The Goonhammer Hot Take: Slaves to Darkness FAQ

Slaves to Darkness got its FAQ today, which many Chaos players have been waiting for with their breath held as there was a number of entries with messy wording and a few abilities that seemed at first glance to be quite broken. In today’s Hot Take, we’ll cover the changes here and outline what they mean for the faction and, in some cases, Chaos as a whole. Word of warning to Chaos fans – it’s all nerfs, so you might want to sit down before we continue.

Weapon Options Got Tidied Up

Varanguard, Chaos Knights, Chaos Warriors, Chaos Marauders and Chaos Marauder Horsemen all got their weapon options clarified. The wording has been tidied up such that units can no longer have mixed weapon options, this means you can no longer stick halberds or flails in the backlines of your warrior or marauder blobs to increase the number of ranks that can attack. In the grand scheme of things not a big deal, but it is a minor nerf to these Warscrolls.

Archaon and multiple Chaos Auras

In the Designer’s commentary it’s made clear that Archaon can not benefit from two different chaos auras at once. Despite him having the keywords of all four gods, you pick which one applies to him and he only benefits from that aura. I think most sensible players already knew this was likely to be the case, but it’s nice that the designers made it explicit.

Archaon’s Dark Prophecy

We received a common sense ruling that Archaon must be on the battlefield in order to use this command ability (which… yeah, that makes sense), as well as a quite substantial nerf to the ability that some may have missed: The original wording of the ability stated that you may reveal the dice and thus set the turn order, whereas now it is a must, which is a significant nerf as you can no longer try and fish for a double turn by opting to skip the reveal if the result is a 1-3 and try to roll higher on the priority roll. A shame considering how expensive Archaon is but it’s a dangerously powerful ability as-is so I can see them wanting to err on the side of caution with this.

Archaon’s Slayer of Kings

What key here is the phrase “Each time this model attacks” has been added, which means you can no longer use the Chaos Lord’s fight twice ability to try and fish for a second 6 if you got it on the first activation. It’s not a huge deal but it does mean its significantly harder to proc the instant kill – I don’t think it matters too much though as all but the most powerful super combatants get wrecked by Archaon in close quarters anyway.

Archaon’s By My Will

A unit can only be affected by this command ability once per turn now, which means you can no longer stack it multiple times and thus improve your odds of fighting on death (or fighting on death multiple times?). This makes sense as if it was ruled as written it was going to create a number of game states that were quite confusing, and this while a nerf cleans the ability up considerably.

The Circles Unleashed Battalion

This Battalion went from a fun choice if you’re rolling deep with Varanguard to unplayable. Previously it was worded in such a way that you could interpret it as being able to double up on Circles – quite cool as you could combine the 6th circle (that’s the good one for those not keeping track) with some other circles for neat combinations. Now it’s changed such that you can effectively pick a different circle for each Varanguard unit. Considering the fact that the 6th circle is so much better than the rest, it’s meant there’s no longer any reason to take this battalion. That said, I anticipated this change as the fluff pretty explicitly states that Varanguard belong to a circle, no double dipping!

Bloated Blessings

This quite frankly broken command ability saw the nerf we all knew was coming – it procs off once if there are any unmodified hit rolls of a 6, not for each. This means you can no longer send a suicide squad of marauders to the front lines and have your opponents units kill themselves on your meat shield. It was extremely broken and this is a healthy change, despite how much it may have neutered certain strategies.

Last Gasp of Glory

The Darkoath Chieftain’s command ability has been tidied up so a unit can only be affected by this ability once, which similar to the By My Will ability is simply a clarification to prevent loopholes and units fighting multiple times when they die.

Chaos Warshrine’s Protection of the Dark Gods

This slight adjustment means the Warshrine Feel No Pain save no longer stacks with other Warshrines. A shame as there was a case to be made for taking multiple, but wholly expected. There’s still enough of a case to be made for taking two anyway so it doesn’t hurt the viability of the unit, just makes it a bit less of a no-brainer.

Exalted Charioteers

You can no longer have an Exalted Charioteer in units of 1, you now need more than 1 to have a ‘champion’ in the unit. While this is an understandable change from a logical standpoint, this is disappointing because both variants of Chariot were already on the fringe of playability as is, and this will only hurt their chances of being played over the cheaper skirmisher unit – Marauder Horsemen.

Moving Forward

Some big changes today, but overall Slaves to Darkness armies are still in a good place and most of these were pretty expected. The dust hasn’t really settled yet on the army with regards to tournament play, so it’ll be interesting to see how these new changes shake out. If you’re looking for more on the faction, check out our detailed analysis of the Slaves to Darkness Battletome, or for direct questions or feedback, drop a note in the comments below or email us at