many double Relics, but the potential power it grants to a single Character is huge.
- Trophies of the Long War- Gives a Champion (ie a unit leader) a Relic from a big selection of both normal and Legion Relics. Most of them are weapons, with a smattering of utility or defensive choices in there too, so this lets you sprinkle some extra punch into your units. Don’t go overboard however, as often the choices are better served on an already punchier HQ choice, but if you have a particular goal in mind for a unit, some of these can help them do it better. Can be used twice in a Strike Force mission, for 1CP a time.
- Contempt Over Caution- A CORE unit that isn’t in Engagement Range can Shoot a unit that is in Engagement Range, though you cannot reroll Hits, and any 1 to Hit must be allocated to a friendly unit in Engagement Range. Opens up some options, and whilst the downsides could be nasty (especially with Plasma, as you’ll kill the bearer and hit your friend…somehow), the odds will generally be in your favour, especially if it means helping to soften an enemy unit up before Melee, or breaking out a much needed Shooting unit to act freely. Costs 2CP, or 1CP if every friendly unit in Engagement Range was a CULTIST, cos that’s what they get.
- Unending Destruction- An ASTARTES INFANTRY unit can Shoot without causing any Action they are doing to fail. A niche but helpful Stratagem if you have taken Action based Secondaries and want or need to add more firepower on an enemy unit, though at 2CP it’s not cheap.
- Relentless Devastation- An ASTARTES INFANTRY unit that made a Normal Move counts as Remaining Stationary. Being able to move and still double tap for Bolter Discipline at long range is a great tool to have to maximise shots, or allowing Heavy weapon equipped units to move into position without sacrificing accuracy. Specifically states you can’t move again, so no Warptime shenanigans for this unit.
- Ritual Offerings- If a CULTIST unit destroys an enemy, they autopass Morale checks and get +1 to Hit in Melee for the rest of the game. It’s not expensive for 1CP, but not really worth it either to buff up your weakest things on the off chance they kill something. The autopass Morale could be quite useful, but this is something to consider at the time, rather than something to aim for.
- Scorn of Sorcery- A KHORNE unit can deny a Psychic Power cast within 24” on a 4+. A good way to shutdown a vital power, even if it’s 50/50, as can be done after any Deny attempts, and at 1CP it’s cheap enough to warrant for important abilities.
- Shroud of Flies- A NURGLE unit cannot be targeted by enemy Shooting unless they are either the closest eligible target, or within 12” of the attacker. Lasts for the whole phase, great for keeping an important unit alive, but is costly at 2CP, or 3CP if they’re a MONSTER, VEHICLE, TERMINATOR or BIKER, so use when necessary rather than all the time.
- Terrifying Phenomena- An enemy within 12” of an UNDIVIDED unit in the Morale Phase cannot use Insane Bravery, cannot reroll Morale Checks, and immediately fails any Action if they fail a Morale Test. A decent source of disruption for 1CP, if a Morale Test is imminent and would prove fruitful, either to cause a Secondary Action to fail, or just to help potentially thin out the ranks of a unit. Situational, but occasionally useful.
- Tide of Traitors- A CULTIST MOB unit can revive 3+D3 models in your Command Phase, provided they are within 6” of either a Battlefield Edge or your Deployment Zone. Decent enough at 1CP, letting you keep a unit in the fight a little longer, and occasionally flip an Objective in some scenarios, as the revive will happen before determining Objective control. The positioning requirements limit it of course, but for 1CP it’s not bad if running some Cultists.
- Excessive Cruelty- When an enemy unit Falls Back from a SLAANESH unit, they can immediately Consolidate 3”, or Shoot that enemy unit if they are no longer Engagement Range, provided they are still eligible. Costly at 2CP, but can inflict some nasty punishment to a beleaguered unit that thought themselves safe, or to help position better. The timing is straight after a unit Falls Back however, so you can’t wait to choose if there are multiple targets.
- Vicious Descent- For each model in a JUMP PACK unit that finishes within Engagement Range of a single enemy unit, roll D6 and inflict a Mortal Wound for each result that equals or exceeds that enemy unit’s Toughness. Obviously not so helpful against high Toughness units, but great at softening up lighter units, or even Characters, which can be very impactful for only 1CP.
- Warp-born Foresight- 2CP lets you Shoot at Reinforcements when they arrive within 12” with one of your TZEENTCH units. A strong deterrent for both combat oriented or short ranged enemy reinforcements, and can heavily cripple the enemy’s battleplans, be it in their own abilities or curbing any ideas of using Strategic Reserve to outflank you. Can be done on any unit with the Mark, so can be particularly nasty on a special weapon loaded Terminator or Chosen squad.
- Winds of the Warp- BIKER or JUMP PACK unit that either Advanced or arrived from Reinforcements in your previous Movement Phase gets -1 to Hit for an enemy Shooting Phase. A decent buff for only 1CP, and while somewhat restricted, it can be great for ensuring a unit survives for a second attack run, or to just cause your opponent to need to divert more firepower their way, giving breathing room to other units.
- Daemon Shells- For 1CP a unit’s Bolt weapons get +6” Range and +1 AP. Cheap but effective, and useful on a fair number of units, letting them add some extra punch or reach an enemy that was otherwise safe. Especially good for TERMINATORS and BIKERS to make the most of their always on Rapid Fire, but also good on other Infantry to get more out of their half range, or to boost up Heavy Bolters.
- Infernal Engine- A DAEMON ENGINE gets -1 Damage for a phase, which for 1CP (or 2CP for a TITANIC) is a fantastically low cost for such a useful defensive boost.
- Skyshrike Missile- An INFANTRY model with a Missile Launcher can inflict 2D3 Mortal Wounds on a AIRCRAFT unit instead of shooting normally, with a +1 to Hit to boot. Quite limited in scope, but handy if you’re running Missiles on your infantry and come up against a plane or two.
- Smokescreen- A SMOKESCREEN unit imposes a -1 to Hit against enemy units that target it for a Shooting Phase. A nice defence buff for a wide variety of units, though sadly lacking in spikes.
Paid upgrades for any UNDIVIDED CORE or UNDIVIDED CHARACTER (except Special Characters), and DAEMON PRINCES must take one of them as well. Each one replaces your UNDIVIDED Keyword, and you gain the Keyword of that God, unlocking certain Stratagems and Relics to them, and in the case of PRIESTS and PSYKERS, an extra Prayer or Power respectively, that they always know in addition to any others (see those sections for details).
Each Mark grants a basic ability, and a second ability so long as they have the ICON Keyword. Icons aren’t expensive, though limited to only LEGIONARIES, CHOSEN and BIKERS, so consider that when looking at the second ability, as it won’t apply to any CHARACTERS, TERMINATORS, HELBRUTES, RAPTORS or HAVOCS.
Regardless of Mark, they’re all 15pts no matter who takes it, so larger units effectively get a slight discount. There are also no restrictions on mixing differently Marked units in the same army, apart from the Emperor’s Children, who must upgrade everyone who can to MARK OF SLAANESH, and World Eaters who must upgrade everything possible to KHORNE, whether you want to or not.
+1 Str in the first turn of combat, making for a nice boost on a melee unit, or to help a less combat inclined unit have a bit of extra punch when the need arises.
Improves AP on all Melee Attacks by 1. This is a potent tool for any unit packing Melee Weapons, increasing their output substantially, and helping even less combat inclined units capable of making more damage stick.
The first failed Save per turn becomes Damage 0 on that attack. A decent benefit that can add up as the game progresses, and though it can be baited out with low damage weapons, and occasionally require slow rolling, the overall result is solid.
Improves AP on all Shooting Attacks by 1. Helps to make your basic weapons a bit more efficient, and your special weapons even punchier.
When an Attack is made against this unit, if the Strength is equal to, or at least double your Toughness, -1 to the Wound roll. Effectively this makes any 4s to Wound you need 5s, and any 2s need 3s, acting as both a good defensive tool against common strength weaponry, and giving a buffer against more powerful attacks.
6s to Hit with Ranged Attacks autowound. A nice reliability buff, helping your weaker weaponry wound a bit more often, and your more specialised weaponry have a chance of removing those annoying failures.
Always Fights First, granting you some strong melee options to help counter Charges or Fight Last abilities, and giving you edge in protracted fights.
+1 to Hit in Melee, making you very reliable in combat and able to act a bit more independently from other bonuses or rerolls. Worth noting for Emperor’s Children that, coupled with their ability to ignore any modifiers (ie negative ones), means they will always Hit on a 2+ in Melee outside of those rare “1-3s always Miss” abilities, as they aren’t modifiers.
