Start Competing: World Eaters Tactics

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

The Khorne-devoted legion of Chaos Space Marines, revolving around the principle of “wrecking things in melee combat.” Most of the World Eaters’ abilities and rules are based around helping them either get into combat, or fight better once they are there. As with Emperor’s Children, World Eaters have a special benefit in that they can take Khorne Berserkers as Troops, eliminating the need for them to fill out detachments with worthless Cultists and instead making their frothing madmen the meat of their strategy. Berserkers are a very effective combat unit and really shine as troops in a World Eaters detachment, and you can supplement them easily with either Terminators or Daemons.


Legion Overview

Driven into a frothing rage by the Butcher’s Nails implants in their skulls, the World Eaters worship Khorne, hate psykers, and excel in melee combat. Their core benefits are all about getting into combat early and often and absolutely shredding anything they come into contact with once they do.


  • Melee Combat. The World Eaters are the best of the Chaos legions when it comes to melee combat, owing to their extra attack, stratagems, and the ability to take Berserkers as Troops choices. If you want to smash things in melee, this legion can help you get there. They’re also the only faction with Troops that fight twice and the ability to give other units that same ability. They’ve gotten even better now with the update to Death to the False Emperor, turning their massive number of attacks into even more attacks.
  • Fast. World Eaters have a few ways to get to combat faster, such as the Violent Urgency Warlord Trait or the Apoplectic Frenzy Stratagem to get pre-game moves.
  • Daemon Engines. Being locked to the Mark of Khorne means that World Eaters still have access to Blood Slaughterers, Kytan Ravagers, Lords of Skulls, and Brass Scorpions as options for their army and several of these are pretty competitive.
  • Daemon Synergies. The Daemon options for World Eaters have a lot of strong synergy with Khorne Daemons, where bonuses like +1 strength can be pretty relevant.


  • Mark-Locked. World Eaters are locked into the mark of Khorne and so that means no shooting twice and more importantly, no…
  • Psychic powers. None of your units in a World Eaters detachment can be psykers, which means you’re ostensibly missing out on one of the more powerful features of a Chaos Space Marine army, and thanks to the June FAQs even souping in another legion won’t help you since powers like Warptime and Prescience now only affect <LEGION> units. On the plus side, you’ll have easy access to the Abhor the Witch secondary, and that’s good news because the secondary is once again useful thanks to the large number of Grey Knights, Thousand Sons, and Tyranid armies you’ll go up against in the competitive world.
  • No bonuses to Hit. With no psychic powers and no icon of Excess, the World Eaters are the only legion that can’t really get +1 to hit on its units, preventing it from truly taking advantage of the new Death to the False Emperor rules. Warp-Sight Plea only works on ranged attacks and nothing else you’ve got boosts this.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones


The World Eaters are a simple folk with simple desires: Murder things in melee, offering up skulls for Khorne’s skull throne. Their rules reflect this single-minded goal.

Legion Trait: Butcher’s Nails

When a unit with this legion trait charges, you can make 1 extra attack with each of its models in the subsequent Fight phase. This is worded extremely poorly, so you only get +1 attack on the first round of fights with a squad of Berserkers, but it’s still a good boost. In addition to this, every unit in a World Eaters army has to have the Mark of Khorne, and as a result they can have no psykers. Also – and this is the best part – Berserkers are a Troops choice for World Eaters. This gives you much better troops options for filling out a detachment, and is the primary value that World Eaters bring to the table in a Chaos Space Marines army, particularly since they have stratagems to make their berserkers better. B

Warlord Traits

True to form, the World Eaters traits are primarily focused on turning your Warlord into a killing machine, though there are a couple of good force multipliers here. There are enough solid traits here that you’re going to wish you had a way to take more than one of them.

