Never Gonna Give You Up(dates): Chaos Space Marine Kill Team Tactics

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Hello there! Are you a traitor or heretic who hates the false emperor of mankind? Do you seethe with rage at the sight of newer, larger space marines? Do you want to run Berzerkers and chop people up with Chainaxes? Are you generally OK with getting a second-rate version of everything loyalist marines get? Do you look forward to seeing your sworn enemies receive free updates that port their newest kits into Kill Team while your weapon options are tied to a single monopose plastic kit in the faction’s Start Competing box?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you’re just the right type of bitter madman to consider a Chaos Space Marines Kill Team. Welcome aboard! Your membership into this exclusive club comes with a gallon of Imperial Standard salt, to be kept with you at all times. The upside to Chaos Space Marines is that you get some sweet modeling opportunities and you aren’t playing a bunch of loyalist dorks.


  • Elite, but also a horde  – Being a horde lets you clog the battlefield and define the battle lines. Being elite lets you dominate portions of the battlefield. Chaos Space Marines get to choose where they sit on that spectrum.
  • Berzerkers – Berzerkers are great. For their cost, they’re the best unit in the game at chopping things up. We won’t recommend running a lot of actual Chaos Space Marines in our rosters, but we will recommend having two to three of these on your roster, just to completely dismember anything that gets in your way.
  • Cultists – Cultists aren’t amazing, but they come in large numbers and can capture objectives and operate doors for your marines. They effectively let you choose whether you want to be a horde or an elite force.
  • Autocannons – Ho ho ho. Now we have machine guns. Thanks, Kill Team Annual 2019!


  • Points Cost – Outside of Cultists, Chaos Space Marines are on the expensive side. You pay a lot for T4, one-wound models with a 3+ save, and you’ll likely realize pretty quickly that marines with 1 wound are not as tough as the fluff makes them out to be.
  • Few weapon options – Thanks to a new kit, Chaos Space Marines now have a couple more options than they used to. It’s still not a ton, but having autocannons really helps things out. Still, your options are limited compared to Space Marines and even what the models can be outfitted with – missile launchers are expensive and we’d all really like to see Reaper Chaincannons and Lascannons options. Mostly Reaper Chaincannons.
  • Limited unit options – You also don’t have a lot of units to choose from, particularly if you’re not playing with Elites. That said, you should play with Elites, because it’s great, and Berzerkers almost make Chaos Space Marines viable.


Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Sub-Factions: Legion Traits

With the release of Kill Team: Elites, Chaos Space Marines get access to legion traits. In order to benefit from a Legion Trait, every model in your kill team has to be from the same legion. Chaos Cultists can’t be drawn from a legion and con’t get traits, but they also don’t count for your legion uniformity.

Legion traits are wildly uneven in terms of strength. Most are at least decent, and a couple are pretty good.