A special “sub-type” of Relic, the following weapons all upgrade a Melee Weapon the bearer already has (except the Bladed Limbs on a LORD DISCORDANT– No you can’t have a Relic Daemon Scorpion), and makes them a Relic for all rules purposes.
Each time the bearer Fights, you must roll 2D6, and if higher than your Ld, you either cannot use the weapon at all in that Fight Phase, or must suffer D3 Mortal Wounds but can use the weapon normally. Generally the reward outweighs the risk, and these are very versatile, letting you make a normal weapon you like into something quite nasty. However it’s worth pointing out that sometimes a “basic” Relic might provide at least a similar function without the potential downsides, so compare before diving straight into taking a Daemon Weapon.
- Ul’o’cca, The Black- UNDIVIDED only. Each time the weapon Wounds a target, they take a Mortal Wound in addition. A good way to reliably add extra damage or bypass good defences, the successful Wound roll can be a bit of a pain, as tougher units can avoid the damage by just being more difficult to Wound, but it does mean each Wound roll will always do some damage, even if the basic weapon is Saved against.
- Zaall, the Wrathful- KHORNE only. Adds +D3 Damage to the weapon. For ensuring a big hit on each failed save, though it’s worded a bit weirdly, as it states each time they make an attack you increase the Damage by D3, meaning you’d need to slow roll each and every attack to see how much each one goes up by, just in case that gets saved. Don’t play it like that, as that’s silly and will cause your opponent to die from boredom waiting for you, just do as 1+D3, or 2+D3 or whatever, each time you need to inflict Damage.
- G’holl’ax, the Decayed- NURGLE only. Any Attack that Hits autowounds, and ignores any Feel No Pains or Damage Cap abilities the target might have. A good reliability booster, though it’s generally better on an already hard hitting weapon like a Power Fist, as whilst autowounding is nice if a little wasted on a high strength weapon, it’s better than realising you’re likely only doing 1 Dmg.
- Q’o’ak, the Boundless- TZEENTCH only. Ignores Invulnerable Saves, making many powerful defences much less potent. Relies on a good AP on the base weapon to really maximise the output, and again the Damage will likely be low outside of certain weapons, so be wary that this isn’t wasted on things like a Power Maul or Axe.
- Thaa’ris and Rhi’ol, the Rapacious- SLAANESH only. Actually requires two Melee weapons, so this precludes most CHARACTERS from actually using it, though still counts as one Relic for all rules purposes. Those that can use it get +D3 Attacks on both weapons, making for a powerful blender. Extremely scary on something like a Daemon Prince.
Relics marked with a * can be taken by a Champion via the Trophies of the Long War Stratagem. CULTISTS can only take Relics that explicitly allow them to.
- Inferno Tome- PRIEST only, and can be given to CULTISTS. Lets them know an additional Prayer, and each time they successfully use a Prayer, the nearest visible enemy unit within 18” takes D3 Mortal Wounds. A nice blend of extra utility and damage, effectively letting you get an extra Smite every turn fairly reliably.
- Gorget of Eternal Hate- Grants +1 the bearer’s Sv, a 4++, and when destroyed they explode, with each enemy unit within 3” taking D3 Mortal Wounds on a 2+, or flat 3 Mortals on a 6. A good pair of defensive boosts, with a somewhat niche but nevertheless useful bit of extra offence which can help finish off an attacker. Great on a Lord Discordant or Daemon Prince for their already solid defences and larger base to maximise your explosive death.
- Black Rune of Damnation*- Can be given to CULTISTS. Gives the bearer (and their unit) -1 to be Wounded, and the bearer themselves gets an 18” Aura that makes all enemy PSYKERS Perils on any Double. A great survivability boost coupled with a niche but potentially devastating Psychic debuff.
- Mantle of Traitors- The bearer can use an Epic Deed Stratagem once per game for 0CP, they reroll all Hits in Melee, and can pick one CORE unit in your Command Phase to be in range of their Datasheet Aura (if they have one), regardless of where they are on the battlefield. A mixed spread of buffs, with a great melee booster and a useful utility buff for another unit to grant them either Reroll 1s to Hit/Wound or a slight Ld boost. The Epic Deed portion is a bit more situational, relying on certain Legions, or being a PRIEST or PSYKER to make the most of it. Tricky to use all three aspects at once, but by no means a bad pick.
- Blade of the Relentless*- A Power Sword, Daemon Blade or Accursed Weapon becomes Str+1 AP-4 D2, gets +1 Attack, and 6s to Hit cause 2 Mortal Wounds instead of normal damage. This is a generally great Melee upgrade, granting a great spread of stat boosts and some nasty spike potential with the Mortal Wounds.
- The Black Mace*- A Power Maul, Accursed Crozius or Accursed Weapon becomes Str+2 AP-2 Dmg3, and any excess Damage is not lost, instead being allocated to the next model. Whilst the Str and AP are fairly middling, the Dmg and spillover effect make this a powerful tool, ensuring all failed saves against it will be significant, and with little loss of efficiency.
- The Warp’s Malice*- A Relic Bolt Pistol, getting +6” Range, +1 Shot, +1 Str, +2AP and +1 Dmg, and whilst the bearer is in Wanton Massacre or Slaughter it gets a further +2 Shots. Finally, any Hit rolls of 6 do 2 Mortal Wounds instead of normal Damage. As far as Relic Pistols go, this is actually really quite good, with great stat boosts and solid output. Almost a Blade of Relentless but at range, and being a Pistol acts as a pseudo Melee weapon as well. If you’re hard pressed for a Relic for a basic Character, this is actually one of the better offensive ones.
- Talisman of Burning Blood- A KHORNE model gets a 6” Heroic Intervention, +1 Attack, and a further +1 Attack each time they destroy an enemy unit in Melee. The first two benefits are both great, with the third boon being somewhat situational, though nice when it crops up, netting you maybe a further extra Attack a game.
- Eye of Tzeentch- A TZEENTCH PSYKER (shockingly) gets +1 to Psychic Tests, and any unmodified 9+ to Cast cannot be Denied. Both are great to have, helping you cast your potent powers easier, and occasionally ensuring your opponent can’t stop them no matter what.
- Orb of Unlife- A NURGLE model gets a 9” Range Grenade which can only be used once per game, and never benefits from exploding hits. If the single attack it gets does hit, the target takes D3 Mortal Wounds, or D3+3 if the target unit has 11+ Models or the bearer is in Wanton Destruction. In addition, the target suffers -1 Toughness for the rest of the game. A mixed bag, not being that damaging in the grand scheme of things, and the single shot will absolutely let you down when you least want it to, but the debuff it provides can be very significant as it applies regardless of what the target is. Think of this more as a force multiplier rather than an offensive weapon.
- Intoxicating Elixir- Once per game, a SLAANESH model can drink this at the start of the Fight Phase, gaining +D3 Attacks and being unable to lose more than 3 Wounds, both until the end of that Phase. Both are great benefits, though somewhat contradictory, as the D3 Attacks can often make it so the target is dead before attacking, and so weirdly this makes it better on the defence, letting you survive a big hitter, then striking back with greater fury.
- Liber Hereticus- A PSYKER can Cast an extra Power, and gets +6” Range to their Powers (only the first Range, if applicable). Useful for extra output, as well as to afford some redundancy in positioning of your PSYKER.
Powers marked with a * last until the start of your next Psychic Phase.
Some abilities interact with certain types of Psychic Powers, be they Witchfires, Blessings or Maledictions. Psychic Powers are marked with their corresponding letter to identify them (so Witchfires are W, Blessings are B and Maledictions are M).
If the PSYKER has a MARK OF CHAOS, it always knows their associated Power below in addition to any other Powers. These only affect units with the same MARK, so you’ll need another unit to benefit from it, otherwise it’s only good for themselves.
- Tzeentch: Skeins of Fate* (WC7) (B)- Grants a unit within 18” a 4++, a powerful survivability buff against high AP attacks, though the high cost makes it somewhat unreliable.
- Nurgle: Putrid Miasma* (WC6) (B)- A unit within 18” gets -1 to be Hit. Great defensive power that will generally always be useful, and should target your most valuable assets at any given time.
- Slaanesh: Delightful Agonies* (WC6) (B)- Gives a 5+++ to a unit within 18”, a potent extra layer of survivability against all manner of attacks, and at a reasonable cost to boot.
All non-MASTER OF POSSESSION PSYKERS have access to this.
LEGIONARIE PSYKERS and CULTIST PSYKERS can only have powers 1-3.
