Start Competing: Word Bearers Tactics

This is a companion article to our larger Start Competing: Chaos Space Marines article. In this article, we’re looking specifically at the Word Bearers traitor legion and how to manage their custom rules and strategies.

The underappreciated scholars of the Chaos Legions, the Word Bearers have some of the coolest units and rules in Horus Heresy but very little of that had been translated to the 41st millennium until recently. To make matters worse, they were saddled with one of the saddest legion traits in the game – the ability to re-roll failed morale checks. With the advent of Faith and Fury, Word Bearers got a decent reworking, gaining a powerful set of stratagems, warlord traits, and relics that helped transform them into a powerhouse in late 8th edition when working with Possessed. Now that Specialist Detachment are no longer around to help Possessed out they’re in a bit of a rougher place, but they still have quite a few interesting tricks that help them compete.

 

Legion Overview

Strengths

  • Great combo support: The Word Bearers have buffs that can grant both Dark Apostles and Psykers access to both more known abilities and ways to reliably deploy them. They’re also not locked in to any one god, so overall they’re an attractive legion for trying to put together cool combos.
  • Good Daemonic support: Some of the best combos you can set up make use of Daemon Engines, which are very powerful in 9th, and Possessed and summoning also get some help.
  • Powerful herohammer options: it isn’t just Sorcerors and Apostles who get fun tricks here – there are powerful abilities for Daemon Princes, Chaos Lords and Lords Discordant too.

Weaknesses

  • Poor support for Troops: The tools here area heavily focused on your characters and Daemon units, with very little draw towards pretty much anything else. Your troops end up underwhelming, and that can leave you short of things to secure objectives with.

Don: The Chaos Space Marines make pretty good troops with their increased protection from morale and cheap heavy weapons. You can also bring those updated chainswords for anything that tried to take your objectives. Don’t sleep on the Chaos Space Marines.

  • Too many options, not enough slots: The focus on herohammer means that the Word Bearers suffer especially badly from Chaos not yet having been promoted to having easy access to multiple Warlord traits and still having to pay 3CP for a second extra relic.

Don: Word Bearers are exceptionally easy to suffer from “too many toys, not enough boys.” It is easy to go very elite in your builds, but Word Bearers are not meant to be a sledge hammer like World Eaters or Emperor’s Children. Build for the long game and remember that you aren’t the “good guys.”

  • Outclassed by other options: There’s cool stuff here, but it’s currently very tricky to confidently say that Word Bearers are better at deploying the units they favour than some other options such as Death Guard or Iron Warriors.

Rules

Legion Trait: Profane Zeal

Word Bearers units with this trait can re-roll failed morale tests.

Word Bearers have long been notorious for having an extremely weak legion trait, and don’t get us wrong it’s still fairly terrible, but it’s slightly more appealing in 9th Edition. There are more reasons to take larger units than there once were, you can no longer re-roll morale tests with Command Points and hey, at least those filthy loyalists don’t get this for free on top of everything else any more.

That doesn’t stop this being a D.

Warlord Traits

The Word Bearers Warlord Traits are OK. Exalted Possession is the clear winner among them, and does exactly the kind of thing that I wish Word Bearers could just do to any CHARACTER as a stratagem.

  • The Voice of Lorgar. Add 3” to the range of this Warlord’s aura abilities. The Codex: Chaos Space Marines trait. Would be more useful if you could take a second warlord trait to give you a more useful aura to extend. C+
  • Exalted Possession. Your Warlord gains the POSSESSED and DAEMON keywords (if they didn’t already have them), plus they get +1 Strength and Attacks and +1” to their Movement. This is a very cool ability to give to a Chaos Lord or even a Daemon Prince. Extra strength and attacks are always relevant, and adding the DAEMON keyword opens up great synergies with the Chaos Daemons army that can help make your warlord even better. This works well on any of the characters you’d throw it on — don’t feel like you have to throw it on something that isn’t already a Daemon. Also opens up access to the Revered Hosts for the character. A
  • Daemonic Whispers. Roll a D3 before the battle, and you get that many CP. Also, once per battle, if your warlord is on the table, you can re-roll a single hit, wound, damage, or save roll. This is… Good. But boring. It’s definitely not enough of a reason to pick Word Bearers. Becomes an immediate A if they ever give Chaos a general-purpose extra trait ability. C+
  • Master of the Union. Friendly WORD BEARERS DAEMON units within 6” get +1 Attack. Another very solid ability, mostly useful for boosting Daemon Engines and Possessed. Works very well on Winged Daemon Princes and Lords Discordant, who also help themselves to that extra attack. Potentially helps Possessed actually “get there” when you start stacking on other bonuses. B+
  • Diabolist. When this Warlord would lose a wound, roll a D6 and on a 6+, you don’t lose a wound. BUT – add 3 to the roll if the wound is from a mortal wound. This is a nifty rider to add on–ignoring mortal wounds on a 3+ isn’t too shabby. This is probably on par with Unholy Fortitude. B
  • Sacrilegious Regeneration. The Warlord gets +1 Wound and at the start of your turn regains up to D3 lost wounds. This could have some value on a Lord Discordant or Daemon Prince if it weren’t for the fact that once they start taking wounds they usually die. It’s… OK. C+