  • Emperor’s Children – Models with this legion trait have to have the SLAANESH keyword. In the fight phase, models with this trait within 1″ of an enemy model are considered to have charged. A very strong ability, and a good way to punish your opponent for charging more than one of your models per turn. B
  • Iron Warriors – Models in your kill team don’t suffer the penalty to Injury rolls for the target of their attacks being obscured and within 1″ of a model or piece of terrain between the two models. For Chaos Space Marines, this is pretty damn important, because your only ranged weapons that do multiple damage are plasma guns and so any way to make your 1-damage shots count is helpful. A
  • Night Lords – When an opponent takes a Nerve test for a model in their kill team, they have to add 1 to the test for each of your non-shaken models within 3″ of that model. You’ll be hard-pressed to ever get this bonus above -2 but even -1 can be a big deal in the right circumstances. Still, noticeably weaker than the other options. C
  • World Eaters – Models with this legion trait have to have the KHORNE keyword. When a model in this legion fights in the fight phase, it gets +1 attack if it charged, was charged, or heroically intervened in that battle round. This is very, very good, particularly on Berzerkers. It also lines up with the Fury of Khorne Tactic, which you’ll want. This is one of the the better legion traits you can get, but it locks you into a melee-heavy strategy. That’s not bad per se–nothing else boosts your fightmans as much–but it does reduce your versatility. A-
  • Black Legion – Add +1 Ld to all your models with this trait, and those models can advance and fire Rapid Fire weapons as if they were Assault weapons. This is OK. Potentially helpful for shooting on the move, but once you start racking up penalties for being obscured and out of half range, you’re suddenly hitting on 6s and it’s not doing much for you. Also the Ld boost is marginal. C
  • Word Bearers – You can re-roll failed Nerve tests. Cool. Now your Chaos Space Marines can be really bad versions of regular space marines. F
  • Alpha Legion – Models in your kill team are considered to be obscured from enemy models that target them if they are more than 12″ away from those models. This is great in 40k, but not so useful in Kill Team where the rules for cover are insanely generous. If you’re more than 12″ away from an enemy, you’re probably already obscured, so this isn’t bringing as much to the table. C
  • Renegade Chapters – You can re-roll charge rolls for models in your kill team. This is a good way of getting your punchier mans to the fight and now that there’s a legitimate reason to consider marks of chaos other than Khorne, this is likely the best legion trait a Chaos Space Marine kill team can take. While World Eaters can replicate this effect, doing so costs a lot of points and does’nt leave you room for cultists. A+


Chaos Space Marine Units

Chaos Space Marines don’t have a lot of options to choose from, especially in the pre-Elites format. You’ve got Chaos Space Marines and Cultists. The former are somewhat versatile but not nearly tough enough, while the latter are cheap chaff.

Credit: Robert “TheChirugeon” Jones

Chaos Space Marines

Despite their new models, Chaos Space Marines are, sadly, not really a unit you want to build a Kill Team around. Their options are still tied to their original plastic box, so their heavy weapon options are limited to heavy bolters, which aren’t particularly great. You can bring two gunners, one of which can take a flamer, melta gun, or plasma gun, and the other of which can take the heavy bolter. One team member may take a chaos icon, the effect of which depends on which mark of chaos they have. I’ll save you time–the only useful icon is the Icon of Wrath, which lets friendly KHORNE units within 6″ re-roll charge rolls and is something you want on your combat/zealot specialists.

  • Gunner Weapons: Plasma is your go-to weapon here against most targets, and none of your other options are really worth considering.
    • Plasma Gun: Just as good here as in other lists, and basically your only viable multi-damage weapon that Chaos Space Marines have access to. If you’re bringing one, make sure to save the CP for the re-roll.
    • Meltagun: The meltagun sounds good in theory but it’s incredibly short range makes it very difficult to work with on larger or more open maps. Skip it and go with another choice instead.
    • Flamer: Gives you automatic hits but has an incredibly short range, no AP, and only does 1 damage. You’ll usually wish you’d just taken the plasma gun instead. So you should just take the plasma gun instead.
    • Heavy Bolter: It’s uh, OK I guess. The Heavy bolter has long been a mainstay of the Chaos Space Marine kit and it has long been kinda bad.
    • Autocannon: Kill Team Annual added this as an option and it immediately became one of the best weapons that Chaos Space Marines can take. a 48″ range, 2 damage, AP-1 Heavy 2 gun gives Chaos Space Marines a lot of versatility and a lot more stopping power than they had.
    • Missile Launcher: Kill Team Annual also added Missile Launchers. They’re very expensive, but add some brutal stopping power and versatility with the option to shoot either Krak or Frag missiles.
  • Fighter Weapons: You have one option: A Chainsword.
    • Chainsword: +1 Attack. It’s not ideal, but it’s not the worst thing ever, given that you can re-roll charges with the icon and get two rounds of fighting in with the Fury of Khorne Tactic.
  • Champion Weapons: Champions have access to chainswords, power swords, power fists, and plasma pistols. Power swords have never done enough for me in games of Kill Team, so I’m going to recommend you either go cheap (chainsword) or heavy (power fist), and don’t screw around with the in-between.
    Kill Team Annual 2019 adds two new options for Chaos Space Marines champions:

    • Chainaxe: +1 Strength, AP-1. It’s solid, and it only costs 1 point! In fact, it’d be amazing on your champions, except you can also take…
    • Power Maul: For the same points as a Chainaxe, you can have a weapon that is S+2 AP-1 instead. Why would you ever take a Chainaxe? I have no idea. They do look cooler, which matters.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Chaos Cultists

Your chaff choice. They’re not strong, and they’re not very tough, but they can get things done in large numbers and you can take a lot of them. Aside from Plasma Gun gunners and Khorne Bezerkers, Chaos Cultists are likely to make up the bulk of your kill team.

  • Gunner Weapons: Cultist gunners have two options and both are decent. You’ll want both in your roster, and you’ll want to include both special weapon cultists in all your games.
    • Flamer: Better on Cultists than on Chaos Space Marines, where the ability to automatically hit makes up for the Cultists’ terrible BS characteristic.
    • Heavy Stubber: The heavy stubber puts in a surprising amount of work in most games, and is worth including on your command roster.
  • Fighter Weapons: You have one option: A knife.
    • Knife and Auto Pistol: +1 Attack. Cultists are more dangerous with guns than knives, but in a pinch these guys can still fight twice if you need them to.
  • Champion Weapons: Champions have access to shotguns. Shotguns are OK, but not worth the points investment. Most games you’ll want to make your champion a cheap leader and hide him/her in the back, so you want to invest as few points as possible into them.



Elites give Chaos Space Marines three units to choose from: One’s outstanding, one’s pretty good, and one is Possessed. Terminators are pretty expensive at a minimum of 30 points per model, but Berzerkers are a proper steal at 16 points per model (well, 17 after you give them a chainaxe).

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones


Fortunately, a new Chaos Terminator kit came out before the Elites release, so Chaos have a full compliment of options for their terminators. Where these guys differ from Imperial terminators is their ability to take combi-weapons. Terminators offer you a 2W body with a 2+/5++ save, and that’s about as tough as regular Chaos Space Marines get. They also offer some of your best damage options on a non-Commander model, and it’s worth including one or two on your Command Roster so you have the option to swap one in as needed. These guys love to be World Eaters, where they can make the most use of their good melee weapons.

  • Gunner Weapons: Any model including the gunner can choose to take a combi-weapon and gunners also have the option to take either a heavy flamer or reaper autocannon. Combi-plasma is the most solid choice here, and because plasma is your best multi-damage option, worth taking on your Terminator for only 3 more points.
    • Heavy Flamer – By the time Terminators get close enough to fire off a heavy flamer, they’re close enough to fire anything else in their arsenal save the combi-melta at short range, making it less useful just by comparison. You can skip this one in favor of combi-plasma or, if you really want to roast something, a combi-flamer.
    • Reaper Autocannon – Reapers are OK for the amount of shots they get. They’ll be decent against T4 and shred anything with T3, but they don’t really help you solve your AP problems.
  • Fighter Weapons: The basic Chainaxe is a pretty solid option, but if you want to you can replace it with a chainfist, power axe, power fist, power maul, lightning claw, or power sword, and you can pick a pair of lightning claws if you want. The chainfist and power fist are both solid options here, and you just really want to make sure that when you hit something, it goes down, so give the chainfist some strong consideration. This is one of those areas where you’re only going to include a single Terminator in your team, so there’s no reason to take a light touch with him. The lightning claws are a neat idea, but it’s not worth giving up the shooting to have them and if you’re going cheap, you should look at the power maul If you’re going expensive, take a fist.
    • Chainaxe – This is your default, but you should never take it. For the same cost, the power maul is strictly better.
    • Power Axe – If you need better AP than the chainaxe gives, this is also an OK option, since it still gets you attacking at S5. Worth consideration, but you probably just want to go all-out and get the chainfist. Probably the best mix of Strength and AP, though.
    • Power Sword – Power swords seem to always underperform.
    • Power Maul – For the same cost of the chainaxe you get an extra +1 Strength. No reason not to take this as your baseline weapon for a Chaos Terminator.
    • Lightning Claw/Claws
    • Power Fist
    • Chainfist – This is where you want to be if you aren’t going with a Chainaxe. Chaos don’t have a lot of multi-damage weapons, so you want to take them when you can get them.
  • Champion Weapons: The same as the rest of the Terminators. What terminator Champions do give you is an extra attack, which means that the first Terminator you include in your command roster should be a champion. The extra attack and Ld are well worth the 2 points.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Khorne Berzerkers