- Infernal Gaze (WC 5) (W)- Roll 3D6 for a visible enemy unit within 18”, inflicting 1 Mortal Wound for each 4+. If cast on an unmodified 10+, you roll 6D6 instead. A good little “sniper” spell, especially in the rare cases of a “Super Gaze”. Smite is generally more reliable when you just need raw damage, but the targetablity is helpful to soften a unit you’d rather hurt, and this affords a nice alternative if you’ve gone Psychic heavy and have cast a few other Smites, driving the cost up.
- Prescience* (WC 7) (B)- A flat +1 to Hit to a friendly unit within 18” is a fantastic offensive buff, be it to all but guarantee hitting or to offset negatives that are floating around. Best on a unit expecting to use both Ranged and Melee combat over the coming turns for maximum efficiency, or on larger units (including VEHICLES), but using it every turn in some capacity will serve you well.
- Diabolic Strength (WC 6) (W)- Gives a friendly INFANTRY or SPAWN model within 12” +2 to both Str and Attacks. Only affecting one model is a shame (though if it was unit wide it’d be hilariously broken), and the INFANTRY limitation does make your picks of Melee HQs a bit smaller, though still a good buff on something approaching Melee that needs some extra oomph, but don’t launch someone into melee with this just because you can, and this will generally be a low pick in terms of powers.
- Death Hex* (WC 8) (M)- An enemy unit within 12” loses their Invulnerables. Expensive but quite literally game changing, stripping defensive layers from tough units, setting them up for annihilation. The short range and high cost are downsides however, so it generally has better use for supporting a Melee unit, or when pressing down on the foe in the mid-game, and not something to rely on.
- Gift of Chaos (WC 7) (W)- A Smite that also does 1 Mortal Wound to every enemy unit within 6” on a 4+ (rolling for each). A good way to spread some, admittedly low, extra damage across a battleline, and can help chip away at Characters hiding in the back. Whilst an expensive alternative to a basic Smite, should you hit a WC 7 or 8 Smite, this will be better by virtue of the extra potential or lower cost.
- Warptime (WC 6) (B)- An INFANTRY or SPAWN unit within 6” immediately makes a Normal Move, but that unit cannot Charge this turn. A fantastic positioning tool, be it offensively for range or board pressure, defensively to move away, and of course the ability to move onto Objectives or in position for Secondaries. As it’s a Normal Move, you can’t do this on the turn you arrive via Deep Strike, or Fall Back, so don’t waste on those units.
MASTER OF POSSESSIONS only.
- Warp Marked* (WC 7) (M)- An enemy unit within 18” is Marked, and all your DAEMONKIN and DAEMON ENGINES get +1 to Wound them. A brutal offensive buff, applicable to both Melee and Shooting, meaning so long as something is near to the PSYKER, they’re in trouble if this goes off and other Daemon units are nearby. The high cost does offset the potency, but when it goes off it can be devastating.
- Pact of Flesh (WC 5) (B)- An injured CORE, DAEMONKIN or CHARACTER in a unit within 18” heals for D3 Wounds, and if they’re a CORE or DAEMONKIN unit and not at Starting Strength, one destroyed model is fully revived. This is very powerful for the low cast, as both effects apply regardless, making units like POSSESSED or OBLITERATORS very hard to take down if you aren’t able to wipe them in a turn. The heal is always useful for a CHARACTER expecting to be in the thick of fighting as well.
- Cursed Earth* (WC 7) (B)- The PSYKER gets a 6” Aura granting all DAEMONKIN and DAEMON ENGINES a 4++, and anytime an enemy unit finishes a Charge move in Engagement Range of one of those units, they take a Mortal Wound on a 2+, or D3 on a 5+. A strong defensive boost, making multiple already quite tough units even harder to shift, as well as giving a reasonable deterrent to anyone foolishly looking to engage them in Melee.
- Possession (WC 6) (W)- Roll a D6 for one visible enemy unit within 9”, with +1 to the roll if you cast this on an unmodified 10+. If you roll greater than the unit’s Toughness, one model in that unit is destroyed (opponent’s choice), and the unit takes a D3 Mortal Wounds. A risky but potentially devastating power, the ability to kill a model outright is strong indeed, let alone the extra damage it causes as well, however reliant on a single die roll makes it unreliable at best. On a high cast it can spell death for weaker support Characters, but overall this is a “nice to have but not always useful” spell.
- Infernal Power (WC 6) (B)- A DAEMONKIN or DAEMON ENGINE unit gets 6s to Hit become autowounds (and also count as 6s on the Wound roll, for what that’s worth) giving them some nice reliability on both melee and ranged output.
- Mutated Invigoration (WC 6) (B)- One unit within 18” gets either +1 Str or +1 Toughness, or if cast on a 10+ on a DAEMONKIN or DAEMON ENGINE, they get both. A flexible power for the low cost, with the potential to make a unit particularly nasty on the high cast. The Toughness boost will likely be the main one used, ensuring your units get into battle, or can withstand heavier punishment when there.
All Prayers are activated on a 3+ in your Command Phase, and only affect CORE, CHARACTER and CULTIST units.
They all last until the start of your next Command Phase, and everyone knows Dark Zealotry.
CULTISTS only know Prayers 1-3.
Unless otherwise noted, all Prayers have a 6” Range and affect one friendly unit.
Prayers marked with a * are 6” Auras from the PRIEST themselves (not their unit in the case of CULTISTS).
If your PRIEST has a MARK OF CHAOS, it always knows their associated Prayer below in addition to any other Prayers. These only affect units with the same MARK, and so won’t affect CULTISTS.
- Khorne: Wrathful Entreaty- Puts a unit into all 3 stages of Let The Galaxy Burn, ideal for ensuring they can maximise output, or are just able to benefit from their preferred stage more throughout the game.
- Tzeentch: Mutating Invocation- Grants a 3” Aura of 6+++. A small but welcome survivability boost, the short range does make it somewhat difficult to leverage well, but when surrounded by multiple units these can add up quite nicely.
- Nurgle: Feculent Beseechment- +1 Toughness to a unit, a simple but reliable defensive boost to help last out against stronger weapons. Remember this will be the same effect as your existing Mark ability against weapons with the same Str or double Str, so don’t waste it on units expecting to take hits from those weapons.
- Slaanesh: Blissful Devotion- Advance and Charge, a great bonus for those that either don’t have Shooting, or their Melee is just better, and for reaching enemy units that thought they were out of reach of potential charges.
Dark Zealotry*- Reroll Hits in Melee. Reliable and useful, and as you always have this don’t neglect to use it if combat is imminent.
- Benediction of Darkness*- Units wholly within range get Light Cover. A powerful defensive buff, but in practice quite limited due to the short range and “wholly” requirement, meaning your battleline is likely to become incredibly clogged if you realistically want this to affect more than one unit.
- Litany of Despair- Select one enemy unit within 12” and roll 3D6. If you roll over than their Ld, then you can choose to stop them from performing Actions and immediately fail any ongoing Actions, or prevent them from using Overwatch/Set to Defend, and forcing them to Fight Last. Both are powerful effects which can dictate flow of the mission and combat respectively, and the 3D6 makes it reliable enough against most units, with the average being 11. The short range and need to already be within 12” due to occurring in the Command Phase are the main downsides to this one.
- Omen of Potency- Grants the PRIEST +3 Attacks and +2AP on all their non-Relic Melee Weapons. A solid offensive bonus in a pinch, able to make an Apostle suddenly go toe to toe with many other combat characters or elite units when needed.
- Warp-sight Plea- Grants a unit Reroll 1s to Hit for Shooting, and Ignore Cover. Good for giving reliability to a unit without support from a Lord or Prince, as well as the boost in both accuracy and hitting power from the Ignore Cover making sure a key unit does what you need them to.
- Soultearer Portent- +1 Wound to Melee attacks, a very powerful offensive output for when you need to ensure a unit is blended on contact, helping you overcome tougher units, or ensuring an equivalent or lesser unit gets put down easier.
- Illusory Supplication- Attacks against a unit automatically miss on a 1-3 to Hit, and Hit rolls against them cannot be rerolled. A powerful set of defensive buffs to ensure a key unit minimises damage against them, useful to protect a unit from both ranged and melee.
CULTISTS can only have Warlord Traits 1-3.
- Flames of Spite- Reroll Wounds in Melee, and 6s to Wound do an additional Mortal Wound. Both are solid benefits, and the Mortal Wounds also apply to Ranged attacks, useful on something like a Lord Discordant.
- Unholy Fortitude- Grants a 5+++, a simple but effective survivability boost. Cypher gets this, not because he’s inherently tough, but because it’s hard to damage something already so edgy and damaged.
- Hatred Incarnate- Reroll Hits in Melee, and +1 Str and Attack when this WARLORD Charges or Heroically Intervenes. The stat boosts are nice, albeit limited for only the one turn and only when being the aggressor, though the reroll Hits are great especially on a Character with lots of high power attacks.
