Codex: Chaos Space Marines 10th Edition Crusade – The Goonhammer Review

You’ve read through the review of Codex: Chaos Space Marines. You’ve pored over each of the detachment reviews to find your favorite. You’ve even spied on the enemy’s thoughts on how to foil your best-laid plans. Now it’s time for the really important stuff:

How do those Crusade rules work?

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The Crusade rules for Chaos Space Marines in 9th edition were something of a mixed bag. The Battle Traits and agendas were largely cool, but the core mechanic felt like it had the right aim, but missed the mark. It felt a bit too much like Space Accounting for the marauding hordes of the Chaos Space Marine legions.

This new edition keeps the bones of the core mechanic, but tightens it up and refocuses it in an attempt to make it more fun at all stages of your campaign, and push you towards a more thematic way of interacting with your force. Do they manage to pull it off? Read on to find out.

As always, thank you to Games Workshop for providing us with a preview copy for this review.

Chaos Warbands

Chaos Warband Glory returns from 9th edition as the marquee mechanic for this Crusade supplement. If you missed it the last time around (or just forgot), you can select one character from your Order of Battle (not an Epic Hero, but you weren’t taking those in Crusade anyway, right?) and designate them as your Warband Champion. If you do, as that Warband Champion does stuff in games they’ll earn Chaos Points which you can invest in three separate Glory Categories: Personal Glory, Dark God Glory, and Warfleet Glory. Keeping these tracks as high as possible will pay dividends as you gain access to powerful bonuses and cheaper requisitions. Neglect one of them, though, and you’ll find yourself paying more for certain requisitions and having to scramble to deal with the consequences of failure.

Gaining Chaos Points is pretty straightforward: when you play a game with your Warband Champion, they’ll gain D3+3 Chaos Points from winning, 3 for a draw, or D3 for a loss. When you invest these points in one of the three categories you increase its Glory Level. It’s not unlimited growth though: at the end of every game, you’ll remove one point from each category. That means you can’t just ignore them once you’ve pushed them up a few levels.


So why care about these glory categories? Well when a category is at level 7 or 8, it’s considered Favoured–that’s good–but when it’s at 1 or 2 it’s considered Forsaken–that’s (mostly) bad. The effects of these break down as follows:

With high enough Personal Glory, you can use the Renowned Heroes and Ascension to Daemonhood requisitions for one less RP each. Additionally, after each battle where your Warband Champion kills a unit (the Champion specifically, not their bodyguard), you roll a d6. On a 6, that model gains a Battle Honour of your choice and its Ld characteristic becomes 5+. Thankfully, your Warband Champion can only benefit from this trick 3 times, but it’s incredibly strong when you consider how many things are Battle Honours–it may need some guard rails from your local arbitrator to see if things like Chaos Boons or Blackstone Upgrades from Pariah Nexus count. 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Find your Champion Forsaken, though, and Renowned Heroes and Ascension to Daemonhood each cost an additional RP, and after each battle, there’s a 1-in-6 chance that a rival challenges your Warband Champion. If this happens, you choose another character on your roster and roll off between them: the winner gains 3XP, while the loser is treated as having failed an Out of Action test. This can be something of a double-edged sword: in a shorter campaign, the failed Out of Action test can be brutal, but picking up 3XP on a character is a decent consolation prize. In a longer campaign, the hardest thing to deal with here is probably the tax on Renowned Heroes, since if you’re suffering on Chaos Points you’re probably not running to celebrate the strength of your champ by turning them into a Daemon Prince.

Find favor on the Dark God Glory track and you can use the Sacrifice to the Dark Gods and Mortal Empowerment requisitions for one less RP. Plus, you can roll a D6 after each battle and, on a 6, give a unit that killed something a Chaos Boon. At first glance, this seems like some solid stuff, especially with how strong the Chaos Boons are. But while this is one of the only ways to get Chaos Boons on your non-character units, only the Unit Champion model (like the Aspiring Champion in a Legionary squad) gets the boon, which limits how powerful it can be in practice.