Khorne Berzerkers are the strongest weapons in the Chaos Space Marine arsenal. Ok, maybe Terminators are stronger, but Berzerkers are a hell of a lot cheaper and do just as much damage. For 4 more points than a Chaos Space Marine, Khorne Berzerkers come with 5 Strength and an extra Attack, plus the ability to swap out their chainsword or bolt pistol with a chainaxe, which lets them hit at S6 AP-1 when they fight. You will want to do this. You can also give one an Icon or Wrath so he can re-roll charge distances. You will also want to do this. You will want to do all of this because Berzerkers’ key special rule is Blood for the Blood God, which allows you to fight twice with a Berzerker in the Fight phase any time it is within 3″ of any enemy models. This is incredibly devastating, allowing you to either finish off targets that managed to survive your last barrage with just a flesh wound, or move on to the next one. Any good Chaos Space Marine Kill Team includes at least one Berzerker Champion and usually also a Khorne Berzerker. You can skip the Destroyers — plasma pistols aren’t worth it. The Champions get an extra attack and give you the option to take a either a power fist or other power weapon. Power Axes are your best bet here, giving you the best combination fo Strength (+1) and AP (-2) without hurting your WS and costing half of what Power fists cost. At the very least, swap out their chainaxe for a power maul, which gets you an extra +1 Strength for the same cost. Lightning claws are also a potential option for Berzerkers, but at 3 points for the pair, you’re usually going to be better off with the power axe, which will get you to S6 to double-out T3 targets. The Lightning claws are more useful against Primaris marines where on average you’ll net out an extra .4 wounds per combat, but you’re paying 1 more point for the ability to do that, so ymmv. My recommendation is to take the Power Axe/Chainsword and spend the point on something else.


Possessed are a weird choice for Chaos Space Marines. They’re another melee unit when Chaos already gets Berzerkers, but I guess you need something you can run if you’re playing Emperor’s Children. Ostensibly they’re a better option for Commander games if you run a Greater Possessed, but unlike 40k, the GP’s aura only works when you spend a Command Point and even then going for S5 to S6 isn’t particularly valuable in most situations. What you’re left with is an admittedly faster, tougher melee unit, but one that costs 20 points per model, has a D1 weapon, and a variable number of attacks. Ultimately having D3 attacks is what kills these guys — A Berzerker may be slower and less resilient, but he’ll do more damage in combat owing to having at least 3 (and usually 4) attacks, plus he fights twice and can re-roll charge distances with an icon. The bottom line is that Possessed are OK, but they’re just not nearly as good as Berzerkers or Terminators.



Commanders are always a little difficult to talk about because they’re not usually played competitively. If you want to win then you’re looking for either cheap commanders that can take the Strategist specialism for that extra CP, or a psyker that can actually put out some mental firepower. In a more casual game all commanders (like all dogs) are 11/10 models that you should take because they’re cool.

Chaos Lord in Terminator Armour

This is a lord of contrasts. He’s got terminator armor, which is good, but he’s expensive, which is bad. He can be a strategist, but you kind of want to teleport him in which means no CP until he’s on the board. He’s decent in melee, but single-damage weapons don’t really cut it so you need to spring for the power fist or chain fist. He’s more of a rule of cool commander than anything else. If you spend a CP he lets everything in 6” re-roll 1’s to hit.