  • Slaughterborn. When you kill an enemy Character, Monster or Titanic model with an attack by this warlord, add 1 to it’s Attacks, Strength characteristics. This is the Codex Trait. Judging by how many of these Chaos gets, it really seems like GW thinks that games involve World Eaters characters tearing through a lot of enemy characters instead of watching a bunch of enemy characters run the hell away. This is even less useful in 9th edition, where characters tend to be rarer owing to the quirks of army construction and the potential downsides of opening yourself up to the Assassinate secondary objective. C
  • Arch Slaughterer. If there are more enemy models within 3” of your warlord than friendly models at the start of the Fight phase, they get D3 extra attacks until the end of the fight phase. If Kharn had this as his Warlord Trait it’d be pretty solid thanks to fighting twice. As-is, it’s just OK. C+
  • Disciple of Khorne. Re-roll hits and wounds against characters or units that have a model with 5 or more wounds when using the Warlord’s melee weapons. Basically made for going after vehicles and monsters, but it’s also extremely useful for just going after enemy characters, who will often have 5 or more wounds (it’s a ton more useful than Slaughterborn anyways, which doesn’t kick in until you’ve killed them). This ends up being a kind of always-on Daemonforge for a Chaos Lord, Lord Discordant, or Daemon Prince, and it’s a very solid take since it covers most of the targets you’ll want them taking out. B+
  • Violent Urgency. When an Advance or charge is made for a friendly World Eaters within 6” of the warlord, add 1 to the result. This is very, very good, particularly when you’ve got a squad of Berserkers piling out of a Termite drill looking to make a 9” charge or a squad of Terminator Berserkers dropping in. Going from a 9+ to an 8+ with the ability to re-roll charges using an Icon of Wrath really helps dramatically improve your charge probabilities and this is a very solid ability to put on a Lord that will be dropping in with those units. A
  • True Berzerker. Halve incoming damage from melee weapons against your warlord. Cute for when you’re going up against all those characters and Knights, but in those cases the best defense will usually be an offense that murders them before they have a chance to fight back. B
  • Battle Lust. Increases your Warlord’s Heroic Intervention range to 6” and they always fights first in the fight phase, even if you didn’t charge. If the enemy charged or if they have a similar ability, alternate with choosing units to fight, starting with the player whose turn is taking place. This is a lot more useful in 9th edition, where fight first abilities are much stronger thanks to the way the Fight phase is structured and the change to the rules that allow units to attack units that Heroically Intervened. On that note the ability to Heroically Intervene 6″ can be a nightmare for opponents who are trying to engage your enemy units without touching your Warlord and it’s a great way to control larger chunks of the battlefield. On a jump pack Chaos Lord it can be particularly nasty when you can intervene 6″ and swat AIRCRAFT out of the sky. A


Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones


World Eaters have a very tasty set of Stratagems that cover a variety of bases, from shutting down enemy psychic powers so you can make it into combat to helping you get into combat, to making your murder machines better at being in combat, to helping your guys survive the morale phase after combat.