If the Dark Gods have forsaken you, though, those same requisitions will cost one more RP. Even worse, wherever you make a Dark Pact you do so at -1 Ld. There’s a small consolation here: if a unit makes a Dark Pact and kills something, it gains 1XP, but even with that rider, this is by far the most brutal Forsaken punishment. Do not let your Dark God Glory hit Forsaken.

Similar to the other categories, being favoured on the Warfleet Glory track knocks 1RP off the cost of the Increase Supply Limit, Legendary Veterans, and Repair and Recuperate requisitions. This is a wild spread of RP reductions when you consider how often you’ll want to windmill slam Increase Supply Limit early in your campaign, or how nice having Legendary Veterans at 2RP will be later on. You also roll a D6 after every game, and on a 6 a unit from your army that killed something gets a Battle Trait or Weapon Enhancement of your choice, so long as they haven’t benefitted from this reward before. While this isn’t quite as powerful compared to the sheer power of the Personal Glory reward, it’s not limited to your Warband Champion, and even just being able to pick the trait or enhancement is super powerful if you’re rolling for honours (Beanith: And you should be).

In addition to the increase to the RP cost of those same requisitions, being Forsaken on the Warfleet Glory track requires you to roll a d6 after every game. On a 1, you’ll lose d3 requisition points, but on a 6, you’ll gain 1.

The way this plays in practice is very flavorful and cool. Neglect the Dark Gods at your own peril, because the cost of failure may well be more than you’re willing to pay. But when it comes to really pushing the Dark God Glory track, what have they really done for you lately? Once you’ve placated them, the real power is in Personal Glory, which you can use to advance your Warband Champion faster than most other heroes can dream of, while avoiding the potential of additional Battle Scars you’ll have to pay RP to clear. And as for the rest of your warfleet? If you’ve got the time to find supplies for them, that’s a bonus, I guess. But if you’re pressed for resources and have to choose between taking the spoils for yourself or sharing with your troops, I think we all know what any proper Chaos Lord would choose.

Glory Agendas

Once you’ve managed to become Favoured on one of the Glory categories, you can take on a Glory Agenda. Each of these is a sort of “mini-quest” that rewards your Warband Champion with the opportunity to obtain a Daemon Weapon, as well as a nice chunk of XP to boot. Each Glory track has its own Agenda that you can only attempt if you’re Favoured in that category. To succeed, you’ll need to complete two of three possible tasks over the course of the game. Try and fail, though, and you’ll lose three Favour with the associated Glory track, meaning you’ll have to invest some more Chaos points before you’re allowed to try again.

Those seeking Personal Glory can attempt the Warlord’s Glory agenda, which tasks your Warband Champion model (again, not their bodyguard unit) with fulfilling two of the following tasks: kill 12 Infantry models, kill two characters, or end the battle on an objective marker in your opponent’s deployment zone. This is just the right amount of a stretch: depending on the match-up and mission, accomplishing one of these will usually be pretty easy, but completing another requires just enough to line up that you’re going to have to put in the work to achieve it.

Iron Warriors Chaos Lord and Space Marines. Credit: SRM

If you’ve found favour with the Dark Gods, you can attempt Glory of the Gods, which requires two of the following to be completed: destroy six MONSTER or VEHICLE units in the fight phase, destroy five or more enemy models with Psychic attacks, and win the battle. That last one will often be in play, but reliably killing models with Psychic attacks will require you to bring units from a fairly narrow selection, and unless you’re playing Knights, Tyranid monster-mash, or something similar, there might not even be six big boys on the table. If you’re going to go for this, you’ll want at least one psyker (if not two or more) in your roster. Definitely the most situational of the three to achieve.

Finally, your Warfleet can demonstrate the Glory of Conquest. This one has you complete two of the following: at the end of a battle round, control at least one objective marker in each of No Man’s Land, your deployment zone, and your opponent’s deployment zone; have three units wholly within your opponent’s deployment zone at the end of the battle; and have more objective markers than your opponent at the end of the battle. Of the three, this is probably the easiest to complete, since you’ll probably just be doing these things during the normal course of your average game. That said, you’ll probably be devoting most of your Chaos points to other tracks.