- Lord of Terror- Gives a 6” Aura that makes enemy units in range have to roll an extra D6 and discard the lowest for Morale Checks. In addition, any unit in range counts as below Half-strength for Attrition checks. A situational debuff that can have some nasty impact if you’re spreading damage around a battleline. Haarken Worldclaimer has this, because his entire deal is projecting fear, whilst not actually being all that scary or effective.
- Eternal Vendetta- Before Turn 1 begins, pick one enemy unit. All CORE and CHARACTERS in a 6” Aura of this Character get reroll Wounds against that enemy unit. A great way to help ensure a vital enemy unit gets dragged down at either range or up close. The third and final Trait for Abaddon, because when you draw the ire of the Warmaster, you’re gonna
get a Blackstone Fortress dropped on youhave a bad time.
- Gaze of the Gods- Gives a 4++, and the Character is always in all 3 stages of Let The Galaxy Burn. A nice combo of defence and offence, this is great for giving a mid level Character a nice boost, or enhancing an already potent Character with extra output.
The following are available if you have a TRAITORIS ASTARTES WARLORD when playing Matched Play or Grand Tournament Mission, with the usual restrictions.
No Mercy, No Respite - The Long War
Score 1 VP at the end of your turn for each enemy unit you destroy that was in range of an Objective, and score 2 VP if you control at least 1 Objective that was controlled by your opponent. Whilst it is fairly easy to score, it is capped at 3 VP per turn, so you weirdly need to stagger your kills and Objective grabs, and likewise an undefended Objective is worth no VP for you, at least in regard to this Secondary. Not a bad choice if you’re anticipating lots enemy units, or significant board control by your opponent, but this can be fairly limited as the game goes on and casualties are suffered on both sides, both denying you the ability to kill and take, and likewise preventing your opponent from having bodies for you to score from in the first place.
Purge the Enemy - Rise to Glory
At the end of each Battle Round, score 2 VP for each CHARACTER, MONSTER, or VEHICLE destroyed in Melee by your CHARACTERS, with +1 VP if they had 10-19 Wounds, or +2 if they’re TITANIC or the WARLORD. In addition, each time you do this roll 2D6, if the result is less than the Wounds of the destroyed model, gain 1 CP. Capped at 5 VP a round, but honestly, that doesn’t matter as this is a pretty bad Secondary. Reliant on killing certain units in Melee with only CHARACTERS massively limits how often you can score this, and who against. Your Characters can be built to be melee beatsticks, but they can only be in so many places at once. Whilst it does have a slight advantage of being a pseudo-combination of Assassination and Bring It Down, it suffers too much from it’s restrictions.
Shadow Operations - For The Dark Gods
One INFANTRY or BIKER unit can perform this Action at the end of your Movement Phase provided they are wholly within a Table Quarter that hasn’t been Dedicated, and are within at least 3” of said Quarter. The Action is completed at the start of your next Command Phase, or at the end of the turn if the unit is ObSec. You then Dedicate the Quarter to one of the 4 Gods, and if you have a MARK OF CHAOS it must be to that God. Your units wholly within that Quarter gain +2Ld, unless they have a MARK that doesn’t match the God of that Quarter. At the end of the game, you get VP for each Dedicated Quarter- 2 VP for 1, 5 VP for 2, 9 VP for 3, and 14 VP for all 4. A good alternative to Retrieve Nachmund, with a similar range of effect and better scoring, though taking longer on non-ObSec units (though they do then have the advantage of not being able to fail the Action due to numbers). The main issue with this one becomes the requirement of the centre of the Quarter, meaning your foe can attempt to block off your positioning, especially if you’re looking to get a unit Deep Striking there.
These are rules that will be commonly found across multiple, if not all, units in the Chaos Marine Codex.
All your DAEMON ENGINES are (surprisingly) DAEMONS, have a 5++, and heal 1 Wound in each of your Command Phases, granting them a handy nice survivability boost as well as way to stay in the battle that little bit longer.
Better Rapid Fire for Bolt Weapons. As well as being able to shoot double shots at half range as normal, you can also double the shots if you are INFANTRY that Remained Stationary, or all the time if you’re a TERMINATOR or BIKER. These don’t stack, so your Terminators standing still in half range don’t magically get 12 shots each, but the flexibility or straight up firepower boost to many units lets you drown your foe in light firepower. Capitalise by getting your Infantry in strong firing lines so once they plant their feet they can fire away with no downsides.
Your standard ‘Deep Strike’ rule– Your standard ‘Deep Strike’, arriving anywhere on the battlefield more than 9” away from enemy models. Useful to get into position be it for charges, shooting or objectives.
Not really a rule but a Keyword, however enough units have this, alongside the DAEMON Keyword, which interact with certain other rules in the books. In addition these units all have a 5++ for an extra layer of defence.
Again, not really its own entity here, but enough units have this to warrant it being here and not typed up several more times. Units with this have a 6” Aura that imposes -1 Ld to enemy units in range, a nice way to help inflict Morale Casualties a little bit easier. It won’t be game changing, but can add up over the course of the game.
Added via the Balance Dataslates, reducing all AP against you by 1. Everything in the book has this (even CULTISTS, but whatever) and this really lends you a strong defensive bonus against common AP weaponry, as well as a chance to save against even high AP weapons. Doesn’t stack with any other AP reducing effects (like the as-printed Iron Warriors Legion Trait), so you aren’t able to get silly in terms of reductions, but it’s still a powerful and nearly always useful effect.
Your “Pure” army rule, this gives you two benefits. The first is a simple +2 Shots to any Flame type weapon, which helps bump up both their reliability and max output a decent bit.
The second is the more interesting, which grants you Exploding 6s depending on the Weapon Type you use, and in what Battle Round-
- Wanton Destruction- At the beginning of Round 1, applies to your Heavy, Rapid Fire and Grenade weapons.
- Wanton Massacre- In Round 2, you must change to this, benefitting your Rapid Fire, Assault and Pistols weapons.
- Wanton Slaughter- In Round 3 you may shift to this, and in Round 4 you must. Once you’re here you stay here for the rest of the game, improving your Assault, Pistol and Melee weapons.
This effectively means as the game goes on you’ll be getting exploding 6s for the Weapons that fit the “theme” of the Battle Round, ie starting off at longer range, moving to your mid range weapons, before ending in the swirl of melee. Whilst this doesn’t help too much in making your attacks do damage or punch through tough things, it does enable to you tear through lighter units with ease, stack on extra potential damage with bigger weapons, and over the course of the game this will generate a lot of extra output that can help wear down a foe by its very nature of tilting the numbers game in your favour. It’s also worth pointing out that whilst there are some ways to have multiple stages active at once, they don’t stack (ie if you’re in Destruction and Massacre, you don’t get double exploding 6s for Rapid Fire weapons)
Again just worth putting here to avoid repeats, any unit that takes a Chaos Icon gets the ICON Keyword (obviously), letting them interact with certain other rules, as well as granting them +1 to Combat Attrition checks, effectively autopassing any tests unless under Half-strength or with any negative modifiers, and even then it gives a decent little buffer. More importantly it will unlock MARK abilities, making them very important for such units. At a paltry 5pts for units that can take them, they are pretty much mandatory for MARK units, and not a bad investment if you’ve leftover points towards the end of list building.
Units marked with a * are CORE
Units marked with a ^ are DAEMON ENGINES
Units marked with a ˣ are DAEMONKIN
Some units have multiple datasheet entries for what generally amounts to the same unit with some different wargear options (cos reasons). As such some datasheets below that have bullet points are still classed as separate entries for rules purposes (like Rule of Three), but a lot of what applies to one applies to all, eg Taking a Predator Destructor doesn’t mean you can only take 2 more Predator Annihilators.
For ease, a PSYKER will be denoted as Know/Cast/Deny with their numbers eg a 2/2/1 PSYKER Knows 2 Powers, Casts 2 Powers, and can Deny 1 Power
For 135pts base (technically 120, but you have to pay the 15pts for a Mark) you get a decently tough T6 8W MONSTER profile with 3+/5++ (4++ vs Ranged), and packs 6A at Str 7 for melee. Comes stock with Reroll 1s to Hit for CORE and Fearsome for some utility, as well as being a 1/1/1 PSYKER unless they’re KHORNE, in which case they trade out the Psychic options for raw stats, getting +1 Str and Attack. They hit out with their 2 Malefic Talons at -1 D2 +1 Attack each, or for 10pts can swap one of them for a Sword (+1 -3 Dmg 3) or Axe (+2 -2 Dmg 3). Generally the Sword is the better option as an all purpose weapon, already hitting the “magic” Str 8 and with good AP, though the KHORNE option might prefer the Axe to hit the Str 10 breakpoint. Finally they can walk/hoof it with 8” Mv, or get +4” and FLY for a not insignificant 35pts, but the boost is often worth it. An all round great choice for both buffs and combat, all before Traits and Relics, they’re often a fairly costly but effective leader.