  • Fury of Khorne (3 CP). Use at the end of the Fight phase to have a MARK OF KHORNE unit pile in and fight an additional time. Not technically a World Eaters Stratagem but worth mention here because of the Khorne aspect and how important it is to the army’s strategy. If you aren’t fighting twice for free and need to finish a unit off or move an additional time in the Fight phase, this is how you do it. Expensive but worth it when you need to use it. A-
  • Scorn of Sorcery (1 CP). The Codex Stratagem. Use in the opponent’s Psychic phase when a psyker manifests a power within 24” of a World Eaters unit, roll a D6. On a 4+ the power is negated. The Codex reprint, and a great stratagem. Negating something 50% of the time is good to have, especially when you have no psykers. Not quite as good as it used to be since you can’t re-roll the attempt with a CP re-roll, but that’s most stratagems with a roll these days. Note that you can elect to use this after you attempt to Deny the power if you have a psyker in your army able to do so. Also note that you can use this to deny Psychic Actions, making it doubly useful in your many future matchups against the new Thousand Sons book. A
  • Apoplectic Frenzy (1 CP). Use this during deployment when you set up a World Eaters INFANTRY unit from your army. At the start of the first battle round but before the first turn begins, move that unit 9”. It cannot end within 9” of enemy models. If both players have units that can move before the game begins, take turns starting with the player who has the first turn. On the whole, this is a very useful ability even if it requires you to pick a unit that’s out in the open (read: not in a Transport) to move. Ultimately these moves can help you get onto objectives before the first turn or put your units in a position to make a key first-turn charge. The big question mark on this comes from the changes to game structure – you have to use this Stratagem before you know if you’ll have the first turn, but you’ll know when you make the move how that’s going to shake out, so you can either move aggressively if you know you’re going first or move into a safer position if you need to once you know that you’re going second. Even with its restrictions it’s still a strong ability for setting up board control and charges. A
  • Skulls for the Skull Throne. (1 CP). Use in the fight place after a World Eaters Character kills a character with a melee weapon. Gain D3 Command Points. This is a no-brainer, all-upside ability that you will use whenever you kill a character. A
  • Red Butchers (2 CP). Use before the battle (and only once), select one unit of World Eaters Terminators. Add 1 to the Strength of that unit. They also gain the Fight Twice in the fight phase ability that ‘regular’ Berserkers have. Now this is what I’m talking about. Expensive, but a massive upgrade to Terminators, and finally gives me a use for those Forge World kits I’ve got sitting around. Really not sure why they limited this to once per game. I’m also not sure it’s good enough, but it’s worth a shot on lightning claw Terminators who can toss out 5 attacks each on their first fight and 4 in the second. Given how devastating terminators can already be in melee, this might do better work on a Terminator Chaos Lord, where you can get a lot of high value attacks out of a second round of combat and you’re less likely to overkill your targets. A
  • Kill! Maim! Burn! (1 CP). Use in the Fight phase before you consolidate with a World Eaters unit. Move them 6” instead of 3”. This is a great tactical ability that most players are going to overlook. Consolidating 6” is a great way to shift your Berzerkers onto an objective after they wipe out a target, or into a better position, either defensively or offensively. You can also use it tag the next target if it’s a high-value target that won’t hurt you much in melee. People are going to sleep on this ability and you will use it to surprise them, and then murder them. B+
  • Wild Fury (1 CP). Use when selecting a World Eaters unit to fight. Until the end of the fight phase, improve the unit’s AP by 1. This is the boost that Berzerkers and Red Butchers Terminators need to get over the top against many enemy units. As any Marine player can tell you, improving the AP of a crapload of attacks by 1 is incredibly powerful, especially when it’s applied to models that fight twice and only have AP-1 to begin with. This and fighting twice will let you get away with smaller squads of berserkers than you’d think in 9th edition. Note as well that this is one of the few World Eaters stratagems that works on non-infantry and as such can be helpful on a Maulerfiend’s Lasher Tendrils or Defiler/Helbrute scourges, where going from AP-2 to AP-3 could be a big swing. A+
  • Blood for the Blood God (2 CP). Use when you destroy an enemy unit in the Fight phase. Until the start of your next turn, World Eaters units auto pass all morale checks without having to roll any dice. This requires a bit of planning and foresight to use well, and is basically banking on you having multiple units in combat potentially losing multiple models per unit, and being able to recognize that will happen as soon as you destroy a unit. The big downside is that you can’t wait for the Morale phase, but if you know you’re going to take a beating with your Berserkers from attacks back (and they’re pretty fragile, all things considered), or you’ve got Cultists you need to save, then this is a good option to activate rather than waiting to try and spend the same CP on Insane Bravery. C
  • Stoke the Nails (1CP). Use when a non-cultist INFANTRY or BIKER unit fights. Death to the False Emperor triggers against everyone for the phase, and triggers on a 5+ against IMPERIUM units. Super good at letting your units punch that much harder and well priced at 1 CP. Especially tasty if you decide to bring a non-World Eaters Sorcerer to buff your units’ by giving them +1 to hit so they can trigger those extra attacks on a 5+/4+. A

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones


World Eaters relics are all about melee combat, and all four of the weapon choices are at least decent. The others are only OK. Not the end of the world, since World Eaters are more interested in having a horde of berzerkers murder things out of the Troops slot.

  • The Brass Collar of Borghaster. The Codex Relic. Gives the bearer the ability to Deny the Witch once per enemy psychic phase, and any successfully denied powers this way auto Perils the caster. Nice if you don’t have Flesh Hound support against Eldar, but ideally paired with a CHAOS DAEMONS detachment so you can hit them for an extra D3 mortal wounds every time they perils. B+
  • Crimson Killer. Replaces a plasma pistol. 12” range, S 9, AP -3, 3 Damage. Unmodified wound rolls of a 4+ with this weapon inflict a bonus mortal wound. That’s one hell of a profile for a pistol and it beats the hell out of giving the model a chainsword to go with its primary melee weapon. B
  • Gorefather. Replaces a chainaxe with an axe that’s S+2, AP -2, 3 Damage but gives -1 to your hit rolls. However, each unmodified wound roll of a 6 inflicts 3 mortal wounds and ends the attack sequence. This is a solid weapon, and the fact that it replaces a weapon that costs 1 point is also worth noting. It combos particularly well with the Disciple of Khorne trait, where the re-rolls help offset the -1 to hit and helps fish for more mortal wounds. It’ll turn off Death to the False Emperor, but you can get that back if you need by using Stoke the Nails to improve your chances to a 5+, and you can use other buffs to negate the -1. B+
  • Banner of Rage. Priest model only. Once per battle you can activate this to add 1 to the attacks of friendly World Eaters within 6” of the model. This increases the already insane amount of attacks berserkers get but it’ll probably do better work on raptors or bikers, where they start with a smaller number of attacks and the boost is more meaningful (even if they aren’t swinging at S6). Then again it’s just very solid for a Berserker Horde or just chewing through a very tough or large unit. Pairs well with the Fury of Khorne and Wild Fury Stratagems. B
  • Berserker Glaive. Replaces a power axe or axe of dismemberment (the Master of Executions’ Axe). Profile is S +1, AP -2, 2 damage and if the bearer loses a wound, on a 5+ the wound is not lost. A solid upgrade for an Exalted Champion or Terminator Lord. Less sold that you’ll want to replace a MoE’s axe with it. C+
  • Helm of Furore. Infantry only. Add +2 to the Strength characteristic of the model with the relic. You must charge with this model if you are within 8” of an enemy at the start of the Charge phase. Cool way to get over some thresholds on your jump pack Chaos Lord (you can get to S10 with a power fist or Thunder Hammer) and extremely lore-appropriate. As an option I’m not sure it’s worth giving up control of when you do and don’t charge, but you can play around this pretty easily. C+
  • Bloodhunger. When an enemy model is destroyed by the relic holder in the fight phase, roll a d6. On a 4+ the bearer regains up to 1 lost wound. This is actually a really good way to keep your Daemon Prince or Lord Discordant at full wounds, just because of how easy it is for one of them to chew through 4-6 models per turn. B-


Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Notable Units

The World Eaters have a special character of their own (Kharn) and there are a number of units that really benefit from what they want to do.

Kharn the Betrayer

The face of the World Eaters, Kharn is a serious threat in melee combat. His axe gives him S6, AP-4 D3 damage attacks and he fights twice per turn. Also, his aura gives re-rolls on all failed hit rolls to friendly World Eaters units within 1″. The downside is that you can’t re-roll his hit rolls (he always hits on a 2+), and every time you roll a 1, you have to allocate it to a friendly unit within 1″ if there is one. This isn’t too bad, actually – you can work around this by having Berserkers Pile In to within range of Kharn, make their attacks, and consolidate away, or have Kharn pile in away from his Berserker allies to prevent from mulching them. The big downside to Kharn is the same as berserkers now – you often don’t need to fight twice since you can’t pile in and fight a unit you didn’t charge, and charging multiple units with a single character is a hell of a lot harder in 9th edition where you have to reach every unit you declare a charge against. But Kharn is a blender on his own and at 115 points he’s efficiently costed for a model that’s individually more deadly than anything you can build on your own.

Kharn’s biggest stealth advantage is that full re-rolls aura, which works even on ranged attacks. This means that, hilariously, Kharn is a really good tag-along for a Lord of Skulls or other massive unit with solid shooting, as he’s able to reliably improve their output significantly and the bigger the unit, the less likely Kharn is to actually damage it in melee to begin with. This means you can bring Kharn along in many situations where you just need more accuracy without having to pay full price for Abaddon. Kharn shouldn’t be your warlord, but he’s not a bad second character to bring along in either a melee or shooting support role.

Dark Apostles

Although not quite as good as their Imperial counterparts owing to having fewer mobility options, Dark Apostles serve an important role in World Eaters armies as units that can buff nearby units without using psychic powers. The Banner of Rage is also a nasty trick to have in your back pocket.


The real stand-out reason you take World Eaters, being able to take Berserkers as Troops gives you a nasty obsec unit capable of mulching enemy units that can move twice in the Fight phase with careful positioning. Berserkers hit like a freight train with their chainaxes coming in at S6, AP-1 and now that they have Astartes chainswords, they get the AP-1 shot on their additional attack. On that note you pretty much always want to outfit these guys with chainaxe + chainsword, giving you 5 AP-1 attacks each on the charge in the first fight and 4 in the second. If there’s a downside to Berserkers in 9th, it’s that fighting twice isn’t nearly as good now that you can’t fight enemies you didn’t charge , but the net result is that you can get by with half the berserkers you might have needed before – rather than taking squads of 10, a squad of 5 berserkers (4 with chainaxe + sword, 1 with lightning claws) will do the job of clearing an objective just fine. Without any buffs they’ll drop an average of 8-9 wounds on marines in their first fight and another 6-7 in their second, easily wiping out a 5-model squad. Add in Veterans of the Long War and Wild Fury and that jumps up to something more like 11 on each round of fighting, which will let you wipe 10-model squads and then some.


While World Eaters don’t have a special terminator unit per se, they can upgrade a single TERMINATOR unit to be Berserkers via the Red Butchers Stratagem, which gives them +1 Strength and the ability to fight twice in the Fight phase. This is really nasty on lightning claw terminators, who now get +1 attack per claw. Being able to throw out 31 attacks with a squad of 5 lightning claw terminators on the charge and then fight again is incredibly nasty, and with the Stratagem boosts you can give them they can punch well above their weight, taking down vehicles and other larger targets. Generally, because you’ll already be wounding T4 targets on a 3+ with lightning claws and you fight twice, the ideal loadout for Red Butchers is probably going to be either a mix of chainfists/chainaxes + combi bolters or a single lightning claw + combi-bolter (because they’ll want to get stuck in fighting you likely don’t want to overspend on their guns). You’ll get +1 Attack and the ability to re-roll wound rolls just fine from a single lightning claw and the second attack, while neat, is probably overkill and isn’t going to do as much work as 4 bolter shots. Chainaxe and Lightning claw Red Butchers also love the boost from Wild Fury.