Daemon Weapons

Complete your Glory Agenda, and your Warband gains access to a special category of Crusade Relics: Daemon Weapons. These are very powerful upgrades, and each Character on your Order of Battle can only have one. In exchange for these potent weapons, the bearer gains the Daemon Weapon ability, which gives all of their melee weapons the [HAZARDOUS] rule if they make a Dark Pact in the Fight phase and fail the test. Given how strong these are, though, that’s a very light tax. One final note: each of these is themed around a different Chaos god, and gives that god’s keyword to the bearer. But before you get excited, if you’re running the Pactbound Zealots detachment you’ll have to match the unit’s mark with the weapon’s mark. That means you can’t use this to get two keywords on the same unit.

Zaall, the Wrathful is Khornate fury incarnate, and passes that on to its bearer. When they Dark Pact in melee, their melee weapons gain +3 strength and +1 damage. This one’s very simple, but also very powerful: combine it with the Chaos Lord’s Chance for Glory ability and, once per game, their power fist or daemon hammer can hit at strength 12 AP-3 for a flat 3 damage per hit.

Q’o’ak the Boundless’s name may be unpronounceable, but the benefits are much more straightforward: the unit gets the Tzeentch keyword and rerolls hits and wounds when it makes a Dark Pact in the Fight phase. This is particularly good for a Chaos Lord with daemon hammer to try and fish for Devastating Wounds, but the effect is also generally good on anything and anyone ever in Warhammer.

Night Lords Terminators – Credit: RichyP

G’holl’ax the Decayed confers the Nurgle keyword and, presumably, a particularly nasty stench. The bearer gains [Anti-Infantry 3+] on its melee weapons when they make a Dark Pact in the Fight phase. At first glance, this one may seem like the first stinker (Condit: Reader, I’m just as upset about that pun as you are), but look again and you’ll see that it does two fairly powerful things: first, it makes paired accursed weapons or lightning claws much stronger into units like Gravis, Wraithguard, or Meganobz. But if you slam it on a Chaos Lord with a daemon hammer, you’re dealing Devastating Wounds on 3+s into infantry. There’s not much reason to use this on a model with a power fist or accursed crozius or similar, but access to the Anti-/Devastating combo is nothing to sneeze at.

Finally, we’ve got Thaa’ris and Rhi’ol, the Rapacious. As you might expect, the bearer gets the Slaanesh keyword from these jerks. And when they make a Dark Pact in the Fight phase their melee weapons get +3 attacks and [Lance]. This one is great at clearing out low or mid-toughness infantry, but can also be a nasty little surprise on a power fist or daemon hammer if you want to push some wounds through on a harder target.

Of the four, ZaallQ’o’ak, and Thaa’ris and Rhi’ol are useful on just about any weapon you want to put them on. G’holl’ax is a bit more situational: slap it on either a daemon hammer for the all-but-guaranteed devastating wounds, or an accursed weapon if you want rules for that plague weapon you bashed onto the new model for your Purge Chaos Lord. But regardless of which you pick, they’re worth the effort.


We’ve already talked about the Glory Agendas that benefit your Warband Champion, but the rest of your force has two others that they can benefit from. There’s a third “generic” agenda here, sure, but in keeping with Chaos workplace policies, all proceeds from that agenda go straight to your Warband Champion.

Claim and Despoil benefits your Warfleet at large. Your opponent will start the game by setting up three objectives in No Man’s Land (Beanith: or it could be your birthday and they put them in your deployment zone?) and your job is to send some mooks to get over there, pick them up over the course of a battle round, and then simply not get killed. Each unit that does so gets a tasty 3XP per objective held in their spiky mitts. You can also bring glory to the Warfleet by having a unit lug one of them back to your deployment zone, netting you 1 level of Warfleet Glory.

Blasphemous Ritual will be the go-to Agenda for every single Warband wanting free XP (Condit: And who doesn’t?) for just hammering the “Dark Pact” button on up to three separate Heretic Astartes Infantry units at every opportunity. You choose those units at the start of the battle, and every time they make a Dark Pact and pass the Ld check, they gain 1XP, to a max of 3. If all 3 units max out, your Dark God Glory level increases by 1. You’ll be using this one a lot, especially if your Dark God Glory starts getting dangerously close to the “Forsaken” part of the track.