Credit: TheChirurgeon


You basic psyker commander. Compared to a Primaris Librarian he’s a little weaker and worse in melee, but he also costs less which is a great trade-off. He knows Psybolt and two Dark Hereticus powers, which include the following:

  1. Death Hex: Warp Charge 7, an enemy model within 12” cannot take invulnerable saves for the turn. This is situational since many factions don’t have invulns but it crushes certain matchups.
  2. Prescience: Warp Charge 6, add 1 to hit rolls made for a friendly model within 8”. This would be better if there were better shooters, but it’s still good for an Aspiring Champion with a power fist or a plasma gunner.
  3. Diabolic Strength: Warp Charge 6, add 2 strength and 1 attack to a friendly model within 8”. This is a decent self-buff and it’s also a good way to buff up an ally that needs to hit hard that turn.

Sorcerer in Terminator Armour

This model has the dubious honor of being the most expensive psyker you can bring. He comes with a force weapon and a combi-bolter, and you can optionally replace the combi-bolter with another combo-weapon or a melee weapon. The chain fist is potentially interesting (especially at 0 points) but the Sorcerer is only OK in melee. The cool trick here is that you can teleport in and psychic people with your mind, which is pretty cool.

Exalted Champion

Realistically this is your best commander in a competitive setting. He’s cheap, relatively tough, can take Strategist for the extra CP and if you take a power fist he’s one of the better duelists in the game since he re-rolls failed hit rolls against Commanders (remember that re-rolls are before modifiers, so he only ever re-rolls 1’s). For 1 CP he can let all allies within 6” re-roll 1’s to wound.

Master of Possession

The Master of Possession is more or less a standard Sorcerer with an anti-psyker aura (enemy psykers perils on all doubles), different powers and a 5+ invulnerable save. The new powers include the following:

  1. Sacrifice: Warp Charge 4, deal a mortal wound to an ally and heal a Daemon (read: Possessed). There probably aren’t too many cases where it’s useful, it might be nice if there were more Daemons.
  2. Cursed Earth: Warp Charge 7, until the next turn friendly Daemons in 6” get +1 to their invulnerable save.
  3. Infernal Power: Warp Charge 6, until the next turn re-roll 1’s to hit and wound for friendly Daemons.

If you don’t really love possessed you’re probably taking standard powers rather than these.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Dark Apostle

The evil priests of Chaos. The gimmick here is that for 1 CP all allies within 6” of the Dark Apostle re-roll failed hits in the fight phase, and the Dark Apostle can take up to two Dark Disciples (cultists, more or less) that each add an inch to this aura if they’re within 1” of the Dark Apostle. This is a cheaper option and makes your already efficient melee significantly better, especially the cultists. Just don’t expect the Apostle to get much done with a 1 damage weapon.

Greater Possessed

This is a combat beast. S5, T5, W5, A5 (that’s a lot of 5’s), and it has an improved melee profile (AP-2 and D3 damage). For 1 CP it can give friendly Daemon models (which works out to Possessed) that share a god +1 Strength. It’s not the best commander ever but it’s reasonably efficient and a really cool model.

Master of Executions

This is another melee monster. The trick here is that he’s got a big Axe that’s basically a zero penalty power fist, and if he kills models you can spend a CP to raise his stats. I think he’s probably worse than the Exalted Champion most of the time, especially with the lack of a Strategist option, but he’s competent enough that you can take him in a fun game without feeling bad.


Chaos Space Marine Tactics

Chaos Space Marines get some decent tactics, but you can tell that they never got a box set because they’re missing the additional four or so that would give them a full compliment. Also only one of their tactics keys off a model’s devotion to a Chaos God and it’s Khorne so marks are functionally pretty meaningless beyond the Mark of Khorne.

