Detachment Focus: Soulforged Warpack

In this series of articles we take a deep dive into a specific detachment for a faction, covering the faction’s rules and upgrades and talking about how to build around that faction for competitive play. In this article, we’re covering the Soulforged Warpack Detachment for the Chaos Space Marines.

The Tenth Edition release of Codex: Chaos Space Marines gives the faction access to a whopping eight detachments, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. These can dramatically change how the army plays, as each one tends to push players to build in a different way. In this series we’re diving deep into each Detachment and talking about what its rules are and how to play it.

Detachment Overview

When Vashtorr showed up back in late Ninth Edition we didn’t think much of his rules. They were, in fact, pretty bad. And they stayed that way in the Tenth Edition Index. But coming into Codex: Chaos Space Marines, Vashtorr is back in a big way. He’s got a Detachment of his own, focused squarely on Daemon Engines and letting them exploit the pacts they’ve made with the Arkifane to further boost their offensive output.

Detachment Rule: Debt to the Soul Forge

Each time a HERETIC ASTARTES DAEMON VEHICLE from your army makes a Dark Pact, it can invoke its contract. If it does, it gets -1 to the resulting Leadership test and until the end of the phase, it gets +1 to wound rolls for its ranged attacks and +2  to the Attacks characteristics of its melee weapons.

This is bonkers good. You aren’t required to pass the test, and it’s almost always worth it to get these benefits. Many of the Daemon Engines in the book need to be just a little bit better to be playable at their current costs, and suddenly punching up with Forgefiends or throwing out seven big swings with a Maulerfiend can make a huge difference. This also combines with some other must-take abilities in the Detachment to create some amazing combos. This is just a really good ability and it pushes you to build around some specific units in interesting ways.

For the record, here’s the current list of legal Daemon Engines this can apply to:

  • Defiler
  • Forgefiend
  • Heldrake
  • Khorne Lord of Skulls
  • Maulerfiend
  • Venomcrawler

Note that, for reasons completely unfathomable to me, Lords Discordant are no longer VEHICLE units and are now MOUNTED, making them useless in this Detachment.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones


One of these is one of the best Enhancements in the game, and a surefire must-take any time you take this Detachment. Spoilers: It’s Tempting Addendum.

  • Invigorated Mechatendrils (15 points). WARPSMITH only. Gives the bearer +4 Movement. A bit much for 15 points; I’d have liked to see it at 5-10. It’s okay. Helpful for those times you need to move to keep up with a Daemon Engine, but because the healing for a unit happens in the Command phase, it’s often too late to reactively move to where you’d want to be anyways.
  • Tempting Addendum (25 points). Each time a Daemon Engine in your army invokes its contract while within 3″ of the bearer, if it takes mortal wounds from a Dark Pact, it takes an additional mortal wound (i.e. D3+1), and until the end of the phase, each time a model in that unit makes an attack, it can re-roll the Hit Roll. This is just bonkers, and you are going to windmill slam it on a Warpsmith in 1000% of your games. It’s just stupid good to have access to a full re-rolls bubble and the extra mortal wound is pretty negligible. This is one of the best Enhancements in the game, and worth building your army around.
  • Forge’s Blessing (20 points). In your Command phase pick a friendly VEHICLE unit within 12″ of the bearer and it gets a 6+ Feel No Pain until your next Command phase. This is pretty nice, and I like that it goes on any vehicle. It’s worth looking at if you take a second Warpsmith, as dropping this on a Forgefiend about to go off can mean the difference between living and Dying if you find a way to do 6-7 mortal wounds to yourself in one go.
  • Soul Harvester (15 points). While the bearer is on the battlefield, each time an enemy unit within 12″ of the bearer is destroyed, roll a D6′ on a 5+ you gain 1 CP. This is whatever. If Lord Discordants were worth taking, it’d be something I’d consider. As is, I don’t think there’s a character I’d take who would want it, but you’re really, really going to want CP in a Soulforged Warpack so it might be okay.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgoen” Jones


On top of those Enhancements, the Soulforged Warpack have some very solid Stratagems to work with. They’re all priced to move at 1 CP and two of them involve invoking your contract. Note that there’s no requirement to actually pass the test – Vashtorr doesn’t care if you take wounds or not.