Credit: PierreTheMime

Finally, Path to Glory is all about your Warband Champion and showering them in XP and a Personal Glory point for murdering characters (with a bonus for getting the Warlord), slaughtering 3 or more units, and just generally looking fabulous in the enemy deployment zone. Each objective they complete nets them 1XP, and if they gain 3XP or more, your Personal Glory track goes up by 1.

Battle Traits

There are four tables here, one for Warp Smith’s and Lord Discordants, one for non-Character, non-Damned Infantry, one for Damned units, and one for Vehicles. 

Warpsmith/Lord Discordant

Rites of Reforging is exactly what you expected when you saw that there was a Warpsmith-specific table: it lets you automatically pass an Out of Action test for a Vehicle. While this is a thematic Battle Trait, it’s frequently not that useful. Battle Scars are already relatively uncommon, and this is yet another way of mitigating them. But given how much harder they can be to remove in 10th Edition, this might be worth considering if you’re regularly running the Soulforged Warack detachment. Otherwise, it can frequently be something of a dead trait.

Warpsmith. Credit: Rockfish
Warpsmith. Credit: Rockfish

Machine Lord, on the other hand, is much more obviously useful. Friendly vehicles within 6” of the unit get to re-roll 1s to wound. This is a fantastic upgrade, especially if you’re running a Soulforged Warpack for access to +1 to wound on those vehicles. If you’re rolling on this table, this is almost certainly the one you’re looking for.

Infantry Units

Most of the options on this table are pretty good. They can’t go on Characters or Damned units, but that’s largely fine.

Despoilers Without Mercy offers +1 to the Ballistic Skill of a unit’s ranged weapons. While it’s very simple, it’s also very effective considering this can go on Havocs or Obliterators.

Each time a unit that is Destined for Glory is Marked for Greatness it gets an additional 3 XP. This will supercharge your ascension to Legendary rank if you can get it early, but the later in a unit’s progression it gains this trait, the less impactful it is. Something of a mixed bag, and probably a reason not to roll on this table for a unit’s third (or sixth, if it’s got access to Legendary rank) upgrade.

A unit of Trusted Hounds being led by a Character gains +1 OC for every model in the unit. While not as flashy as +1 to hit, this is still a very welcome upgrade to most infantry units. It’s never a bad thing to be able to bully more objectives. 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Hate-Fuelled Butchers gain +1 to the Weapons Skill of their melee weapons. This is a fantastic trait in this Codex with the wide selection of killer melee units like Chosen and Possessed. Likely your first choice for many units if you get the free Battle Trait from the Warfleet Glory Favoured Reward.

When a unit gains the benefits of Unholy Patronage, you’ll pick a model in that unit (it has to be the Champion if it has one) to gain +1 attack and +1 wound. We’ve always really liked these “make a mini-character” traits and this one’s no exception, especially here where you’ve got plenty of units who are happy to pick up the extra attack.

If a unit with Bitter to the Bone survives the battle it gains an additional XP. This is like Destined for Glory but usually worse. That said, if you already have one unit with Destined for Glory, this could be a decent way to get some extra XP on someone you’re not marking for greatness. Usually a miss, though.

Damned Units

While a character is leading a unit of Devoted Slaves, models in the unit re-roll 1s to wound on all their attacks. Simple, but decent.

Once per battle, a unit of Vessels of the True Faith can be targeted by the Insane Bravery stratagem for 0 CP. If you’re playing with the dataslate (please tell me you are) it hurts that this doesn’t have an additional “This doesn’t count toward your once-per-game use” rider, but it’s kinda nice to have considering most Damned models are bozo units you want to stand on circles, and being able to avoid a key Battle-shock test could legitimately be game-changing.