  • Veterans of the Long War (2 CP) – Use when a CHAOS SPACE MARINE model from your Kill Team is chosen to attack (fight or shooting phase), Add 1 to its wound rolls for the rest of the phase against IMPERIUM models. They took a perfectly fine idea in the Chaos Space Marines codex and ruined it. This will rarely be useful enough to matter. C
  • Fury of Khorne (2 CP) – Use at the end of your Fight phase to have a KHORNE model fight again. This is fantastic, and great for clearing out key targets. A+
  • Daemon Spirit (2 CP) – Use at the end of your movement phase. Pick an enemy within 1″ of your leader and roll a #6. On a 4+, that enemy model takes a mortal wound. C
  • Beseech the Gods (2 CP) – Use at the start of your first battle round. Pick a model from your kill team and roll a D6. On a 1 it takes D3 mortal wounds. On a 2+, add 1 to the hit and wound rolls for that model until the end of the battle.. C


  • Teleport Strike (1 CP) – Deep strike a Terminator that you set up in reserve. If you’re going to bring a Terminator, this is the most reliable way to make sure they’re in the thick of things causing problems. A-
  • Veterans of the Long War (2 CP) – Veterans of the Long War has been updated to include TERMINATOR units. C

Kill Team Annual 2019

Kill Team Annual 2019 added a host of new tactics to the faction, making up for our lack of a boxed unit and vastly improving the faction. The book single-handed raised Chaos Space Marines two rungs on the competitive ladder. The big Tactics here are Blessed with Resilience, Endless Cacophony, and Guided by Fate.

  • Temptations of Power (1 CP) – Use at the start of a battle round to give all of the models in your team that don’t have a mark a single mark of your choosing. This would be a lot more useful if it last until the end of the battle but as is, it’s very situational. D
  • Blessed With Resilience (1 CP) – Use at the start of the Movement phase to give a NURGLE model +1 Toughness for the rest of the turn. Very helpful for making a key model tougher to kill and a compelling reason to use the Nurgle keyword on your Plasma gun or Autocannon gunners. A
  • Endless Cacophony (2 CP) – Use in the shooting phase to shoot a second time with a model with the SLAANESH keyword. This is amazingly good. The only thing holding it back is the Chaos armory but autocannons, plasma guns, and combi-weapons all make fine targets for it. A+
  • Grisly Trophy (1 CP) – Use in the Fight phase when your Commander kills an enemy model. For the rest of the phase you can re-roll wound rolls for friendly models within 6” of your commander. This is solid in games of Commander. B
  • Desperate Pact (1 CP) – Use at the start of your Movement phase to do 1 mortal wound to your Commander. If they don’t die from this, they get +1 Strength, Toughness, and Attacks for the rest of the battle. You can only do this once. This a fine trade-off to use at the start of the battle when you’re likely to survive. B
  • The Price of Heresy (3 CP) – Use in the morale phase to kill a Chaos Cultist within 3” of an unshaken Chaos Space Marine. Every other Cultist on your team that can see that Chaos Space Marine automatically passes its Nerve tests. This is a great way to keep a Cultist-heavy kill team (so, all of them) in line with minimal cost, if you can use it to get rid of an injured Cultist. The LOS specification gives it a lot of value in non-Arena games. The biggest downside is how expensive it is, but it can keep you around after a real bad turn. B
  • Path to Glory (3 CP) – Use when your level 1/2/3 Commander kills an enemy commander. Your Commander immediately goes up a level and gets a new ability. This is absurdly expensive for a power that you only get to use when you’ve essentially already won. Hell, half the Commander missions end when a Commander dies, so you can’t even use this. Not a fan. D
  • Daemonic Attack (3 CP) – Use when the enemy suffers a perils to give them 3 mortal wounds instead of D3. This is straight nasty and will kill most non-commander psykers. It’s pricey and situational, but when it comes up, you’ll want ot use this 100% of the time. B+
  • Let the Galaxy Burn! (2 CP) – Use in the shooting phase to give models within 3” of an objective of your choice the ability to re-roll wound rolls of 1. Strong in standard games, especially if you can stack multiple models on an objective and combos well with a Cultist flamer. Shame it won’t help you with Overwatch though, and does nothing for you in some Arena missions. B+
  • Guided By Fate (1 CP) – Use at the start of the Movement phase to give a TZEENTCH model a 5+ invulnerable save. Like Blessed with Resilience, this is a great addition that finally gives you a reason to use marks other than Khorne. Helpful when you know a meltagun or Frag Cannon might be around the corner. A