Stratagems

Except for Dark Pact and Vengeance for Monarchia, Word Bearers have some insanely good stratagems. They have both buffs for Possessed and stratagems to help make sure that your supporting characters can fire off the buffs they need to get out, either from the psykers or the Dark Apostle.

  • Dark Pact (1 CP). Use at the end of your Movement phase when a Word Bearers character summons, you can re-roll the dice and you don’t suffer mortal wounds for doubles/triples. This is the Word Bearers Stratagem from Codex: Chaos Space Marines. With reduced ability to be flexible during list building, summoning in general has been a bit more common in 9th Edition, with holding back some points to bring in a unit of Nurglings being particularly popular. Sadly, for the kind of things you’re summoning this is unlikely to come into play that often. C+

Don: Definitely a niche stratagem,  though extremely useful in those niche situations.

  • Malevolent Covenant (1 CP). Use in the psychic phase, after a Word Bearers psyker fails a test. The power is automatically manifested at the minimum required warp charge value and without a double having been rolled and it can’t be denied. After you resolve the effects, you take 1 mortal wound. This is a very interesting power, and one of the key reasons to try and pull together a Word Bearers detachment – having your key powers be unfailable is golden. I love it for forcing through a high-cost power like Death Hex or Prescience when you really, really need it to go off. Also, as written, if you have enough psykers, it can also be used to force a D6-wound Smite. Most of the time it it lets you lean on un-failable Warptime, Cursed Earth, Death Hex, or Prescience. A
  • Apostle of the Dark Council (1 CP). Use before the battle (and only once). Upgrade one of your Dark Apostles to have the Dark Council ability, which lets them know and chant one extra prayer each battle round. So basically the ability that all Marine chapters have, but only for Word Bearers. This is really good, especially because you can combine it with the Epistle of Lorgar relic and Disciples to get near-automatic successes. Another very good Stratagem, you can use it to pair up powers like Benediction of Darkness and Illusory Supplication to protect a key vehicle, or use Warp-sight Plea and a defensive option in the same turn. A
  • Cursed Despoilers (2 CP). Used after deployment but before the first turn if you have a Word Bearers unit on the table. Pick one Area Terrain or Obstacle feature. That terrain piece doesn’t provide any cover benefits to saving throws. This is an interesting ability, and potentially more helpful in games/events where you have static terrain layouts, so you’ll have a good idea of what hiding spots there are pre-game. You can also potentially use it to stop some sort of large, mid-table piece giving light cover if you think an opponent is planning to push the engagement into it. The price is very steep, however, and do note that this effect hits you too, should you find yourself on that terrain feature. C

Don: This can throw a wrench in to the careful deployment of an opponent’s army. I do appreciate anything which can alter how your opponent feels like they have to play.

  • Revered Hosts (1 CP). Use in the Fight phase when you pick a Word Bearers POSSESSED or GREATER POSSESSED to fight. Until the end of the phase, add 1 to the damage of melee weapons for models in the unit. With the death of specialist detachments in 9th Edition competitive play, this is one of the few tricks available to make Possessed mildly more interesting. Taking twenty is dead in the water as a game plan, but you can plausibly still take ten and make them do a decent amount between this, Dark Apostle buffs and auto-cast powers.  It can also let a character you’ve upgraded with Exalted Possession throw out some serious pain. A
  • Hexagrammatic Ward (1 CP). Use in any phase after you make a save roll for a Word Bearers Character. Treat the result of the save as a 6. You can only use this once per battle on a given Word Bearers character. This stratagem owns. The best part is you elect to use it after rolling your save, so you can wait for when you really need it. It’s very clutch to have and a hilarious combo with the Sacrilegious Regeneration Warlord trait. Even better than before in 9th where you’re more likely to end up needing to save a character who got caught in the open. A
  • Vengeance for Monarchia (1 CP). Use in the Fight phase when a Word Bearers unit is fighting. You can re-roll hits and wounds against ULTRAMARINES units. Welp, they couldn’t all be winners. D

 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Relics

There are several very, very good Word Bearers Relics and all of them do something interesting at the very least. The only dud in the group is the Book of the Reviler and there’s plenty here to consider.