A 2/2/1 PSYKER that also sports a 12” Aura that inflicts an additional Mortal Wound when enemy units suffer Perils, and he can get +2 to Cast his Malefic powers if he inflicts D3 Mortal Wounds to a non-CULTIST or DAEMONKIN INFANTRY unit within 3” when manifesting, making his potent spells more reliable. He’s not the toughest thing around, but his 5++ helps, and offensively he is as you’d expect a support Marine Character to be, though fighting enemy PSYKERS is fun as they take a Perils from his Staff of Possession (otherwise a Force Stave) if they get any attacks allocated to them. Don’t even need to hit, which is fun. At 105pts he’s pretty well costed for the buffs he brings, as the Malefic Discipline is filled with some very strong powers.
Your main foot slogging beatstick and buffing character, with a respectable 6W and 6A, a 4++ and the standard reroll 1s to Hit Aura for CORE within 6”. Both of them can choose from the Melee Weapons list- a Chainsword (except the Terminator version), Power Axe/Fist/Maul/Sword, and a new weapon in the Tainted Chainaxe, which strikes at +1 -1 D2. Either of these is a solid and dependable support choice, or can be geared for some beatstick punch, and with their relatively flexible wargear choices, have a good variety to “build your own”
- Power Armour- 90pts nets you the standard 3+ Sv version, who can also bring a Plasma Pistol or a mighty Thunder Hammer. Unfortunately, there is no Jump Pack or Bike option, limiting their mobility quite a bit, meaning you’ll need to think a little more ahead in terms of getting them to where you want them to be.
- Terminator Armour- For 15pts you trade out 1” of Mv and some Transport options for Warp Strike, +1W and a 2+ Sv, a nice boon indeed. Comes stock with an Exalted Power Axe (a Power Axe with D2), as well as the option to take a Chainfist or Lightning Claw instead, and a Combi-bolter which you can swap for another Combi-weapon. Generally the Axe is the better choice unless looking to upgrade something particular to a Relic. Being a bit tougher makes him a better anchor for your lines, or ideal to lead a spearhead from Deep Strike, as the Mv reduction and transport limitations aren’t the end of the world.
Your other PSYKER support unit, again a 2/2/1, and sharing the same statline as the Master of Possessions above, but without his special rules or Invulnerable. You do get access to the Dark Hereticus Discipline, which is still home to some very potent Powers, and well worth considering into your gameplan.
- Power Armour- Comes with a Force Stave. That’s it. No options or anything else for this guy.
- Terminator Armour- Alternatively, pay 15pts more for the same deal as the Lord above, though here the 5++ from the Armour gets some use. These guys also have some wargear options, able to trade out their Stave for an Axe or Sword, and coming with a choice of Combi weapon. They can also bring a Chaos Familiar to let them reroll a Psychic Test once per game, a useful thing to have for a clutch power.
Effectively a Lord that rides around on a Daemon Spider Scorpion thing (it’s metal, that’s all that matters). With a robust T6 9W and a 2+/5++ courtesy of Daemon Engine, they are tough to shift, and at 12” Mv can get to where they need to be quickly. On the offence he packs either a Baleflamer or 3 shot Autocannon for ranged, and up close he strikes with his Impaler Chainglaive for 6A at WS2 Str 6 -3 D2, with +1 to Wound on the turn they charged, and some Mechatendrils for some light attacks. His Helstalker also fights with a decent 4 Attacks at Str 6 -2 D2, and has the choice of a Magma Cutter ala a Maulerfiend, or a Techno-virus Injector, giving all your Melee attacks +1 Dmg vs VEHICLES, making him ideal for chopping up tanks. Speaking of tanks, your Corrupt Machine Spirits ability can choose any VEHICLE within 9” in the Command Phase, granting +1 to Hit if a friendly LEGION, or if an enemy you roll XD6, where X is their Wounds Characteristic, inflicting a Mortal Wound for each 6, to a max of 6. Should you kill an enemy VEHICLE in Melee, you can use it twice per Command Phase, but each VEHICLE can only be affected by it once per turn. Overall the Lord Discordant packs a mean punch and offers solid support, though at 175pts they are on par with Daemon Princes, who are usually a bit better in combat and offer more general buffs, so it depends what you need in your force.
Another support piece, here to heal and buff your VEHICLES, granting them +1 to Hit to one within 3” in your Command Phase, and heals D3 to a VEHICLE within 3” at the end of your Movement Phase. With 5W and a 2+ Sv, he’s reasonably tough, and can pack a surprising punch at close range, with 3 Pistols (Plasma, a Flamer version, and one that’s a 6” Range Meltagun that’s always on), and whilst only WS3 he does have 5A with either an Exalted Axe or for 15pts a Thunder Hammer, on top of his Mechatendrils, so he can put a dent into smaller units looking to do him harm. Surrounded by tanks to buff and heal, he’ll provide a solid amount of support, and a not insignificant counter charge threat, for only 80pts base.
Your PRIEST Character, he also brings along his two minions for even easier buffing times, making them go off on a 2+ so long as one is still alive. The Apostle himself also grants his Ld 10 in a 6” Aura to all CORE, DAEMONKIN and CULTISTS, and is solid in a fight with 5A at WS2, hitting at +2 -1 D2 with his Crozius. His 4++ will keep him around for a fair while, and also applies to his Disciples, who despite their T3 and 1W, will still offer a nice form of ablative wounds. Whilst limited to only 1 Prayer a turn, sans upgrades, the utility they provide are strong, though he himself is fairly costly for that output at 95pts.
A pseudo combat Character who comes with a Combi-melta and Exalted Axe, and offers that important Reroll 1s to Wound Aura for CORE units. He does have 5A at WS2, but with only his innate 5W and 3+ to keep him around, he is a bit light on defence, so be wary of that. The set wargear does also limit him somewhat, and at 90pts he’s fairly costly, but the Aura alone is well worth it.
A set of CULTIST leaders for 100pts, made up of a Demagogue (A PRIEST), a Mindwitch (a 1/1/1 PSYKER), an Iconarch (who gives +2 Ld and Rerolls 1 to Hit to all CULTISTS within 6”), and 2 Blessed Blades, who defend their masters with 2A at Str 4 -3 D2 each. They bring a decent enough spread of buffs, and make a good alternative to a Sorcerer or Apostle if you’re only looking for particular powers. At 100pts they aren’t too cheap, and being Cultists they only have their T3 and 6+ to fall back on, so even those with extra Wounds will die if caught out.
Abaddon the Despoiler
The Warmaster himself, and he is quite rightly an absolute terror on the field. A CHAOS LORD with a ton of rules and Keywords, defensively he’s beefy as anything, with T6 9W and a 2+/4++, alongside only being able to take 3 Wounds per Phase, makes him incredibly difficult to shift, if not impossible for some armies. Offensively he has the Talon of Horus for some anti Marine firepower (24” Assault 4 Str 5 AP-1 D2), whilst up close he packs an eyewatering 8 Attacks at Str 6 Base, using either the Talon for horde clearance (Str User AP-4 D1 but double attacks) or Drach’nyen for basically anything else (+3 AP-4 Dmg3, with 6s to Wound doing an additional D3 Mortals). But that’s not all, as both these aspects are boosted with his Mark of Chaos Ascendant, giving him all four Marks of Chaos with their respective boosts (so making him +1 Str in the First Round of Combat, Fight First, -1 to Wound against Str 6 or Str 12+ attacks, and reducing the first failed Save each turn into Dmg 0), making him even more beastly. And he buffs too, giving all CHAOS CORE (yup, just flat CHAOS) units within 6” Reroll 1s to Hit and +1 to Charges, and has a Chapter Master esque ability in the Command Phase to give Reroll all Hits to an ASTARTES CORE or CHARACTER within 6”, bumping up to include reroll all Wounds as well if BLACK LEGION. Add on his Warlord Traits, and he gets even more boosting benefits (though the buffing ones only affect BLACK LEGION, so are only handy for himself), making him a fantastic all round choice. He must be your Warlord of course, but he becomes an AGENT OF CHAOS when he does, letting him be put into any army without removing their Trait (though not gaining his own, but he doesn’t really need it). Outside of Warp Strike, he is slow with a paltry 6” Mv, and at 300pts he’s pricey, but consider him a tidal wave- he’s coming for you from a distance, but when he gets close he can cause untold devastation, and is all but impossible to stop.