Berserker Terminators with an Icon of Wrath and accompanied by a Chaos Lord in Terminator Armour with the Violent Urgency trait are also a legitimate threat out of deep strike, able to reach a 9″ charge on a roll of an 8+ with re-rolls (you have about 66% odds of making it).

Chaos Space Marines

While being able to take Berserkers as troops is great, don’t sleep on Chaos Space Marines with a chainsword and bolt pistol. Clocking in at 14 points per model, you’ll get a lot more value out of a squad of five of these guys in World Eaters than you will a unit of Cultists, as these guys will be able to throw out 4 AP-1 attacks each on the charge. They’re nasty enough that it would be worth considering bigger squads if it weren’t for Berserkers being Troops options. As-is you’ll still want to consider Cultists, if only to save the 10 points.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones


Helbrutes don’t get a ton from World Eaters, but they do enjoy the extra attack. Fist+Scourge or double scourge helbrutes are particularly nasty, able to throw out a large number of attacks that most characters and units are not prepared to deal with – a double scourge helbrute gets 12 attacks on the charge.

Bikers and Raptors and Warp Talons (oh my!)

Bikers and Raptors both do very well in World Eaters, where the Wild Fury Stratagem and the recent improvement to chainswords benefits them heavily. Warp Talons also see some benefit here and can be complete blenders and both they and Raptors massively benefit from the points drop they got in the January 2021 round of FAQs. These units, and especially World Eaters Raptors, have a pretty good deal going where they’re able to use Apoplectic Frenzy to make a pre-game move to position themselves for an easy T1 charge thanks to their jump pack mobility.

Daemon Engines?

Although there are many Daemon Engines with the mark of Khorne, and many melee-focused engines, they don’t really get much out of being in a World Eaters army; they can’t benefit from the legion trait and the only stratagems that really affect them are Wild Fury, Kill! Maim! Burn!, and Scorn of Sorcery. Still, Heldrakes can be valuable here because of their speed – using Heldrakes to clog up enemy firing lanes and shunt their movement elsewhere is a potent strategy, and Heldrakes can easily make turn 1 charges that tie up units that might otherwise shoot your melee units off the table (note that this is because, until their datasheet changes, Heldrakes are not currently AIRCRAFT). Otherwise Maulerfiends and Lords of Skulls are OK in a World Eaters army, but nothing special.


World Eaters Rhinos are great. They hold up to 10 models, and they’re a great way to get your unit across the table. Sure, that’s no different from any other legion, but the difference here is that your Troops are Berserkers. Chaos Terrax-Pattern Termites are also great, and become legitimate threats once they arrive. Dreadclaw drop pods are also a great option now that they can drop on turn 1 and let their deadly unit out to play. What it boils down to is that you need a way to get your berserkers across the table and into combat at full strength (or close to it), and you have multiple good transport options for doing that depending on how you want to build your army. The Rhino will win out in most situations owing to its lower cost, though.

That said, don’t feel like you need transports, either – it’s perfectly valid to use Apoplectic Fury to push several units of jump infantry forward before turn 1 with a plan to charge them into an opponent’s lines and use that as the way you’ll protect your slower troops moving upfield.


Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Playing World Eaters

The World Eaters aren’t terribly complicated – their strategies revolve around punching things, but while your units are very good at fighting, they also tend to be pretty fragile. You’ll want to build your army around five key things:

  1. How are you going to deliver the gift of pain to your foes? How will your melee units get into combat? More importantly, how will they do it without losing half their number to enemy shooting? Whether it’s putting them in transports or using Apoplectic Fury and Warptime for extra moves, you’ll need a plan for rapid delivery to the opponent’s front lines, so you can tie up key units from the jump and start disrupting an opponent’s game plan as quickly as possible. In 9th edition you aren’t nearly as likely to sweep through an opponent’s lines in one turn by triple fighting thanks to the new targeting rules, so your goal has to be focused more on disruption and trying to stay stuck in.
  2. What are you going to do after you’ve murdered everything you touched? This is the downside to being a blender – once everything around you is dead, you’re now vulnerable to being shot at, and your fragile melee units will die quickly once that starts happening. You need a way to stay stuck in and that’s much harder to do in 9th edition thanks to the Desperate Breakout Stratagem. You’ll need to be much more careful about the targets you engage and make sure that you aren’t overextending yourself when you do engage enemy targets. Piling in or consolidating into enemy units you didn’t charge may cause you some pain, but turning off one more unit’s shooting for a turn if it falls back is likely toing to be worth it as a trade-off. This is an area where Kill! Maim! Burn! can really help you, giving you a 6″ Consolidate move that, if you’re careful, can either get you back out of line of sight or into combat with another unit that thought it had safely positioned itself too far away.
  3. How are you going to claim and hold objectives? Killing things is great, but you are gonna lose if you don’t have a plan for scoring primary objective points in 9th edition. As you build a list, you’re going to need units that can sit on objectives and reliably hold them while your berserkers are off doing the killing – berserkers are amazing for capturing held objectives but pretty awful at holding them once they’ve taken them. Within World Eaters, Terminators are much better at doing this, with their 2 wounds and decent saves, but many lists will turn to souping in Nurglings to accomplish this task. Nurglings are cheap, difficult to kill, and can start the game on objectives in no man’s land, mitigating the disadvantage of going second and ensuring you won’t need to waste time trying to put units on those objectives and can get back to the valuable work of punching things.
  4. How are you going to score secondary objectives? Likewise, you’ll need a plan to score secondaries. Again, your strength is killing things but that’s not going to be good enough if you don’t have enough targets to punch your way into maxxing out an objective. Ideally any list you build in 9th edition needs to have a strong plan to score two secondary objectives every game with a plan for picking up a third based on the mission/opponent’s list. World Eaters can be pretty fast, which makes Engage on All Fronts and Linebreaker potential secondaries to build toward as you create your list, and you may want to consider having an option to score Deploy Scramblers in most games if there isn’t a good kill secondary for you to take.
  5. How will you handle larger targets and heavier armor? You’ve got a metric buttload of attacks as World Eaters, but most of those attacks come as low-AP, 1-damage swings. That’s plenty great for plowing through orks and even marines, but it’s going to cause you some heartburn when you take on knights and other big targets. Your list is going to need some kind of ranged support.

Basically your core game plan for World Eaters is always going to look something like “I will hit things with my axe.” The key is that you then have to answer the question “…and then what?”

Movement, the Fight Phase, and You

The other thing you need to do to play well competitively with World Eaters is learn the nuances of moving and fighting in the Fight phase. The Fight phase is going to be Where It Happens for your army and there’s a ton you can accomplish there. Generally, you want to start thinking about the Fight phase a second Movement phase for your units, where if carefully planned, the ability to pile in, Fight, and consolidate up to three times can, with the support of something like Kill! Maim! Burn!, allow a unit of Berserkers to move insanely far distances in the Fight phase. The Key is understanding how to pick your charge targets (and hopefully getting off multi-charges when it’s reasonable to do so) and learning how to play with the concept of “moving closer to the closest enemy model  – remember that you only have to end up closer in absolute terms; you don’t have to move in a straight line to get there, and can end up behind a model as long as the distance between your bases is less than it was before.

When you pile in with your berzerkers, you want to make sure you’re moving around the unit you actually want to trap or touch/wrap in the Fight phase – don’t come into base-to-base contact with anything and don’t move any closer than the bare minimum toward models – always move sideways and orbit your targets, moving marginally closer to satisfy the conditions of pile-in moves needing to end closer. Kill the first unit if you can or at least wipe out enough models that it frees up interesting consolidate options immediately with the squad – this is where you want to pop the Kill! Maim! Burn! Stratagem so you can get a 6″ consolidate move. This will allow you to immediately slingshot toward the nearest model, moving up to 6″ – again moving around enemies while still ending up closer on the whole is going to be a key part of this – you can use this move to position yourself on or closer to objectives, and set yourself up for the next move. If you managed to wipe out your first target, this is even better – you’ll have much more freedom in moving toward the closest enemy model. At this point you can pile in and fight again – moving another 3″ with similar restrictions. Note that if you charged this turn, you activate regardless of whether you’re in engagement range, and so you’ll still get your 3″ pile-in move to try and reach another target or just further position yourself.

Note that if you haven’t charged this turn, the rules for being eligible to fight and targeting enemy units in the Fight phase are different – you can target units that you didn’t charge but you will only be eligible to fight if you are within Engagement Range of an enemy unit, so your consolidate moves need to ensure that you end up within 1″ of an enemy unit each time you finish them. The upside is that you can fight anything in this mode, so you can live the dream and wipe out as many units as you can come into contact with.