  • The Cursed Crozius. Replaces a power maul or accursed crozius. A S+2, AP-2, 3 damage unit that re-rolls wound rolls against IMPERIUM units. This isn’t flashy, but it’s a pretty damn good. The AP and Strength bonuses aren’t amazing, but this is the only place you’re gonna find flat 3 damage outside of a Thunder Hammer, and not having a -1 to hit attached to it means you can put in some real work and still proc Death to the False Emperor. This works very well with the Exalted Possession Warlord trait, which gets you to 7 strength and makes you eligible to receive aura buffs from Daemon Heralds, Greater Possessed, and the Master of Possession powers, getting you to S8 or S9 and able to smash anything you get your hands on. However, it does mean you’re stacking buffs onto a character not really designed for combat at baseline, and you might be better off spending your picks elsewhere. B
  • Crown of the Blasphemer. This model gets +1 to its invulnerable save (to a max of 3+), and enemy units within 6” get -1 Ld. The Leadership modifier is a nice bonus, but the real value here is the boost to your invulnerable save. It’s particularly good on a Lord Discordant, where getting to that 4++ is pretty valuable for a targetable character. Not too shabby on a daemon prince, either. B
  • Baleful Icon. Enemy units charging a friendly WORD BEARERS unit within 6” of this model subtract 2 from the result. This is an interesting ability, in part because you don’t really see it as an aura often, and it’s also recently been taken away from a lot of Marine units as a “static” buff. Gets even better in 9th, as if your unit is within or past (now more common) difficult terrain this can straight up prevent them being chargeable out of deep strike without some sort of buff getting involved. B+

Don: The Baleful Icon is my favorite relic in the entire CSM roster.  A constant aura that hampers your opponent’s ability to steal your objectives from you during the charge phase.

  • Book of the Reviler. Non-Daemons only. Before the battle you can activate this to randomly generate two free Chaos Boons from the table in Codex: Chaos Space Marines, re-rolling Spawndom, Daemonhood, and Duplicates. This is… OK, I guess. Your chances of getting one 7 result (which lets you pick any result) on 2D6 about 1 in 3, where you’re usually looking for specific stat boosts. Otherwise it’s such a grab bag that you’re better off not taking this. C-
  • The Malefic Tome. Psyker only. You know one more psychic power from your chosen discipline, and you get +1 to your psychic tests. This is a pretty solid add, since it lets you stack Prescience, Warptime, and something like Delightful Agonies or Weaver of Fates on the same Sorcerer or have two spells on a Daemon Prince, but the +1 to cast is the real rockstar here. Being able to reliably cast Prescience is huge for Chaos Space Marines and if you pair this with something like Warp Lord you can make your casts near-automatic. You can also put it on a Master of Possession to really lean in to setting up your Daemon Engine combos. A
  • Ashen Axe. Replaces a chainaxe. The Ashen Axe is a S+1, AP-2, d3 Damage axe that prevents any non-Vehicle, non-Titanic units within 1” from falling back unless they have a minimum Move characteristic. Trapping your enemy is always a fantastic trick to have up your sleeve, though can be challenging to fit in to your more limited Character slots in 9th. The other downside is that the weapon is only OK, but if you’re still planning on trying Possessed this can be a big help in letting them trap stuff, especially as wrapping isn’t as reliable in 9th. A
  • Epistle of Lorgar. PRIESTS only (so, Dark Apostles). When you chant a prayer, you can re-roll to determine if it’s heard. Also friendly Word Bearers within 6” get +1 Ld. This is better than it looks. I mean, the Ld bonus still doesn’t matter, but being able to stack this with the +1 from your Disciples essentially gives you a re-rollable 2+  for your prayers, which is nifty if you’re planning to upgrade your Apostle to an Apostle of the Dark Council. B

 

Credit: Robert “theChirurgeon” Jones

Notable Units

Master of Possession

The best things you can be doing with Word Bearers are playing around with any of Daemon Engines, Possessed or summoning, and whichever of those you’re going hard on this guy probably has ways of helping you. Cursed Earth is a great power but also one of the ones that hurts the most if you fail it in a pinch, so he’s a big beneficiary from both the Malefic Tome and Malevolent Covenant. We’d expect most realistic Word Bearer lists to have one of these running around making a nuisance of themselves. Don’t forget that if you’re short on slots to get a Sorceror in as well you can also use Chaos Familiar to trade out a power for Warptime.