A BLACK LEGION CHAOS LORD, and the only one with a working Jump Pack it seems (urgh), Haarken is actually competent now. He packs a Chapter Master style ability for a unit within 6” to get full rerolls to Hit (and Wounds too if RAPTORS), and his Herald of the Apocalypse causes enemy units to lose 2 models on failed Morale when within 6” of him. With a Dmg 2 Lightning Claw he might have a chance of killing enemy CHARACTERS in Melee to activate his Head Taker rule, giving him +1 Attack and +6” to his Herald Aura whenever he does so, and at range the Helspear is only 12” Range and Assault 1, but does hit every unit under a line between him and the target for Str 7 -3 Dmg 3, giving him some niche anti-elite punch. He’s not that cheap at 150pts, but given his upgrades over the basic Lord, he’s actually a decent buy for his improved output and the extra utility he can offer.
A 140pt CHAOS LORD for the RED CORSAIRS, with +1T and A, who carries an Exalted Power Axe, as well as the Tyrant’s Claw, giving him a Assault-Type Heavy Flamer for shooting, or a -2 D1 double Attack Melee option for thinning out lesser Infantry. He also offers a Chapter Master buff, and once per game can cast either a Smite or any power from the Dark Hereticus Discipline. He’s fairly costly, albeit with some decent buffs to his statline, his overall effectiveness is as a Jack of all trades leader, rather than as a straight dedicated melee beatstick.
A support style Character who can do an Action to make a CORE INFANTRY unit without a MARK within 3” meatier, running from end of Movement to end of Shooting, and giving them either +1 S, T or A on a D3, respectively. Fortunately, his Surgeon Acolyte assists him, letting you roll 2D3 and picking one whilst it’s alive. Otherwise Fabius has a Lord statline (though isn’t one in terms of Keywords), with +1Str. He doesn’t have an Invulnerable, but does heal D3 wounds in your Command Phase, and has a 5+++, so is still reasonably hard to shift. He can do a bit of work at range and up close, with his Xyclos Needler shooting at Pistol 3 18” Str 2 -2 D2, but always wounds non VEHICLES/TITANICS on a 2+, whilst up close he hits people with his Rod of Torment for -2 Dmg 3, and an additional 4A at Str 4 -1 D1 from his Chirurgeon. He’s not the hardest or killiest of HQs, but can make for some nasty units that wander about, and at only 90pts, as well as being an AGENT OF CHAOS, means he can be a good secondary Character for your army.
He’s still here, weirdly, acting as an AGENT OF CHAOS and packing his beefed up Bolt (+6” Range with 6 Shots and AP -1) and Plasma (+2 Shots and D2 without getting hot) Pistols. He has a Chaos Lord’s statline, with a 4++ and 1-3s to Hit failing on the defensive side. He can Fall Back and Advance and still shoot, so he’s always able to bring his guns to bear against a suitable foe, and for some extra utility he can go into Strategic Reserves once a game, at the end of the Shooting or Fight phase. Finally, whenever your opponent would gain a CP (outside of the Battle-forged Bonus), you can roll a D6, and on a 4+ they don’t get it, adding a nice bit of disruption to your force. He’s reasonably cheap at 90pts, but offers no direct buffs to your forces, and is completely lacking in Melee, so he’s not exactly an anchor for a battleline.
Lucius the Eternal
Take a Chaos Lord, and for a measly 30pts more (well, 15 given the Mark of Slaanesh), and make him terrifying. At first glance he only has 5 Attacks, but against anything with WS3 or 2, he makes 8A instead, as well as getting +1 Dmg to boot. He already attacks with what amounts to a Master-crafted Power Sword, so against anything elite he can absolutely tear through them. On top of that, his Lash of Torment picks an enemy within 3” at the start of the Fight Phase and makes them Fight Last, a great compliment to your existing Fight First, to ensure Lucius, or whoever he’s supporting nearby, will rarely go after a foe. Finally, should your opponent bring him down, they take D3 Mortal Wounds, or D6 if they roll equal or greater than their Ld on 2D6. That works at Range as well, making it especially funny if he’s out of position. He also brings a Doom Siren for some extra range punch on his way in. All round, Lucius is a fantastic upgrade for a base Lord in an Emperor’s Children army, and very cost efficient too.
Khârn the Betrayer
The murder machine himself…sort of. A MARK OF KHORNE LORD with +2 Strength who ignores all Hit and WS modifiers, and Fights Twice, a powerful ability for extra output and Pile In/Consolidation prowess, though remember if you Charge you can still only fight what you declared. His Plasma Pistol is always overcharged, but only does 1 Mortal Wound to himself on a 1 to Hit now, whilst Gorechild hits at -4 D2, making him reasonable at killing heavier infantry, but not spectacular. Finally, he does 2 Mortal Wounds to one friendly unit of your choice within 3″ at the end of your Movement Phase on a 2+ for…reasons. Its a painfully annoying rule, but fine. Overall he is a fairly costly upgrade over a normal Lord that is generally worth it in terms of output, but he’s not the most cost efficient damage dealer, and being relatively flimsy makes him a prime target once he’s done his job.
Your basic INFANTRY, sporting your expected Marine statline, and a nice 3A for some extra Melee punch. Basic weapons consist of either a Boltgun or Chainsword, and they have access to your standard array of Special and Heavy Weapons, 1 per 5 (but no duplicates), letting you kit them out for a variety of ranged roles. You’ve also got the option for a Balefire Tome for 25pts to make one of them a 1/1/1 PSYKER, an ICON, and a Heavy Chainaxe for +4 -4 D2 (albeit -1 to Hit) for some extra melee punch. The Champ can have a pick of Melee weapons, or a unique Daemon Blade for -2 D2 and 6s to Wound doing an extra Mortal, helping you punch out slighter harder targets. An all rounder unit with a good variety of options and playstyles, they are reasonably costly for 18pts, especially given the lethal nature of the game, so don’t go overboard on their gear, instead think about what they will be best suited for, and align them that way.
For 5pts you get one of the most basic Infantry in the game, with average stats, a 6+ Sv, and that’s about it. Whilst they do have some interactions with certain rules, you’ll generally want them as either Objective campers, Action caddies, or to cheaply fill out a Detachment for other things.
When you want a unit that makes John Carpenter proud. A more melee focused CULTIST unit, made up of 5-10 6pt Mutants, and 3-6 15pt Torments, these guys sport a much nicer T4 alongside a 6+++ for a bit of extra defence, and in your Command Phase you can revive either 3 Mutants or 1 Torment, so even a beleaguered unit can still be a nuisance. The Mutants don’t count towards Morale either, so they generally have to be killed to the last. Whilst only WS4, they do hit reasonably well, with the Mutants having 2A at Str -1 D1, and the Torments a much more impressive Str 5 -2 D2, though their 2D3 Attacks makes them a little unreliable. On top of all this, they have Fearsome, making them a useful shock assault or melee support unit to help pile on casualties. They aren’t without downsides though, as they can’t perform Actions or Embark on Transports, and being CULTISTS don’t interact with many other rules. They can also add up in points surprisingly quickly, so if going all in, bear that in mind when using them.
Take a Legionaire but clad them in Terminator Armour, giving them the usual buffs you’d expect. They come stock with a Combi-bolter and Accursed Weapon, a respectable +1 -3 D1 +1A Melee weapon, making them ideal for softening up lighter infantry at range, and dealing with most things up close, albeit via a thousand cuts. They have some wargear options which are per 5, with Ranged options replacing their Combi-bolter of 1 Reaper Autocannon or Heavy Flamer, 1 Combi-plasma, 1 can have another Accursed Weapon, 2 Combi-flamers, and 2 Combi-meltas. Melee wise you can upgrade your Accursed Weapons to up to 3 Power Fists, or 1 Chainfist. If you’re thinking “But that’s exactly what’s in the box!”, you’d be correct. With the consolidation of the weapons to a flat profile, and all the upgrades only costing 5pts a go, Terminators offer a good level of flexibility for a reasonable 33pts each. Whilst they won’t carve through the toughest foes around, they make an excellent speartip and midboard holder, being tough to shift and able to contribute decently at both range and melee.
A “Champion” type CHARACTER who gets a 6” Heroic Intervention and rerolls Wounds vs CHARACTERS in Melee, which with his 6A at WS and Str 7 -3 D2 isn’t shabby. He even does Mortal Wounds on 6s to Hit, doing 2 instead of normal Damage. He’s cheap at 65 pts, but a glass cannon with no Invulnerable, and offers literally nothing other than more melee. It’s decent Melee, but you’ll probably look elsewhere.