Word Bearers Chaos Cultists – Credit: RichyP

Finally, you can improve both the Ballistic Skill and Weapons Skill of all the weapons in a unit of Favoured Servants by 1. Now this is interesting. Suddenly, traitor guardsmen and accursed cultists start looking a lot more valuable. Unfortunately, they would have to level up and roll right to get it, but it’s really cool if they can!

Vehicle Models

Spirit of Damnation lets your model heal one wound in your Command phase. Not incredible, but could come in handy if you find yourself failing a lot of Dark Pact rolls. This probably isn’t a priority for a chosen trait, but isn’t worth avoiding this table over.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Warp-Fuelled Destruction gives you a once-per-game free Tank Shock. The mortal wounds from that stratagem can really come in handy in the clutch, so this upgrade will always be welcome, even on non-melee vehicles. Probably the highlight of this table.

Last, Living Hull adds two to the wounds characteristic of the model. Again, somewhat unimpressive, but does make it harder to take a vehicle down in a single turn. It also means you afford to fail a Dark Pact once per game and usually still be at or above where you would have been without this trait.

Chaos Boons

Chaos Boons are a special type of Battle Honor that can be given to Heretic Astartes Characters (or unit champions via the Glory mechanic). A model can gain one of these any time it would gain any other Battle Honor, but can only have a max of three. You also can’t give it to Daemon units by default. The kicker–and the cool part–of this mechanic is that if you roll the same result on the table as a Boon your character already has, they get turned into a chaos spawn. This was one of our favourite mechanics in 9th and we’re very glad to see it return. It provides a really interesting “push your luck” mechanic that’s flavorful and thematic.

Credit: PierretheMime

There are 9 options here:

  • Unholy Speed adds +1 to advance and charge rolls for this model’s unit. Fantastic on a Chaos Lord leading some chosen.
  • Mutant Form gives the model an extra wound. Not the most inspiring result here, but certainly not unwelcome, especially if you find that your Warband Champion needs a little extra durability.
  • Massive Fangs adds the [Lance] ability to this model’s melee weapons. Lance is a fantastic ability and you’ll frequently be charging to make use of it, so this one’s another winner.
  • Scorpion Tail adds +1 attacks to this model’s melee weapons. The utility here really depends on the weapon, but it’s really not one of the most impressive. Wouldn’t turn it away, though.
  • Daemonic Flesh adds +1 to the toughness of this model. This can be wild if you can manage to transform a model with it into a Nurgle Daemon Prince. Other than that though, it’s fine, if not incredible.
  • Warp Stalker gives you rerolls to advance and charge. This is kind of interchangeable with Unholy Speed. If we’re talking about a 9” charge from reserves, a reroll is slightly better than +1 to the roll, but if you’ve got CP to burn you can get the reroll from Command Reroll. All in all, they’re about equivalent, and having either of them is great on many characters in this book.
  • Iron-hard Talons improves the AP of this model’s melee weapons by one. Extra AP is one of the stronger bonuses in the game since if it’s high enough it removes an entire dice roll. And if you choose one of the many AP-2 melee options in this book, this upgrade will let you get rid of that roll for anything 4+ or worse. Very welcome.
  • Dark Blessing gives the model’s unit Stealth once per game. You declare this at the start of the shooting phase, so unfortunately your opponent can react to it. But it can be a solid durability boost when you need to knock a couple successes off on incoming fire.
  • Eightfold Eyes allows the model to reroll one hit roll, wound roll, damage roll, or saving throw per turn. This is a great ability, and the ability to use it on saving throws can give you some extra durability in a key fight when you need it..


As strong and flavorful as many of the results on the Chaos Boon table may be, you may be wondering why you’d want to take more than one of them when that means running the risk of spawndom on a character you’ve presumably invested a lot time and effort in. And if “because it’s cool as hell” isn’t a good enough answer for you, these rules offer another answer in the form of Ascension to Daemonhood. If a HERETIC ASTARTES CHARACTER has three Chaos Boons, you can spend 2RP to remove them from your Order of Battle and replace them with a Daemon Prince (you get to choose whether it has wings). They keep their total XP as well as any Enhancements, Chaos Boons, Battle Honours, or similar upgrades as long as they’re eligible for them, and get to replace any they’re not allowed to keep. They don’t keep any Battle Scars they may have had, though.