Sorcerers

There’s nothing worse than a failed Warptime, and if a successful cast is something you must have a Word Bearer patrol with a Sorcerer and some cultists is pretty much the cheapest way to reliably get it. Souping in a Word Bearers patrol just for a Sorcerer with access to Malevolent Covenant is a solid play.

Dark Apostle

Dark Apostles are a tougher sell on baseline in 9th now that they can no longer pick their prayers game to game, but Word Bearers suffer from that way less than most thanks to being able to take two prayers with Apostle of the Dark Council. Warp Sight Plea and Benediction of Darkness are going to be your bread and butter here, and as long as you’ve got at least one thing you want to keep alive and one nasty shooting threat should give you a lot of value. The strength of a buffed Dark Apostle also makes Word Bearers an especially attractive place to try running a single Lord of War, so while most of those aren’t super competitive this legion probably is the place to try them out if you love the models.

Lord Discordant

If you’re willing to go in on one hard, the Word Bearers can make a Lord Discordant who can go absolutely ham on your opponents by stacking Exalted Possession, Revered Hosts and Daemonforge. The resulting round of combat is going to punt pretty much anything on the receiving end directly into the sun, and with 9th making juicy targets for that kind of damage output much more common. Greater Daemons and large melee bombs are all on the rise, and none really want to face a souped-up Discolord in a bad mood. You also get some strong tools for keeping them alive between Apostle prayers, Cursed Earth and the option on a clutch auto-save with Hexagrammatic Ward. Making a unit that can be shot at your warlord is definetely a bit spooky, but the power is definitely here.

Possessed

It’s kind of a tragedy that in 9th, an edition which theoretically favours units in the role Possessed fill, that they’re mostly kind of naff. Their base stats just aren’t really there, and they leant on the Daemonkin Ritualists specialist detachment to get things done – mostly. Word Bearers, thanks to being able to boost their damage by 1, are the only place where you can just about get their output up to something respectable, and while they don’t become a full-on build around, a unit of 10 are a pretty nasty melee hammer that doesn’t totally break the bank. You need to use them much more as single-use shock troops than they used to be, but that is a useful slot to be filling in 9th and here they can sort of do it. Just pray to the dark gods you don’t roll a 1 for their attacks.

Obliterators

Obliterators are pretty close to just being good right now, and being able to reliably drop them straight into a Cursed Earth/Daemonic Power bubble makes them especially appealing here.

Daemon Engines

With all the casting support for Masters of Possession, Daemon Engines become very appealing, especially ones that are happy to operate at mid ranges in a bubble. That makes Venomcrawlers, Defilers and Decimators all look attractive, the last seeming especially spicy out of the updated Forge World Compendium, where they’ve gotten both nastier and cheaper. Our starter for ten would be a mixture of those and Defilers – you probably want the soulburners on the Decimators, so loading up on Defiler scourges for counter-charge deterrant will help keep them safe from anything coming to bully them. Given the size of Defilers and the difficulty of charging them from Deep Strike that the Baleful Icon provides, that’s a genuinely pretty nasty setup if you can get it emplaced in the mid-board. The only caveat to throw on Daemon Engines is that unlike in a lot of other legions Heldrakes don’t really have anything that makes them really shine here – stick to the mid-board ones.

 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Playing Word Bearers

As they currently stand, Word Bearers feel like they work best when they deploy a block of Daemon Engines to seize the mid-board and secrete a few deadly hammer units, either Possessed or souped-up characters, in terrain ready to pop out and dunk anything that’s looking troublesome up close. With a 4++ applied from Cursed Earth, Daemon Engines are very aggressively costed for their statlines and can throw out healthy amounts of damage too. The big recent discount on Decimators is a particular help for this strategy, as the mortal wound output of the soulburners is extremely well positioned in the current metagame, going through units like storm shield Vanguard Veterans, Deathwing and Thunderwolf cavalry much more efficiently than most kinds of ranged output, and if you can keep them safe they’ll do some serious work. They also terrify opponents, and that might cause them to overextend to try and take them out, bringing them into strike range of your forces. Your big asset as Word Bearers is that when you need a turn to go right you have some tools to really make that happen, which means that if you can bait your opponent into a trap then you can hopefully blow them out.