Playing Chaos Space Marines in Kill Team

That’s enough about the units and tactics. Let’s talk about how you’re going to play these guys on the table.

General Strategies

Take a light touch with Chaos Space Marines. Generally, you’re going to want to avoid marine-only kill teams, and non-specialist Chaos Space Marines generally. While marines are more fun to model and paint, neither bolter nor chainsword + bolt pistol marines bring much to the table in terms of killing power and you’re better off taking 3 Chaos Cultists for the same price. What you want to use Chaos marines for is taking specialists – you’ll want a plasma gun sniper on every team you build, and you’ll want a Combat Specialist Berzerker with a Chainaxe, Chainsword, and Icon of Wrath. There’s also a spot on some teams for an Autocannon Heavy. The exception here is your Leader. Make your Cultist Champion your Leader and save the Aspiring Champion, Berzerker Champion, and Terminator Champion for either the Combat, Zealot, or Veteran specialisms, where their additional attack and superior wargear can be put to better use. Don’t waste your points on a flamer or meltagun.

Run some Chaos Cultists. Autogun cultists are usually going to do more for you than pistol + close combat weapon cultists, so stack your command roster with the former. You’re going to want your Cultists gunners every game, since they’ll help cover gaps in your roster’s capabilities. For 5 points, the heavy stubber cultist will put in a surprising amount of work in most games. Your leader should be a Cultist Champion. Like all good Leaders, they should be hidden far in the back to generate you CP without risking anything.

Play the Objectives. Look at the mission and figure out your plan for capturing the objectives. Chaos Space Marine kill teams aren’t amazing at killing things, so you’ll need a plan for accomplishing the mission’s objectives with the bulk of your team while a combat monster or two hold the enemy’s team at bay.

Keep to Cover. You need to keep your strongest units on the board for as long as possible — once you’re down to just cultists and basic marines, things are going to go downhill fast. Don’t take any risks you don’t have to, and try and keep your surprisingly fragile models in positions where they’re harder to hit.

Chaos Space Marines in Arena

Things don’t change too much for Chaos Space Marines in Arena — you’ll be running them largely as a horde, where your Cultists can open doors and capture objectives while your Berzerkers clear out doorways and clear objectives held by the opponent. Remember that if an enemy is hiding behind flamers you can still charge in a few sacrificial cultists and after they’ve gotten in and stifled the overwatch you can send in the Berzerkers in to mop up the rest.


Sample Combat Rosters

Thanks to Kill Team Annual 2019, there’s a lot more variety possible with Chaos Space Marine lists, and we aren’t locked in to all-Khorne Word Eaters/Renegades lists that go heavy on Berserkers. Now we make those lists because we want to, and we can mix marks if we’re going Renegades.

Renegade Chapters

This list takes a full swing at what Chaos Space Marines can do now that they have a couple of real shooting options, trading out mono-Khorne for a Renegade Chapters list that still has amazing melee combat abilities thanks to Berserkers who can re-roll their charge distances free but now has some solid support for those options. We’ve got a plasma gun sniper still, but now we’re pairing him with an Autocannon Heavy and the ability to give him proper support at a distance, plus both have the Mark of Slaanesh so they can shoot twice with Endless Cacophony, making them very dangerous. It’s also very dangerous with our pair of Cultist Flamers, and if we bank 2 CP we can combine it with Let the Galaxy Burn to pull of some truly nasty effects. Sure, it’s a pipe dream, but it’s my pipe dream. Otherwise, the Cultist leader hides at the back, the cultists and gunners hold objectives, and the berserkers plow forward and kill anything they touch.