Melee beatsticks extraordinaire, with a healthy S/T5, 3W with a 3+/5++, Fearsome, and tasty 5A at -2 D2, these guys will blend most things if they get to them, and with a 9” Mv, they’re certainly going to get there fast. They do have limited Transports though, and whilst they can have an ICON, they can’t be Marked to make them beefier (which is probably for the best). They also aren’t CORE, which locks them out of a number of buffs, though this is often made up for by their DAEMONKIN nature. At 28pts, they are very cheap, and despite being Melee only, they do that very well, and can’t be ignored by your foes, especially given their cost effectiveness and speed.
A Legionaire that gets +1W, an Accursed Weapon, and the first time they kill a unit they are all 3 stages of Let The Galaxy Burn, which is a neat bonus, albeit somewhat limited in application, especially given their limited options, with 2 per 5 able to upgrade to a Plasma Pistol, and 2 per 5 able to go for a Combi-weapon instead, all of which cost 5pts. You can also mix in an ICON as well for a further 5pts, and one can go all Melee with another Accursed Weapon in place of their Boltgun. At 25pts, they’re not cheap, and have a limited role that others can fill (mainly Terminators for their better save, ranged and Warp Strike capability). They do have the advantage of being Power Armoured for Rhino use, and being able to be Marked and carry an ICON lets them leverage some nasty potential from those rules, so they certainly aren’t terrible, just something to compare to others for similar jobs.
With a number of different options Helbrutes can fill a few different roles, be it a combat threat, a shooting platform or a mix of the two. Decently tough, and leaving them alive but wounded makes them more reliable thanks to Frenzy granting them reroll 1s to Wound. All their Melee weapons are free so it’s up to you whether you want balance with the Fists, raw power with the Hammer or more attacks with the Scourge. They offer good support for your lines for melee or ranged, though dedicated fire will shift them eventually. At 105pts before ranged options (ranging from 5-20), they’re fairly cheap and useful for potentially plugging a missing gap in your army.
Legionaries with built in MARK OF SLAANESH, they can all take Sonic Blasters in lieu of a Boltgun for 5pts, upgrading their Boltgun to Assault 3 and AP-1, alongside being a Sonic Weapon, which grants +1Dmg at half range, making them well suited for dealing with all manner of targets. They can also take a Blastmaster for some flexibility, either 3 Shots at Str 8 -3 Dmg 3, or 6 Shots at Str 5 -2 D1, either profile being Sonic. The Champ has similar options as his counterparts, though can also have a Doom Siren, a very nasty 12” Range D6 autohitting shots at Str 5 -3 D1 Sonic. Finally the unit can have an ICON. Well suited for both ranged and melee fighting, Noise Marines can get quite expensive when kitted up, especially if going for lots of Sonic Blasters, which makes for a potent, but high costing firebase.
Take a Space Marine and give him the MARK OF KHORNE, make him Str 5 and 5A each, and kit him out with an AP-2 D1 Chainblade and a Bolt Pistol, and you have a Berzerker. That’s pretty much it. They’re not exactly a rules filled or tricksy unit, they’re a blunt instrument that cleaves through light units with a tonne of decent AP attacks. An ICON is pretty much an autotake, making them even better in Melee alongside the Attrition buff, but the only other options you have are up to 2 Plasma Pistols (not really worth doing). They will struggle to deal with heavier units outside of sheer weight of attacks and AP, but they do that well at least. At 22pts they aren’t too cheap for their output, and being a Marine they tend to die somewhat quickly, so use terrain or transports to your advantage.
The first of the DAEMON ENGINES, this speedy bug thing zips along with a nice 12” Mv, and a respectable S/T7 and 9W (meaning no degrading). With 6A at -3 D2, they are good for chewing through or tying up heavier Infantry, and can soften them on their way in with their 2 Excruciator Cannons (36” Assault 3 Str 6 -2 D2 each). They even provide a +1 to Cast for friendly PSYKERS within 9”, so they can offer support to boot. They do explode on a 5+ however, so keep them at a relatively safe distance to your forces where possible, and leverage that to your advantage by getting them stuck in and tying up units. At 105pts, they are cheap for the utility they provide, and can punch above their weight in many instances.
Cheap masses of flesh and teeth that are quite tough for their fairly meagre 25pts, as though they only a 5+, if ever one is wounded but not killed after an enemy unit has finished their Ranged or Melee attacks, that model immediately heals all their wounds. At 4 Wounds a pop, that makes them a tough nut to crack with low Dmg weapons, and even random weapons run the risk of rolling low and then doing nothing as the Spawn heals up. With a decent, albeit random melee punch, they are a solid fire and forget distraction, used to absorb firepower that might have gone elsewhere. If they die, they don’t cost you much, whilst if they stick around they can cause some mayhem in combat or tie things up.
Legionaries on Bikes, that’s kind of it really. The extra Wound, Toughness and Mv helps out a fair bit, and 30pts keeps them fairly cost effective. Always go for the Chainsword over the Bolt Pistol for extra Melee punch, and you find yourself with a rapid speartip unit that can press down on the foe and carve through lighter screens, alongside their Combi-bolters. Only 2 per unit, no matter the size, can take a Special or Combi-weapon however, so their ranged punch is lacking, leaving them only really suited for harassment and light combat duties unless you’re really looking to load them up with MARKS, an ICON and some Champ upgrades.
Give a Legionaire a Jump Pack, and whilst forced to stick with a Chainsword/Pistol combo, that’s no bad thing. 2 can take a Special Weapon, and the Champ can bring a Power Sword or Fist for a bit of extra melee heft. With Fearsome and a fairly cheap 21pts, they are an efficient and quick way to nab or steal Objectives and tie up backline units. They won’t do too much damage, but their utility generally outweighs that downside.
Raptors that trade out CORE for DAEMONKIN, and eschew all ranged for 2 Warp Claws (effectively 2 Lightning Claws, but their attacks are built into their profile). They also have the more generally useful Warpflames ability rather than Fearsome, which forces your opponent to roll off with you whenever a non-VEHICLE/MONSTER unit Falls Back from you, making them stay in combat should you win. This makes them fantastic for bogging down important shooting units, if they aren’t outright killed by a flurry of attacks. They aren’t cheap at 28pts, but being quick and quite punchy affords them a nice role in the army, and one your opponent needs to be aware of lest they get the jump on some key units.
Starting at 125pts base with their Heavy Bolters, they can trade them out for a Havoc Autocannon (it has AP-2), or for 5pts take a Lascannon, Missile Launcher or Reaper Chaincannon. Their Champ has access to both Melee and Special weapons for a bit more ranged punch, but that’s your lot, with no ablative wounds available, making each casualty a painful one. They don’t suffer penalties for moving and shooting with their Heavy Weapons though, meaning hiding them out of line of sight or in a Transport before bringing their guns to bear is a sound strategy, just be aware of their average move, lest you get out manoeuvred or can’t see anything. A decent way to add some strong firepower to your lists, though they will often be target number one once their deeds are done, and T5 won’t take them too far.
More akin to a min Dreadnought rather than INFANTRY, Obliterators are the last word in firepower for the Chaos army. With a beefy S/T5 and 5W, with a 2+/5++, even their max of 3 models in a unit can be hard to get rid of. They can defend themselves well in Melee with 4A at Str x2 AP-3 D2, but their real power is at range. Whilst all their Fleshmetal Guns are 24” Range, they can move and shoot without penalty despite being Heavy, and have a choice of 3 profiles for all manner of targets. Light Infantry are blazed down by the Warp Hail, for 9+D6 Shots at Str 5 -1 D1, Medium Infantry are dealt with by the Ruinous Salvo for 3+D3 Str 7 -2 D2 Shots, and even elite units and tanks aren’t safe thanks to the Focused Malice shots, for D3 Shots at Str 9 -3 D4. Whilst the number of shots isn’t always reliable, the set stats elsewhere ensures you know what you’re doing when you target a foe. Even being tagged in combat won’t help your opponent, as they can Shoot into their Engagement Range, albeit with a -1 to Hit, meaning tagging or fighting them is a risky prospect if they can’t be killed. All this for only 90pts, making them really quite cheap for what they can do. Whilst they are slow at 5” and with limited Transport options, Warp Strike can help alleviate that somewhat, but regardless they make for a solid firebase that can cripple if not outright remove most things that enter their radius.