Your main challenge with this plan is that, in and of themselves, Word Bearers don’t really have any tools to set up early board control. If you’re willing to soup they’ll benefit particularly strongly from bringing some Nurglings along, both to secure that early board control and shore up the lack of good ObSec units in Word Bearers themselves. If that’s not an option for you, your best plan is probably to use your melee counter-charge units to discourage your opponent from coming too close while you move into position. Lean on the Baleful Icon to keep yourself safe from surprise charges, and build a powerful mid-table fortress from which to grind your opponents down!

Tips and Tricks to Remember

  • Measure your auras carefully: You’re likely going to be building around powerful auras or short-ranged effects, so make sure you’ve measured things properly and don’t leave one of your key units awkwardly outside your bubbles!
  • Stack your buffs: Combining Cursed Earth with the aura from a Lord Discordant or Veterans of the Long War out of Obliterators or Possessed will mess opponents up very badly. If you forget to stack or activate these or get squeamish on spending the CP, you’re going to very quickly find that unbuffed Possessed and Obliterators can be a bit disappointing.
  • Remember your emergency buttons: Malevolent Covenant and Hexagrammatic Ward are there to get you out of sticky situations – don’t forget you have them, and be a bit more aggressive about holding on to your last CP than you might be in other lists.
  • Prioritise getting to the mid board: You can build strong Daemon Engine gunlines, but they need to be mobile – holding them in your deployment zone will leave you falling behind on the primary.

 

The Lists

Chris Garruto’s Word Bearers

Although they have some cool things going for the, Word Bearers still aren’t super popular, but with some intrepid searching we’ve been able to find a list to show you. This went 3-2 at the recent South Georgia Havoc GT:

Word Bearers Battalion Detachment (70 PL, 1,402pts, 8 CP)

Gifts of Chaos (2 Relics) [-3CP]

No Slot: Dark Disciples [1 PL, 10pts]: No Chaos Mark x2

HQ: Dark Apostle [4 PL, 80pts, -1CP]: Apostle of the Dark Council, Baleful Icon, Benediction of Darkness, Blissful Devotion, Mark of Slaanesh, Warpsight Plea
HQ: Lord Discordant on Helstalker [10 PL, 200pts]: 2. Exalted Possession, Baleflamer, Crown of the Blasphemer, Mark of Slaanesh, Warlord, Helstalker: Techno-virus injector
HQ: Master of Possession [5 PL, 95pts]: Cursed Earth, Infernal Power, Mark of Slaanesh, Sacrifice, The Malefic Tome

Troops: Chaos Space Marines [4 PL, 80pts]: Mark of Slaanesh, Aspiring Champion: Astartes chainsword, Combi-plasma, 4x Marine w/ boltgun: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Boltgun, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
Troops: Chaos Space Marines [4 PL, 85pts]: Mark of Slaanesh, Aspiring Champion: Combi-plasma, Power axe, 4x Marine w/ boltgun: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Boltgun, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
Troops: Chaos Space Marines [4 PL, 70pts]: Mark of Slaanesh, Aspiring Champion: Astartes chainsword, Boltgun, 4x Marine w/ boltgun: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Boltgun, 4x Frag & Krak grenades

EL: Chaos Decimator [10 PL, 220pts]: Mark of Slaanesh, 2x Soulburner petard
EL: Possessed [10 PL, 210pts]: Icon of Excess, Mark of Slaanesh x10

FA: Chaos Spawn [4 PL, 92pts]: Mark of Slaanesh x4

HS: Venomcrawler [7 PL, 130pts]: Mark of Slaanesh
HS: Venomcrawler [7 PL, 130pts]: Mark of Slaanesh

++ Reinforcements (Chaos – Daemons) [590pts] ++

Reinforcements [590pts]

++ Total: [70 PL, 8CP, 1,992pts] ++

As you can probably see, this is leaning on a lot of the things we’ve covered. Leading the charge, the fully operational Lord Discordant of doom looks pretty menacing, and equipped with the Crown of the Blasphemer will be a complete pain to take down. A Master of Possession and Dark Apostle, both sporting the legion’s special tools, back him up, and all of these together are turbo-charging some Venomcrawlers, Possessed and a Decimator (here still at the old price).