And if your goal for your Crusade force is to have your Warband Champion ascend, you’re in luck: not only do they get to stay as your Warband Champion even after becoming a Daemon Prince, your Warband Champion can ascend even with no Chaos Boons as long as your Personal Glory track is at the “Favoured” level.

Of course, not every Chaos Space Marine’s efforts to reach Daemonhood pay off: many find themselves suffering a Fate Worse Than Death. You can consign one of your units to such a fate when it would be removed from your Order of Battle after suffering too many Battle Scars. To do so, pay 1RP, and the unit suffers Spawndom. Nasty.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Even those units who seem to be successful in courting the favor of the Dark Gods need to be careful not to fly too close to the sun: when one of your units reaches the Heroic or Legendary rank, you can spend 3RP to make them a Sacrifice to the Dark Gods. If you do, remove them from your Order of Battle, halve their XP total, and dish that amount out to any number of HERETIC ASTARTES CHARACTER units of your choice.

And if you thought the non-power armoured units were being left out, a DAMNED unit that destroys at least one enemy can receive Mortal Empowerment for 1RP. This one’s simple: give the unit a Chaos Boon. They can only get one, but several of those could be really cool on the right unit.

Finally, if you’re running low on Chaos Points, you can make A Fitting Tribute by spending 2RP to gain one. You can only spend it on a Glory category that’s at 5 or lower, but if you need to dig yourself out of Forsaken status, this could be handy to have.

Crusade Relics

As usual we a have a suite of Crusade Relics characters can nab when they level up.

The Maelstrom Key gives the bearer’s unit Deep Strike. While this is usually a nice one, I’m not sure what you use it on given how central transports have become to the CSM gameplan. Your best bet is probably some possessed and hoping you roll that 9.

The Sigil of the Shadow Lord can only go on a Cult Demagogue and gives its entire unit a 4+ invulnerable save and +1 OC. This will be incredibly frustrating on a unit of Accursed Cultists, allowing them to bully an objective while being incredibly difficult to remove. 

Mantle of Traitors gives the bearer re-rolls to hit in melee. If the defending unit is below half strength, they re-roll wounds as well. Re-rolls to hit in melee is already something you’ll get plenty of use out of, and the wound re-rolls into weakened units are a nice bonus. Slap this on something like a Chaos Lord with a daemon hammer, and if you can get the thing you’re attacking below half strength, it’s probably going to vanish in a puff of smoke.

Once you’re into Antiquity Relics, there’s one themed around each of the Chaos gods:

The Slaughterer’s Helm grants the bearer +1 toughness, an additional wound, and +2 strength and attacks to all their melee weapons, at the cost of not being able to fall back. This is an incredibly strong buff, and that drawback doesn’t matter because you weren’t gonna fall back anyway, right? (Condit: If you, like me, modeled the Berzerker Glaive on your Chaos Lord after the “3.5” edition codex, this is the upgrade for you)

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

This one’s for the Psykers; the Book of Fate gives +1 to wound, damage, and AP of all the bearer’s psychic attacks. Windmill-slam this on the psyker of your choice yesterday: it’ll let a Master of Possessions delete any enemy psykers with extreme prejudice, and a Sorcerer’s powered-up infernal gaze will absolutely shred light and medium infantry.

Every fight phase, if the model carrying the Gurgling Doom is in engagement range of an enemy unit, one of those units takes d3 mortal wounds on 2+. And as a bonus, that unit has to take an Out of Action test even if it survives the battle, and if you kill it, it takes that test at -2. We’re long standing fans of more Battle Scars here at the Goonhammer offices so this is a good one. (Condit: The -2 to OOA tests for the unit can be a bit harsh, especially given how punishing Battle Scars can be in 10th Edition. Forcing an extra test isn’t the end of the world, but be judicious about when to insist on the -2: if someone’s already not having a great time, it can push them over the edge into an outright bad one.)