Regardless of which mode you’re in, if you manage to kill a second target at this point, you can then consolidate a second time, moving another 6″ if you popped the KMB Stratagem, and repeat the process. And then if you still need movement, you can use Fury of Khorne to fight a third time, getting another pile-in move and another 6″ consolidate move. Or if you’ve charged this turn and find yourself within 4″ of a key target, you can activate Fury of Khorne to get a pile in move to touch something like a vulnerable infantry unit or vehicle with Blast weapons – remember that you are eligible to pile in and fight again as long as you are either within Engagement Range of an enemy unit or you declared a charge this turn.

With all of this, the key isn’t to absolutely kill units (well, except that first one – you want your first target to be an easy kill so you can slingshot past where its corpses lie), but rather to put yourself on objectives, block movement to key units, cut off terrain or trap units in deployment zones, and generally stall the enemy while the rest of your army arrives. In an ideal world your Berzerkers can travel up to 39″ between Charges and Fights, and even in a less ideal one moving up to 20″ in a turn is very possible, giving them the ability to cross vast distances and be wherever you want them. With melee units – especially those capable of fighting multiple times – careful positioning and movement is going to be key to your success. Ironically, Khorne armies are a thinking man’s army.

Tips and Tricks to Remember

There are a few things you’ll want to remember as you play World Eaters that will help you get the most out of the faction:

  • Learn the rules around moving in the Fight phase. The most important thing you can do with a melee-heavy army like World Eaters is to learn the ins and outs of the Fight phase – the nuances of movement in particular are going to be crucial. I can’t stress this enough.
  • Don’t overdo it on buffs. Remember that you don’t need to overkill enemy units, just kill them, or ideally leave one of its models alive on your turn to trap it and force your opponent to spend CP on Desperate Break-out to escape and be able to shoot your unit. So on that front, don’t overdo it on stratagems like Wild Fury, Stoke the Nails, or Veterans of the Long War. You just need to do enough damage to take the objective most of the time. Remember: You want to stay in combat for as long as possible, even if that means Khorne will have to wait a turn to add more skulls to his throne. If your plan is to slingshot off enemy units by killing them quickly, then plan your moves in advance so you can end up in combat with something that you can trap and won’t necessarily punish you for touching it.
  • Take advantage of Apoplectic Frenzy. This is one of the World Eaters’ best tools, and can be used to move defensively if you need – you get to use it after the first turn is determined so if you deployed aggressively and now find yourself in a bad place after losing the roll-off, remember that you have this option for your INFANTRY units.
  • Sometimes – usually – a couple of rhinos full of ObSec berserkers is enough. Look, it can be tempting to go all-out with World Eaters but the reality is that a pair of rhinos filled with obsec berserkers and a character or two are incredibly annoying and deadly, able to flip objectives with easy and weather incoming firepower on their way to midtable. Yeah, you can pull of some nasty tricks with berserkers and the Red Butchers terminators are sick as hell, but don’t underestimate the value of a couple of murderboxes as an add-on to a list packing other threats. On that note…
  • Be smarter about your Rhino Rush. As you rush your rhinos full of berzerkers up the table, use terrain to cut off dangerous shooting aspects. Try and position your rhino with a forest (or other DENSE cover) between it and your opponent or use your first turn to advance and pop its smoke launchers to maximize its durability. When the rhino dies, your berzerkers can pop out the maximum distance toward the enemy and use that as the slingshot for its movement next turn (this is actually ideal in most cases, even if you lose a model or two). And if your rhinos live and the Berzerkers have occasion to get out, don’t forget about them!–use your empty rhinos to block movement and firing lanes for enemy units, or contest objectives.
  • Don’t forget about Emergency Disembarkation. It’s a risky move but in a pinch, you can use this to disembark 6″ from a destroyed Rhino and put yourself significantly closer to an enemy unit or objective. It’s not an all-the-time move since it’s likely gonna cost you 2-4 models, but it can be brutal in the right situation.
  • Don’t forget skulls for the skull throne. It’s easy to forget because it’ll only happen a couple times a game at most (if that), but it’s literally free CP so try and keep it in mind whenever one of your World Eaters characters ends up in combat with another character.


Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones


Because of the importance 9th edition places on melee combat, Khorne armies – many of which heavily feature World Eaters detachments – have been putting up sneaky good results. In this section we’ll look at a few list options for them.

Jack Beaman’s List

Jack’s list, which went 4-0 at the Factorum GT in September en route to a 3rd place finish, is probably the pinnacle of current World Eaters technology if you want to run them monofaction. This list doesn’t change much with the updates to Death to the False Emperor, it just gets a little more effective against non-Imperium armies.