Beyond that, the main thing that’s eye-catching here is obviously the huge pool of summoning points. With +1 from the Venomcrawlers, it’s worth remembering that the Master of Possession can cook up a Keeper of Secrets on an average roll, and also has the option of bringing in units of Fiends, Seekers or a Controted Epitome for board control as the situation dictates. The only big challenge with that is it forcing you to stay stationary for a turn to pull it off, and if I was piloting this I’d probably have taken Incursion instead of Sacrifice as the last power, planning to use that to summon on the go turn one then discard it for Warptime after that. As it is, you’d likely want to initially prioritise summoning something that could, itself, summon stuff in future turns in order to give yourself more options.

The summoning angle does give this list a lot of flexibility as to what threats it can throw down, and while it starts a little sparse on the table its initial threats will be very resilient, and potentially quite likely to succeed at baiting an opponent into coming too close, where the Possessed or the Discolord can do some nasty work.

The big consideration for how this list might potentially change going forward comes from Decimators – they got a whole bunch cheaper and tougher out of the Forge World Compendium, and having a list that can reliably have them hitting on 2s and sitting in Cursed Earth is really good, and is worth reconfiguring some stuff around. With that in mind…

 

Wings’ Spin on Word Bearers

Inspired by that, and riffing off some of what Chris’s list is doing and a Daemon package that’s been effective at supporting Daemon Engine builds when mixed with Death Guard, I came up with the following:

Word Bearers Vanguard Detachment (-4 CP, 1,315 points)

1 Extra Relic  -1CP

HQ: Lord Discordant, Autocannon, Mark of Slaanesh, Technovirus Injector, Baleful Icon, Warlord, Exalted Possession 190
HQ: Master of Possession, Cursed Earth, Infernal Power, Mark of Slaanesh, Sacrifice, The Malefic Tome 95

EL: Decimator, 2 soulburner petards 180, Slaanesh
EL: Decimator, 2 soulburner petards 180, Slaanesh
EL: Decimator, 2 soulburner petards 180, Slaanesh
EL: 10 Possessed, Mark of Slaanesh, Icon of Excess 210

HS: Defiler, reaper autocannon, defiler scourge 140, Slaanesh
HS: Defiler, reaper autocannon, defiler scourge 140, Slaanesh

Detachment Total – 1315

Chaos Daemons Patrol (-4 CP, 685 points)

Extra Relic -1CP
Exaltation -1CP

HQ: Exalted Lord of Change, Warlord, Impossible Robe, Aura of Mutability, Infernal Gateway, Gaze of Fate, Bolt of Change  270
HQ: Herald of Slaanesh, Delightful Agonies, the Forbidden Gem 55

Troops: 5 Nurglings, 90
Troops: 5 Nurglings, 90
Troops: 5 Nurglings, 90

FA: 5 Nurgle Furies 45
FA: 5 Nurgle Furies 45

Total: 2000pts, 4CP

This version brings Daemons into the main body of the list, as I really think there’s nothing else in Chaos that’s going to complement the Daemon Engine-centric strategies that Word Bearers encourage quite as well – starting with some units up the table will be a huge help to establishing early board presence.

This matters because if it comes down to a mid-table grind fest this list is in a good spot. With three soulburner-toting Decimators in play plus the psychic firepower of the Lord of Change, this list has exceptionally high Mortal Wound output, positioning it very effectively in a metagame where storm shields are all the range. Just imaging firing all those soulburners at a unit of Deathwing Knights. Fun stuff. You’ve also got some powerful counter-charge threats to babysit your shooty Daemon Engines, with a less tooled up (but still dangerous) Discolord backed up by a unit of Possessed, meaning that your ranged units are far from easy prey to enemy melee pushes. I’ve also managed to squeeze in some Furies, who are great for fielding Action-based secondaries or just being something cheap to dump on a home objective.

There are some drawbacks, of course. Your starting CP pool here is low, so you’ll need to be conservative with it – two are probably spoken for to cover swapping the Master to Warptime and popping Revered Hosts when the Possessed connect, and you probably want to save the rest for Malevolent Covenant a lot of the time. Luckily, most of the rest of your units don’t need much help – with Infernal Power and the Discolord around the Decimators work just fine without Daemonforge, and the Daemon stuff is all self sufficient. The other major drawback is that you need to have a CSM warlord to unlock the powerful Word Bearers relics, so Big Bird is a bit less durable than normal – but in a list with a bunch of other potent threats, that’s a bit less of a concern.

I suspect that similar combinations using Death Guard engines instead of Word Bearers might still be better, but the unique spice of heavily buffed Decimators does give this list a unique and powerful angle, and I think it could do well on the table.

 

Where to Read More

Click here to return to our larger guide on Chaos Space Marines. If you have any questions or feedback, shoot us an email at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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