The Flawless Cloak gives the bearer’s unit Fights First once per game at the start of the Fight phase. It’s somewhat surprising it doesn’t just give them the ability outright when you consider some of the other options here (we’re looking at you, Book of Fate), but once per game is still very welcome, especially for something that could potentially win you the game in the right circumstance.

The Murder Blade is the legendary relic here. The blade that turned Horus to Chaos and is steeped in legend and lore. It’s a damage 3 power fist with 6 attacks, Anti-Character 3+, and Precision. That’s it. That’s all you get. Precision is nice, but when you consider that, at S8 you’ll be wounding most characters on 3+ (if not 2+) anyway, this one may not quite hold up to its “Legendary” status.

What’s Missing

Beanith: Not much to mention really, it’s almost an afterthought. I mean who really wanted their Codex to require an additional eight whole pages (nine if you include the Army of Renown: Cogs of Vashtorr) of Crusade rules for running each of the Traitor Legions where they get their own agenda, requisition, 3 battle traits, and a crusade relic? It might not fit into backpacks as easily or something. Good thing there’s still room for colouring in the crusade badges at least.

I might be just a tad salty, just a smidge.

Sadly the Traitor Legions from the 9th edition of the Codex did not make the final edit into the 10th edition. But to be fair to Games Workshop, given how Detachments work now, it would have been a massive pain in the arse to try and balance everything to try and ensure people didn’t get too creative with stacking various traits and relics from different Traitor Legions for some truly unholy amalgamations like people already do with Enhancements. If we’re lucky then perhaps we’ll see them return in a future White Dwarf with some updates. 

Condit: On the other hand, given that none of the other armies (including loyalist marines) get a similar treatment with their Crusade rules this time around, I’m not terribly upset to see those rules go. They were definitely interesting and flavorful, but they also meant that playing in a Crusade campaign as Chaos Space Marines meant you were dealing with nearly as many rules as Torchbearers (I should know, I’ve done both).

Final Thoughts

Condit: At the 2022 Grand Narrative in New Mexico, I played Chaos Space Marines. I got there, sat down at a table with Rob to discuss how we were going to approach the Crusade rules, opened the book to the Warband Glory tracks, and immediately closed it. They were a lot of rules to handle for a laid-back weekend (especially one with a cash bar).

So my biggest question coming into this book was whether I would even bother with the Crusade mechanic, or just stick to the Battle Trait tables. And while the answer isn’t as unequivocal as I was hoping, it’s definitely in the “yes” category. There are still a lot rules here to keep track of, but as long as you avoid becoming Forsaken on the Dark God Glory track, the rest of it is manageable, and the “penalties” on the other two tracks can actually work out to your benefit sometimes. And the new Glory Agendas, while unquestionably some of the more difficult ones to achieve that we’ve seen, offer some interesting challenges to a player willing to take them on, and the Daemon Weapons that serve as rewards are very cool.

All in all, aside from the somewhat-anemic Legendary Crusade Relic, I think this book is a win. It’s kept the same “feel” as the 9th edition rules did, but without the constant sinking feeling that you were never going to be able to dig yourself out of being Forsaken. There’s a bit more bookkeeping here than some of the other books we’ve seen, but it’s not unmanageable. And the core conceit of that mechanic–placate the gods, chase your own glory, leave the troops to fend for themselves–is so quintessentially Chaos that I can’t help but love it.

Norman: I really like the stuff here thematically but the balance seems all over the map. the battle honor thing from the Personal Glory track is bonkers whereas The Murder Blade is straight garbage. The Glory Agendas are also not equivalent in difficulty when you look at Warlord’s Glory and Glory of the Gods. I really like the systems here and I think the changes to the Glory system are largely improvements that help the “Lose More” problems the old one had. I just wish this got another pass on a technical level.

Beanith: It will do, it was a great rewrite of the 9th content for 10th but it’s a shame the Traitor Legions failed to make the cut and yet the edgy Dark Murder Death Bad Evil but Secretly Good Blade somehow escaped the dumpster. Norman has a point with the balance of the Daemon weapons but completely forgot to address the absolute lack of Daemon possessed footwear and cod pieces.