Detachment Focus: Veterans of the Long War

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 Veterans of the Long War 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

Ostensibly designed to be the Black Legion Detachment for Chaos Space Marines, the Veterans of the Long War gives Chaos players the closest thing we’ll get to a “dark mirror” of a Space Marines army, offering an analog of the faction’s Oath of Moment rule. Power-wise Veterans of the Long War isn’t quite in the top tier of Chaos Space Marine options, but full re-rolls to hit are powerful and there are some strong abilities in the Detachment’s Stratagems.

Detachment Rule: Focus of Hatred

At the start of your Command phase, select one unit from your opponent’s army to be the focus of your hatred. Until the start of your next Command phase, each time a HERETIC ASTARTES model from your army (excluding DAMNED models) makes an attack that targets your focus of hatred, you can re-roll the Hit roll.

Anyone who has played against Space Marines knows how powerful Oath of Moment can be, and this gives you a similar boost. It combines extremely well with Dark Pacts to let you fish for additional sustained hits, rolling the dice in the hopes of scoring more hits than attacks rolled. It’s great for focusing down key targets without having it overcommit, and great for punishing elite armies relying on a small number of powerful units. What’s also great about this is that, aside from a few key units we’ll mention, pretty much any unit can benefit from this, letting you keep your options open. 

If there’s a downside here it’s that the ability isn’t great for dealing with hordes of cheap models, and there are a number of units in your army which can already re-roll hits, such as Chaos Terminators. On that note it’s ironic that Abaddon’s aura to re-roll hits butts up against the core rule of his detachment (though it does free you up to use his 4+ invulnerable save more). That said, it’s only for one unit, so don’t be afraid to take units which re-roll hits anyways, as you’re going to shoot/fight more than one thing per round most of the time.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones


The Veterans of the Long War Enhancements are a mixed bag. They’re just okay, and not really things you’d build around. These are listed below with the Codex point values, which have ended up being the final values for prior books.

  • Warmaster’s Gift (15 points) – Chaos Lord model only. Each time you make an attack that targets your focus of hatred an unmodified successful wound roll of 5+ scores a critical wound. This is good for one thing and that’s a Thunder Hammer Chaos Lord, where you can use it to score more Devastating Wounds, particularly in concert with the Chance for Glory ability to bump those to 3 damage. Pair him with Legionaries for re-rolls to wound (1s normally, full re-rolls when attacking something on an objective), and you’ve got an incredibly nasty melee threat.
  • Eager for Vengeance (20 points) – Goes on a non-DAMNED model. Your unit is eligible to Fall Back and shoot and charge. When doing so, if you make an attack that targets your focus of hatred you get +1 to hit, and each time you select your focus of hatred as the target of a charge you get +1 to the Charge roll. Now, this is VERY CONFUSINGLY WORDED and likely needs some clarification, but I don’t think you have to make a Fall Back move to get the benefit, and while this is gated behind having to attack your focus of hatred, it’s still a very powerful effect – as long as it isn’t gated behind having to make a Fall Back Move. But at 20 points, I’d hope not.
  • Eye of Abaddon (15 points) – Goes on a non-DAMNED model. While the bearer is on the battlefield, each time the focus of your hatred is destroyed you roll a D6 and on a 4+ you get 1 CP. This is something I’d pay 5 points for, but at 15 it’s a bit too much. CP is really valuable in tenth edition but CP generating effects have to be reliable since you can easily generate CP by discarding a secondary, and so it only helps you to generate CP when you aren’t already getting it from a secondary.
  • Mark of Legend (10 points) – Goes on a non-DAMNED model. Once per turn you can re-roll one hit roll, wound roll, or one saving throw for the bearer. The obvious place to put this is on a Daemon Prince, where the save is fantastic for keeping him on the table and having an extra re-roll during the attack sequence (in addition to the one hit/wound re-roll you already get) is pretty great. Otherwise it’s also okay on a Hammer Chaos Lord where you want to fish for dev wounds.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones


The Veterans of the Long War have an okay set of Stratagems with some decent effects to choose from. That said, they’re also one of the only Detachments with any 2 CP Stratagems, and they have a whopping two of those and both are super situational. 