An expensive battle tank/transport hybrid that degrades badly in terms of Mv and BS, but at a whopping T9 with 16W and a 2+ Sv, it’s often hard to damage it in the first place. Land Raiders do generally need to be transporting something however, with its average 10/5 Capacity (Infantry/Terminators and Possessed respectively), given you’re paying a large amount of points for the privilege. If you want your heavier infantry to be carted around this is the only option, but then you get an “all your eggs in one basket” issue. Whilst its hull armament of a Twin Heavy Bolter isn’t that exciting, on the sponsons it has two Twin Soulshatter Lascannons (Lascannons with +2 Dmg), it can contribute decently to anti tank should you need it. One thing to consider if looking at the transport side of things, is whilst that protection is nice, consider you could bring a Land Raider to protect 5 Terminators, or just bring 8 more Terminators for the same 265pts, so bear that in mind.
A big gun that masquerades as a tank, relatively cost-effective for its output at 130pts, albeit short ranged and beholden to the whims of multiple D6 Dmg, though 3+D3 Shots makes it more reliable in that aspect at least. Susceptible to being tied up due to that short range, and the Demolisher being Blast means it will be shut down pretty much for the rest of the game if tagged, so be sure to accept that loss or screen out if you can, but otherwise can be useful as a nasty threat down a firing lane or to provide support to units that can deal with infantry and protect its flanks. T8 and 12W make it fairly survivable as well, so it should get in range to use its gun at least a few times.
Both variants of Predator can take the same sponsons, be it 2 Heavy Bolters or 2 Lascannons (or nothing, but that’s rare), it’s the main armament that’s different. A slightly better than average Vehicle profile (T8, 11W, 3+), they won’t hold up to truly potent anti tank outside of some lucky saves, but can still withstand lighter damage weapons to a degree, and are at least more robust than other tanks out there.
The anti-infantry version of the Predator…sort of. Packing a Dmg 3 Autocannon with 2D3 Shots, the Destructor is pretty good against most vehicles and heavy infantry. It won’t be clearing hordes any time soon, and the AP -1 is a downside, but the good amount of shots means it can chip away with that reliable flat 3 damage. It pales somewhat in comparison to the Forgefiend offensively due to the Ectoplasma being better AP for the same cost, and whilst the higher Toughness, Movement and Range is nice, it’s often comparable to the Daemon Engine aspects of the Forgefiend anyways, and with a similar cost at 140pts before sponsons, it’s often more expensive.
The anti-tank version for 10pts cheaper, coming with a Twin Soulshatter Lascannon as its turret of choice, making it fairly reliable at tank hunting, albeit with limited shots. It’s not a bad choice if really required for anti anti-tank, but similar to the Destructor it can often fall a little by the wayside compared to the Forgefiend due to its consistency for similar cost.
Straight from a Heavy Metal Album Cover, the Daemon Spider Tank is a strange thing. With a good profile, solid shooting and hefty combat punch, some flexible wargear options plus decent survivability with T7 and 14W, on paper they are good. However, you’re paying a fair bit for this “Jack of All Trades” flexibility compared to the cheaper, more focused Daemon Engines, and add to that it has a relatively slow speed, harsh degradation, and a massive footprint making it difficult to move around and hide. It’s by no means a bad choice, but similar to the Land Raider, in trying to do a bit of everything it suffers by merely being ok at them all, whilst paying the points to do them all despite being unable to do them all at once.
The first of the Dinobots, with guns for arms and optional gun face. With T7 and 12W, it’s reasonably tough and packs either 2 Hades Autocannons for 8 Str 8 -2 D2 shots, or 2 Ectoplasma Cannons for 2D3 Str 7 -3 Dmg 3 Shots. Either is a good option and offers some much needed long range support to the rest of the army, be it for anti heavy infantry or anti tank. It has some melee bite (giddit) with its Jaws, with 5A at Str 7 -1 D2, but it is not a melee machine, and you can swap the Jaws for another Ectoplasma Cannon for 15pts. At 160 for the Autocannons, or 140 for the Ectoplasma, it offers a cheap and relatively reliable source of fire support to help chip away at heavier units that your other forces may struggle with. Be wary of being tagged though, as it needs support to get out, and with its 8” degrading move it’s not getting away from much, so screen if you can, or have units nearby to support.
The second Dinobot, being a melee beasty. The same defensive stats as the Forgefiend, it trades its guns for a 12” base Move, that ignores Charge modifiers, and has 6A at Str 14 -3 D3+3 Dmg, making it a top notch combat monster capable of ripping apart most things fairly easily should it make contact, all for a fairly reasonable 140pts. It also comes with 2 Magma Cutters (6” Range, always-on Meltaguns), which it can swap for Lasher Tendrils for 10pts, giving it an additional 6A at Str7 -2 D1 for some extra horde clearance, either of which is down to personal preference, though really it doesn’t struggle that much with big things at that range whilst Infantry can bog it down a bit, so the Tendrils are a good extra to have for those scenarios, if you have the points. Little point in keeping these things back, so you’ll want to get them as far forward as possible as quickly as possible to cause as much damage before they inevitably get shot down.
Cheap and effective for 80pts the Rhino offers cheap ablative protection for your Infantry, ways to get them up the board, as well as something you don’t mind keeping back or moving around to hold Objectives. It doesn’t add much firepower to the army so don’t be afraid to Advance to hold or contest those objectives, or charge it into units to tie them up. Can bring some extra pintle weapons, but probably best to keep them cheap.
A Daemonic Dragon Pterosaur thing (look it’s pretty sweet) that zips around the battlefield causing trouble. With the same statline as the Fiends above, it’s fairly tough as far as AIRCRAFT go, alongside all the usual Flyer type rules of Hard to Hit etc. It can go into Hover mode, and can charge other planes even when in the sky. It always gets +1 to Hit vs units with FLY, for both it’s 5 Str 7 -2 D2 Melee Attacks (which become D4 vs AIRCRAFT), or it’s Hades Autocannon, though that is less likely to see use when you can have a Baleflamer instead, for 18” 2D3+2 (cos Let The Galaxy Burn) Str 6 -2 D2 autohitting shots. And really, if you’re taking the giant metal warp dragon that doesn’t breathe fire, are you even doing it right? At 165pts it’s not that expensive as far as Aircraft goes, and provides some good anti heavy infantry output, as well as the ability to swoop on enemy Aircraft and position for Turn 2 charges to tie things up unless dealt with.
A TITANIC KHORNE VEHICLE of dooooom! With a mighty T8 and 30W, he can be a nightmare to bust open with his 2+/5++ on top, let alone his heal from being a DAEMON ENGINE. Whilst not amazingly fast at 10/8/6, he has the usual Knight-esque things of being able to move over non-VEHICLES/MONSTERS, as well as Fall Back Shoot/Charge. Melee wise, as you’d expect from something Khornate, he’s a monster with 6/7/8 Attacks at Str 8, using either his Smash for x2 -4 Dmg6, or Slashing for -3 D2 and triple attacks, making him well suited for dealing with pretty much anything up close. He’s a danger at range as well with a variety of Heavy weapons; his arm toting either a Hades Gatling Cannon (48” 12 Shots Str 8 -3 D2) or Skullhurler (60” 2d6 Str 10 -3 Dmg 3 Blast), and his belly Cannon being either Gorestorm (24” 3D3 Str 9 -2 Dmg3 Blast), Daemongore (18” D6 Str 10 -4 D3+3 Dmg Blast) or Ichor (48” D6+3 Str 7 -3 D2 Blast), giving you lots of options for varying targets. You can also fire those Blast weapons into your Engagement Range, and get +1 to Hit, but you can Fall Back and Shoot anyways, so that’s kinda silly. Regardless of loadout, you do come in at a fairly hefty 575pts, and with a 3/4/5 in WS and BS, you do degrade fairly nastily, but with your overall output and defences, the Lord of Skulls should prove to be a potent unit for your forces.
100pts gets you a
Stargate Event Horizon Gravity Drive big fortification of eldritch power, granting you a number of benefits. Units wholly within 6” get a 4++, and this Aura increases in range by +3” each Battle Round, to a max of 18”. Non-CHAOS units within that same radius suffer -1 Ld. It also allows a PRIEST or PSYKER wholly within 9” to perform an Action at the end of your Movement Phase that gives you a CP when it completes at the end of the turn. In addition, when it completes you roll 2D6, and if it’s equal or less than their Ld they can swap out a Prayer or Power for something else, giving you some in-game flexibility. It can also offer a modicum of defence for itself, with 8 Str 8/7/6 Shots at -2 D2, albeit only 6” Range and BS4. Whilst it is targetable, it’s pretty solid with T8 and 14W, alongside 3+/4++. Be wary of being close though, as whilst those 4++ are nice, the D6 Mortals it inflicts within 6” if it explodes is not. A mixed bag, as whilst the buffs are nice, the wholly within limit for the Invulnerable limits your positioning somewhat, and being quite costly and targetable can make it somewhat easy to shut down, if not devastating to your own forces, so watch out for that.