  • Desperate Pledge (Battle Tactic, 1 CP) – Used in your Shooting phase or the Fight phase. Pick a Daemon Vehicle unit in your army which hasn’t shot or fought yet and until the end of the phase, if that unit invokes its contract, each time it makes an attack improve the AP of that attack by 1. A generic +1 AP is amazing, especially when you consider that there are Detachments where you only get this in melee against Battle-shocked units.
  • Glut of Souls (Strategic Ploy, 1 CP) – Used in the Fight phase on a non-Titanic Daemon Vehicle. Until the end of the phase, if your unit invokes its contract, then each time it makes an attack which destroys an enemy model roll a D6; on a 5+ it regains one lost wound after its attacks have been resolved, to a maximum of 6. This is okay. Lame that it can’t be used on a Lord of Skulls but it can be decent on a Maulerfiend or a Helbrute. “But Rob,” you say, “Helbrutes aren’t Daemon Vehicles!” Well…
  • Daemonic Possession (Epic Deed, 1 CP) – Used in your Command phase. Gives a Vehicle the DEMON keyword for the rest of the game. Basically unlocks Detachment rules for some lucky vehicle. It’s not something you want to plan on doing 4-5 times, but having 1-2 uses lined up can be a big deal, especially if you drop it turn 1 on something like a Vindicator.
  • Unstoppable Rampage (Strategic Ploy, 1CP) – Used in your Movement or Charge phase. One Vehicle from your phase that hasn’t moved yet can make a Normal, Advance or Charge move and when they do they can move through horizontal terrain features as if they weren’t there. This mirrors the best Stratagem in the Chaos Knights’ arsenal and it’s an amazing trick. Taking a Maulerfiend or Defiler straight through a wall for a charge is huge, and it will let your big bases move wherever they please.
  • Predatory Pursuit (Strategic Ploy, 1 CP) – Used in your opponent’s movement phase, after they finish a Normal, Advance, or Fall Back Move within 9″ of one of your Vehicles. You can immediately make a Normal move of up to 6″ but you have to end that move as close as possible to the enemy unit. This is way more situational than a normal reactive move, since with those you’re typically moving away or out of charge range, but can be really useful for move-blocking things with something like a Rhino or melee threat, or for moving onto an objective unexpectedly.
  • Feeding Frenzy (Strategic Ploy, 1 CP) – Used in your opponent’s Movement phase, when a non-MONSTER/VEHICLE unit Falls Back. Pick a Daemon Vehicle within engagement range of the unit falling back. Until the end of the phase, each time an enemy unit (except MONSTERS/VEHICLES) Falls back, all models in that enemy unit must take a Desperate Escape test. When doing so, if that unit is Battle-shocked, subtract 1 from each of those tests. This is situational, but decent – I’ve seen plenty of opponents stay in combat to avoid such a test, and being able to force one can make that threat too real. That said, it’s not actually likely to kill an entire unit and won’t work on vehicles or monsters, so there are some limits to it. But it’s still a good way to punish units attempting to flee. Or at the very least, threaten to punish.

Word Bearers Venomcrawler
Word Bearers Venomcrawler. Credit: Jeff Scarisbrick

Playing This Detachment

This Detachment is going to be all about Daemon Engines. Hell, you may even play Vashtorr, though I don’t think he’s required for it at all. He’s certainly better this time around, but nothing about his abilities really keys into what this Detachment is doing. Yeah, there are times where +1 to the strength of one of your Daemon Vehicles will matter, but those are going to be pretty rare given the actual strength values of most Daemon Vehicle weapons. That said, you’re going to take quite a few mortal wounds in this army from failed tests, and so I think it’s going to be pretty common to run a couple of Warpsmiths in Soulforged Warpack lists. Not only do they improve your BS, but they can heal your units and gain LONE OPERATIVE while within 3″ of them, and you’ll want at least one for the Tempting Addendum. If there’s a downside here, it’s that this Detachment lacks a way to re-roll wounds, making it harder to just fish for Devastating Wounds with something like a Forgefiend. That said, there’s enough power elsewhere to make up for it and you can easily punch up at bigger targets using the +1 to wound.

A Sample List

I may as well bring Vashtorr along for this list, since that’s the level I’m on when I do my initial builds. I’m sure other, better players will have better concepts and takes on this but at the moment, here’s a first pass I like for using these rules based on the points in the current Munitorum Field Manual and the printed values for Enhancements in Codex: Chaos Space Marines.

Rob's Vashtorr List - Click to Expand


Vashtorr the Arkifane

– Tempting Addendum




Cultist Mob x10


Chaos Vindicator





– Fist and Scourge






There’s a lot of beef here, supported by Warpsmiths. Probably too many Warpsmiths. I think I could cut one, give the other the Forge’s Blessing, and then spend the remaining 50 points on either more Nurglings or another unit of Cultists. But I’d definitely try this out first, because what I don’t have a feel for yet is how many mortal wounds you’re going to take from your pacts in an average game. Once I have a better handle on that it’ll be easier to figure out how to allocate resources. But otherwise yeah, the Forgefiends shoot everything off the table and the Maulerfiends fight it. The Helbrute becomes a Daemon Engine turn 1 and protects the Forgefiends from charges while giving them double pacts. I particularly like the idea of him having two melee weapons for a whopping +4 attacks… having 9 fist or 12 Scourge attacks definitely pushes him up a bit, and I’d give him a heavy flamer as well since S5 At +1 to wound is pretty solid.

Final Thoughts

The Soulforged Warpack is one of the strongest Detachments in the army, offering some powerful tools for improving the offensive output of your daemon engines, albeit at a cost. There’s a real question as to whether its boosts are better than the Pactbound Zealot crit buffs, and that’s worth looking at in a Hammer of Math article. But the other add-ons here add quite a bit, and running a bunch of Daemon Engines is just a lot of fun conceptually. Vashtorr’s Detachment may not be the strongest Detachment in Codex: Chaos Space Marines but in my opinion it’s the coolest.

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