  • Endless Ire (Epic Deed, 2 CP) – Used when your focus of hatred is destroyed. Pick a visible enemy unit within 12” of one of your non-DAMNED character to become your new focus of hatred until your next Command phase. This one is very situational, requiring a lot of things to line up right but every now and then you’ll be able to use it to double up on hit re-rolls and surprise an opponent by finishing something off, then pivoting to a second big kill. But it’s very situational and expensive.
  • Contemptuous Disregard (Battle Tactic, 1 CP) – Worsen the AP of incoming attacks by 1 for a phase on a non-DAMNED unit. This is great, and finally having access to it for 1 CP is great. It’s also a Battle Tactic, and that means you can snag it free on a unit with your Chaos Lord.
  • Bringers of Despair (Epic Deed, 2 CP) – One non-DAMNED unit within Engagement Range of your focus of Hatred gains the Fights First ability. This is really strong but again incredibly situational. The times having Fights First will be helpful to you and you’ll be in a situation to drop it on your focus of hatred are pretty limited, but when it does happen it’ll be a complete rout.
  • Black Crusade (Strategic Ploy, 1 CP) – Used in your Movement phase on a non-DAMNED Infantry or Mounted unit. Until the end of the turn your unit can shoot after Advancing or Falling Back, and its bolt pistols, boltguns, and combi-bolters gain the DEVASTATING WOUNDS ability while your unit has not already inflicted 6 wounds this turn using that ability.
  • Let the Galaxy Burn (Battle Tactic, 1 CP) – One non-TZEENTCH unit from your army that hasn’t shot yet gets [IGNORES COVER] on its ranged attacks and the attacks characteristic of torrent weapons in the unit becomes 6 until the end of your Shooting phase. While I understand why they worded this to prevent you from getting 60 shots with a unit of 10 Rubrics, it also stinks because it’s a lot worse on every other unit. That said, this can be hilarious on a unit of Plague Marines sporting four plague flamers. This is your other Battle Tactic option, but its primary function is really just giving a unit the ability to ignore cover for a turn, making it solid on something like Obliterators, especially when they want to use their Indirect Fire to hit your focus of hatred.
  • Millennia of Experience (Strategic Ploy, 1 CP) – Used in your opponent’s movement phase, after an enemy unit ends a Move within 9” of one of your INFANTRY or MOUNTED non-DAMNED units. You can immediately make a Normal move up to 6”. Reactive moves are always great, and this is a great way to get free movement onto an objective or move out of range of a charge you don’t want to take.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Playing This Detachment

Veterans of the Long War isn’t the strongest detachment in Codex: Chaos Space Marines, but it’s still pretty good. That core ability is very strong and more importantly, it’s generically strong – outside of some unfortunate overlaps with Terminators and the now-common “excluding DAMNED models” rider on so many rules, there really isn’t a unit that won’t benefit from the Focus of Hatred ability. That said, this feels like a Detachment built for units of Legionaries, and I really like the idea of taking a unit of four Obliterators here and using Let the Galaxy Burn to give them Ignores Cover, especially when combined with full hit re-rolls against your focus of hatred.

Generally the three Stratagems you’re going to be using here are Contemptuous Disregard, Let the Galaxy Burn, and Millennia of Experience. Black Crusade is okay but a bit situational while Bringers of Despair and Endless Ire are super situational and expensive to boot. 

Despite looking like a Black Legion detachment, this doesn’t really scream out for Abaddon. That said, there’s some real value here in being able to put Abaddon with a unit of Chosen and just rock his 4+ invulnerable aura all game and not have to worry about re-rolling hits. The downside here is that you really want Abaddon somewhere he can get re-rolls to wound so he can fish for Devastating Wounds with Drach’nyen, and not having that on offer here stinks. 

A Sample List

As of this writing we don’t have the final points yet for Chaos Space Marines, but using today’s points (and the codex points, where necessary), here’s a list concept for running Veterans of the Long War. Also note that I’m putting Abaddon in here for all my Black Legion homies out there. An actual competitive list might not run him but I don’t hate the idea of him with ten Chosen in a Land Raider – though I’d probably prefer to be running it in a Raiders Detachment.



Abaddon the Despoiler

Chaos Lord
– Daemon Hammer, Plasma Pistol
– Warmaster’s Gift

Master of Executions

Haarken Worldclaimer


Cultist Mob

Legionaries x5
– Champion: Heavy Melee weapon + Plasma pistol, icon
– heavy melee weapon
– lascannon
– 2x chainsword

Legionaries x5
– Champion: Heavy Melee weapon + Plasma pistol, icon
– heavy melee weapon
– lascannon
– 2x chainsword


– Havoc launcher, combi-bolter, combi-weapon


Chaos Land Raider
– Combi-weapon, Havoc Launcher

Chosen x10
– Champion: Power Fist, Chaos Icon, Plasma Pistol
– 2x Power fist + combi-weapon
– 2x Accursed weapon + combi-weapon

Obliterators x2

Chaos Vindicator

– Helbrute Hammer + Power Scourge

– Champion: Power fist + plasma pistol
– 2x meltaguns



This is a hodgepodge of stuff that needs refinement, but there’s a lot here. Your cultists are backfield objective holders/action doers along with the Nurglings, and Abaddon gets to travel in comfort with ten of his Chosen homies. Here the Obliterators are going to do some heavy lifting taking out bigger targets and using indirect fire with impunity against a focus of rage and the Let the Galaxy Burn Stratagem while the Helbrute ranges around and punches stuff while giving units double pact benefits. 

This is a pretty unfocused list, but it hits the key thematic elements I wanted to hit – Abaddon and Haarken are in here – while still using a couple of the neat tricks the Detachment offers, such as indirect-firing Ignores Cover Obliterators and the Warmaster’s Gift Chaos Lord. In particular, those two units of Legionaries hit like a freight train, and when they’re in the rhino it can use its FIRING DECK 2 to shoot a pair of lascannons, which seems pretty funny. 

Final Thoughts

Overall I like this Detachment, and its value will go up if smaller, more elite armies become more common in the meta, making its Focus of Hatred effect more worthwhile. There are some key things it’s missing that stop it from being top tier – the Stratagems just don’t offer enough power and it doesn’t have a solid way to re-roll wounds – but you can do a lot with it and if your plan was to use this as a Black Legion Detachment for thematic purposes, you could do a lot worse.

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