++ Battalion Detachment 0CP (Chaos – Chaos Space Marines) [80 PL, 11CP, 1,529pts] ++

Legion: World Eaters
Gifts of Chaos (1 Relic) [-1CP]

  • No Force Org Slot +

Dark Disciples [1 PL, 10pts]: Mark of Khorne
. 2x Dark Disciple: 2x Close combat weapon

  • HQ +

Dark Apostle [4 PL, 80pts]: Brass Collar of Borghaster, Illusory Supplication, Mark of Khorne, Wrathful Entreaty
Khârn the Betrayer [6 PL, 115pts]

  • Troops +
    Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 50pts]: Mark of Khorne
    . 9x Chaos Cultist w/ Autogun: 9x Autogun
    . Cultist Champion: Autogun

Chaos Cultists [3 PL, 50pts]: Mark of Khorne
. 9x Chaos Cultist w/ autopistol and brutal assault weapon: 9x Autopistol, 9x Brutal assault weapon
. Cultist Champion: Brutal assault weapon and Autopistol

Khorne Berzerkers [5 PL, 94pts]
. Berzerker Champion: Astartes chainsword, Lightning Claw
. 4x Chainsword and Chainaxe: 4x Astartes chainsword, 4x Chainaxe, 4x Frag & Krak grenades

Khorne Berzerkers [5 PL, 94pts]
. Berzerker Champion: Astartes chainsword, Lightning Claw
. 4x Chainsword and Chainaxe: 4x Astartes chainsword, 4x Chainaxe, 4x Frag & Krak grenades

  • Elites +
    Greater Possessed [4 PL, 65pts]
    . Greater Possessed: 4. Violent Urgency, Mark of Khorne, Talisman of Burning Blood, Warlord

  • Fast Attack +
    Raptors [5 PL, 75pts]: Mark of Khorne
    . 4x Raptor: 4x Astartes chainsword, 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
    . Raptor Champion: Astartes chainsword, Bolt pistol

Raptors [5 PL, 76pts]: Mark of Khorne
. 4x Raptor: 4x Astartes chainsword, 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades
. Raptor Champion: Astartes chainsword, Chainaxe

Warp Talons [10 PL, 230pts]: Mark of Khorne, Warp Talon Champion
. 9x Warp Talon: 9x Lightning Claw (Pair)

  • Heavy Support +
    Chaos Vindicator [7 PL, 135pts]: Havoc launcher, Mark of Khorne
    Chaos Vindicator [7 PL, 135pts]: Havoc launcher, Mark of Khorne
    Chaos Vindicator [7 PL, 130pts]: Mark of Khorne

  • Dedicated Transport +
    Chaos Rhino [4 PL, 95pts]: Combi-melta, Havoc launcher, Mark of Khorne
    Chaos Rhino [4 PL, 95pts]: Combi-melta, Havoc launcher, Mark of Khorne

++ Super-Heavy Auxiliary Detachment -3CP (Chaos – Chaos Space Marines) [23 PL, -1CP, 470pts] ++

Legion: World Eaters

  • Lord of War +

Khorne Lord of Skulls [23 PL, 470pts]: Gorestorm cannon, Hades gatling cannon

++ Total: [103 PL, 10CP, 1,999pts] ++

The Standout Features

  • Kharn the Betrayer to provide re-rolls to a Lord of Skulls
  • A Lord of Skulls
  • A Greater Possessed as the Warlord
  • A Dark Apostle for support
  • Triple Vindicators

Playing This List

There are several important concepts at work here. First are the two raptor squads, which are pushed forward after deployment to ensure t1 charges – they’ll pair nicely with the Greater Possessed, who can pull off the same thing with the Talisman of Burning Blood giving him the ability to advance and charge, plus the Violent Urgency Warlord trait propelling him and any nearby units forward. Second are the rhinos, which can each carry a unit of berserkers or Cultists, if you need more durability for them. Then there’s the Lord of Skulls and his perpetual companion, Kharn. The Lord of Skulls gets full re-rolls from Kharn as long as they stick close together, and the little Betrayer is happy to oblige.

Then there are the Vindicators, which can also benefit from Kharn and run in a trio in order to make use of the Linebreaker Bombardment Stratagem. While it requires a big investment, 1 CP to potentially drop 3D3 mortal wounds on every unit within 6″ of a particular battlefield point is nasty, and will go a long way toward making up for the loss of psychic powers. It does mean that the list can suffer greatly from not getting the first turn however, as losing that alpha strike means an opponent will usually have a chance to kill one of the Vindicators.

Where to Read More

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