Chaos Cultist Champion – Shotgun, Mark of Slaanesh (specialism: Leader)
Chaos Space Marine Gunner – Plasma Gun, Mark of Slaanesh (specialism: Sniper)
Chaos Space Marine Gunner – Autocannon, Mark of Slaanesh (specialism: Heavy)
Khorne Berserker – Chainaxe + Chainsword (specialism: Combat)
Khorne Berserker – Chainaxe + Chainsword (specialism: Zealot)


Aspiring Champion – Power Maul, Plasma Pistol, Mark of Khorne
Berserker Champion – Power Maul, Chainsword
Berserker Champion – Power Fist, Chainsword
Khorne Berserker – Chainsword, Chainaxe
Chaos Space Marine Gunner – Plasma gun, Mark of Slaanesh
Chaos Cultist – Autogun, Mark of Tzeentch
Chaos Cultist – Autogun, Mark of Tzeentch
Chaos Cultist – Autogun, Mark of Tzeentch
Chaos Cultist – Autogun, Mark of Tzeentch
Chaos Cultist – Autogun, Mark of Tzeentch
Chaos Cultist – Autogun, Mark of Tzeentch
Chaos Cultist Gunner – Flamer, Mark of Slaanesh
Chaos Cultist Gunner – Flamer, Mark of Slaanesh
Terminator Champion – Chainfist, combi-plasma, Mark of Slaanesh
Khorne Berserker – Chainaxe + Chainsword


World Eaters

Here’s a sample World Eaters roster that makes the most of what Chaos Space Marines have to offer in Kill Team. You’ve got a Berzerker Champion and a Berzerker to act as your muscle, with the ability to either swap out a Berzerker or add in a Chaos Terminator Champion for some extra-brutal teleporting manpower that can fight twice in a pinch with the Fury of Khorne tactic. Your long-range firepower is a plasma gun sniper. Everything else is going to be Cultists. Autoguns will do the most work for you here, where your goal should be to close in to within 12″ where you can and use the volume of firepower to make up for your low BS and weak stopping power. I’m unlikely to ever run this with both Berzerkers and a Terminator Champion, but two out of the three will be on the table in most games.


Cultist Champion – Autogun (Specialism: Leader)
Berzerker Champion – Chainsword + Power axe (Specialism: Zealot)
Khorne Berzerker – Chainaxe + Chainsword, Icon of Wrath
Khorne Berzerker – Chainaxe + Chainsword, icon of Wrath (Specialism: Combat)
Chaos Space Marine Gunner – Plasma gun (Specialism: Sniper)
Terminator Champion – Chainfist, combi-plasma (Specialism: Combat)


Chaos Cultist – Autogun
Chaos Cultist – Autogun
Chaos Cultist – Autogun
Chaos Cultist – Autogun
Chaos Cultist – Autogun
Chaos Cultist – Autogun
Chaos Cultist – Autogun
Chaos Cultist – Autogun
Chaos Cultist – Autogun
Chaos Cultist – Autogun
Chaos Cultist – Autogun
Chaos Cultist Gunner – Flamer
Chaos Cultist Gunner – Heavy stubber


Final Thoughts

Chaos Space Marines are are in a rough space in Kill Team, lacking both overall stopping power and versatility. But if they can get in close with the Berzerkers, they can really make you regret it, while the Cultists can grab objectives and operate doors. It’s an uphill battle, to be sure — but it’s not a hopeless one. Hopefully this article has given you some good food for thought about how you can build your team to improve your record in games. As always, we’re interested in your feedback. If you’ve got any questions or comments, or want to share your Chaos Space Marines Kill Team with us to feature on the site, drop us a line in the comments below or shoot us an email at


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